Enforced by endlessly continuing COVID, months of continued home-based reading of Nazi German history in my effort to comprehend the astonishing Trump phenomenon continues to yield endless and unsettling parallels — and deeper insight. I’m beginning to understand.
“I would meet with the most outlandish assertions from seemingly educated and intelligent persons. It was obvious that they were parroting some piece of nonsense they had heard on the radio or read in the newspapers ... one realized how useless it was to make contact with a mind which had become warped and for whom the facts of life had become what Hitler and Goebbels, with their cynical disregard for truth, said they were.”
William Shirer, newly arrived in 1934 Nazi Germany as an American newspaper reporter and living there for years, so observes in his “Rise and Fall of the Third Reich.” He even reveals his own vulnerability: “I myself was to experience how easily one is taken in by a lying and censored press and radio ... a steady diet over the years of falsifications and distortions made a certain impression on one’s mind and often misled it. No one who had not lived for years in a totalitarian land can possibly conceive how difficult it is to escape the dread consequences of a regime’s calculated and incessant propaganda.”
Trump has successfully led his warped-minded followers to this totalitarian land, bolstered by Fox News, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh and (lots of other) company, and closed to the hated American free press and CNN, “the enemy of the people.”
As I write, Republican congressional lawmakers are trying to pull a Munich beer-hall-like Putsch to seize the Oval Office. Pathetic, idiotic, treasonous? Or patriotic, courageous and possible? Will American constitutional democracy, under furious attack during the Trump administration because it fundamentally opposes his fascist dictatorship, survive this latest challenge?
By the time The Sentinel may choose to print this message, the Putsch will have succeeded or failed. But the very fact that so many Republican officials signed on should alarm every democracy-loving American. Even after Biden’s “possible” inauguration, as Yogi Berra said, “It’s not over until it’s over.” Benjamin Franklin: “We have a Republic, if we can keep it.”
JOHN K. HERPEL
P.O. Box 35, Acworth