The American Path to Nazism

It's easy for us to look at the Germans during the Nazi era and label them as demons, but 90% of the country supported Hitler; it can't be that 90% of the population was evil. They thought they were doing the right thing, and isn't that what we all think?

The American Path to Nazism

Over the last seven years, I've lost all faith in our government and news media. For me, everything started on November 9th, 2016, the day Trump was elected. I can honestly say I've never been as blindsided as I was that day. I was certain that Hillary Clinton was going to win the election. Today it's common knowledge that our social media profiles put us in echo chambers where we keep hearing what we already think, but back in 2016, that idea was relatively unknown. When Trump was elected, it signaled that I'd been utterly blind to reality living in a bubble.

Take a second and watch that video; comedic value aside, it speaks to a deeper truth. Collectively when we put our minds together, we can bring certain realities to life, but no amount of manifestation can challenge the truth. I wasn't happy when Trump won the election in 2016, but today no one can argue that he had a viable path to winning the election, and more than that, about 1/2 the country supported him (and still does). No matter how much we don't like the truth, it will prevail. After the 2016 election, I became sickened by the news media. I felt like I'd been tricked. I'd been reading the articles and following the polls, and every bit of news I'd consumed had calmly reassured me everything would be OK. Trump wasn't going to win. Our journalists have lost the plot in an age of constant engagement and entertainment. As journalists, your job is not to entertain me or make me feel better; it's to tell me what's actually going on, no matter how ugly it is.

It's inexcusable that in 2016 1/2 the country knew that Trump would win, while the other 1/2 was flabbergasted when it happened. Yes, what we pay attention to exists, but it's also true that there are things out there we're not paying attention to that also exist. Our journalists operated on the premise that if they didn't acknowledge Trump supporters in their outlets, they wouldn't exist. Worst of all, it seems like everyone still needs to learn their lesson. The recent indictment of Trump is being hailed and celebrated as a win by the same media that was so certain Trump wouldn't win. No one wants to consider that this might be Trump's biggest win to date.

There will always be ugly and harsh realities in life, and you know why they're hard to face? Because to face them means to look inside. “The line between good and evil runs not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either — but right through every human heart.” (-Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.) To consider that a reality that we hate is also a reality that we helped bring into existence is brutally difficult, but it's the truth. Nothing changes until we can all acknowledge our participation in the world's evils and then work on addressing them individually. Worse yet, than shirking this responsibility is projecting it onto the other group. It's easy to look at the other guys and see how they're the source of all the evil in the world, but all that does is blind you. Pointing the finger at someone and saying they're evil ensures one day, you will become the very thing you hate.

It's easy to hate Trump and his supporters, but it did us no favors from 2016-today, and I promise nothing else good will come from it. What I fear today is that we're slowly inching toward repeating a shameful chapter of history.  I can't be the only person looking at the world around me and thinking it looks an awful lot like the days that gave rise to Nazi Germany. Even Bloomberg news ran a segment saying things look like Weimar.

-Inflation has exploded

-A charismatic leader is arrested

-Global tensions are at a high, and talk of a world war is brewing

-National debt is exploding

-The leadership of the country is weak

-Antisemitism is surging

-Sexual hedonism is exploding

In 2016 we refused to acknowledge and understand Trump and his supporters. It was easier to dismiss them as backward racist bigots. Unfortunately, our tendency to not engage with those we see as "bad" doesn't make us better than them; it makes us blind and destined to be bad. See, here's the thing, we're all humans, and if a human falls into evil, I guarantee you that you could also fall into it. When you take the time to understand the darkness, you realize that you could also be overtaken by it. Recognizing that we have the capacity for evil is the best way to ensure we don't fall into it. After all, we can't guard ourselves against what we don't see. Furthermore, this recognition softens our hearts towards those we see as "bad." We realize no one is intrinsically bad and that we might have done what they did under certain circumstances. It's easy for us to look at the Germans during the Nazi era and label them as demons, but 90% of the country supported Hitler; it can't be that 90% of the population was evil. They thought they were doing the right thing, and isn't that what we all think? With Trump's indictment looming ahead, it's worth all of our time to consider this, if finger-pointing and scapegoating gave rise to Nazism, how is our finger-pointing today any different? What happens next is literally up to all of us.