When I was a child, one popular TV show was Hogan’s Heroes, a comedy depicting American prisoners of war in Nazi Germany. I found the show deeply offensive. By portraying the Nazis as comical buffoons who were easy to outwit, I felt that the show insulted the millions who suffered and were murdered by the Nazis. Many of the TV Nazis were actually more likable than feared, a rewriting of history that makes the Holocaust not such a big deal. The show denigrated American GIs who, unlike their TV counterparts, did not live pleasant lives when captured. (I know that some World War II vets loved the show–a reaction I still don’t understand.) The movie, The Great Escape, respected and honored the POW experience. Hogan’s Heroes trivialized it.
The rampant comparisons of Donald Trump with Hitler do not demean Trump. Instead, they redeem Hitler. They also identify those who cast the aspersions as ideologues. When I first heard the accusation of a Heil Hitler salute being requested at Trump rallies, I looked at the accompanying picture. I saw people waving or holding their hands as if to take an oath. I have my doubts about Trump but you are living in an alternate universe of Trump hatred if that looks like a Hitler salute to you. Since Hitler (unlike the murderous Stalin) is still pretty much universally reviled in America, referencing the Nazi in the hopes of smearing an opponent is a fine gutter tactic. It’s rather funny how those who (with reason) accuse Trump of gutter tactics seems oblivious when they themselves use them.
One reason that Donald Trump is popular is his refusal to cringe when certain accusations are thrown at him. Charges of racism, anti-Semitism, etc., long ago became meaningless. Instead, by attributing hatred in order to achieve political ends, a practice in which President Obama excels, a retroactive boy who cried wolf scenario is before us. True evil has become indistinguishable from the buffoonery of Hogan’s Heroes’ Colonel Klink. Hitler is on the road to redemption.
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