Eight years ago I wrote a blog called “Trump and Hitler”. It drew comparisons between Donald Trump, who’d just burst onto the American political scene with his presidential candidacy, with the German dictator and maniacal mastermind of the Nazi Holocaust. It flashed an early warning sign of Trump’s flirtation with authoritarianism, and cautioned against lulling one’s self into a false sense of security that the atrocities in 1940’s Europe could never happen again, especially here in America.
At the time, very few in the media were comparing Trump to Hitler. Or comparing the horror of Nazi Germany to Trump’s behavior here. It was actually frowned upon in mainstream circles, considered a dramatic overstatement, and was also viewed as an affront to Holocaust victims and their families. As a Jew and as someone with functioning eyes and ears, I respectfully disagreed.
To the contrary, I wrote, it was to draw chilling foundational parallels between Hitler’s genocide, the hateful propaganda and scapegoating that preceded it, and the kind of dangerous demagoguery that was being spewed daily from Trump’s mouth. And, that we cannot be afraid to make such comparisons, because doing so gives the hate-mongers and Nazi-lovers a free pass.
Huffington Post, on whose front page my pieces regularly appeared, refused to publish it. And gave no explanation. It was a cowardly move that in hindsight, was a shameful example of journalistic myopia and denial.
Cut to November 2023. Now many in these same mainstream circles — including writers, pundits, and left-wing politicos — expressly understand and are hugely concerned with Trump’s Nazi fascination; his penchant for spewing Hitler’s dangerous antisemitic rhetoric; his embrace, incitement and protection of white nationalists; and his fascist threats to his perceived detractors and enemies.
Now all you hear is that Trump’s a dictator-wannabe, ready to burn our democracy down to the ground and that a new era of authoritarianism, fascism even, will begin should he make his way back into the Oval Office.
We see how antisemitism has exploded since the barbaric Hamas attack Oct 7 in Israel, with Jewish students being harassed and attacked on college campuses, Jews being hunted down at an airport in Russia, hostage posters of Jews being torn down, and often violent anti-Israel protests all over the world.
We see Trump sidling up to brutal dictators like Putin, Kim, and Viktor Orban while calling terrorist groups like Hezbollah “smart”. And we’re facing the sad reality that “Never Again” is bullshit, because it actually happened again, albeit on a much smaller scale. And the chilling acceptance that it could very well happen again on a much larger scale…because history repeats itself if we don’t learn from it.