I’m wondering whether the Germans underwent nearly as much handwringing after Hitler gained his authority over the nation as we seem to be seeing now that it has dawned on Americans that Trump is really going to be president. Or maybe I am just perceiving handwringing because I’m listening exclusively to NPR.
One thing that becomes clear after a brief review of German history on the internet is that Hitler’s rise to power, in 1933, was the culmination of a very traumatic period in German history. The government, like our own, just before Trump’s rise to his power, was mostly dysfunctional. They were trying to deal with a very punitive loss in World War I. We have to deal with a devil of our own design: the rigor mortus that has set in in the last few years.
I am convinced this is a direct consequence of the Republicans refusing to cooperate with the Democratic president. The issue seems somewhat complicated by the fact that Obama is a “nigger.” Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to say the resistance to Obama was merely racist, although I do believe that was a big part of it. There’s a lot of anti-Democrat in there too. It reminds me of a religion. It seems like the modern Republican party regards the Democrats as the devil and a country run by them was worse than no country at all. The old religion used to hold just the opposite, and was the base of both parties.
Now the parties seem to me to have different religions, symbolized by Trump’s refusal to say he would agree to acknowledge the election unless he won, and Hillary’s ready concession when Trump’s electoral college upset victory became apparent.
Unfortunately, the effect may only be that the Democrats will, once again, underestimate their resistance from the Republicans. I have maintained since it happened that Obama’s biggest mistake came when, at the start of his administration, he assumed his opposition amongst Republicans would be reasonable. Instead, the opposition turned out to be more motivated by regaining power than by guaranteeing the preservation of American ideals. The mistake, as I saw it, was in letting a minority stop the Senate from even considering a question via the threat of a successful filibuster if the question were introduced and the minority was about to lose the decision. This led, in my opinion, to the eventual moribund government which, again, I believe, led us to a Trump presidency. The Republicans regained the presidency but lost the leadership of their own party. Now we will see if they can regain it. I will be surprised if they do, especially in view of how quickly they have all fallen in line. Perhaps all that matters to most Republicans is beating the Democrats.
Of course, that would be consistent with the new religion idea.
So, how are we to wind up? The future is so much harder to predict than the past! Whether Trump turns out to be as Hitler-like as I fear he might will only be known in retrospect. Next time I will talk about what I learned about the original Hitler, but this time I can see it would be far too long, so I’ll spare you.