Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Resistance Quotes of the Day

From Traitors or Patriots?: A Story of the German Anti-Nazi Resistance, Louis Eltscher notes Hitler took power "after suffering a significant electoral defeat":
"Just how did Hitler and the Nazis secure power? The answer is as simple as it is tragic. The tipping point of 30 January 1933 came when these three men and their supporters, thinking they could control Hitler, named him chancellor."
The "three men" referred to were the president of the Weimar Republic Paul von Hindenberg, Minister of Defense General Kurt von Schleicher, and former military officer Franz von Papen. Author Eltscher describes these three men as conservatives who saw Hitler as a means to the end of restoring Germany to its traditional values.

Eltscher further describes resistance movements that existed throughout Hitler's reign. However, it lacked both organization and leadership:
"Germany never had a political leader capable of challenging Hitler's almost magical - one might say it was black magic - ability to dominate public life."
As I've alluded before, I struggle with being simultaneously wary of making gratuitous comparisons between Trump and Hitler, and with the masses potentially not making these comparisons soon enough.

What continues to give me hope, for now, is that we can dissent, still, and not be killed or censored. Although, when Trump labels critique "fake news," polls showing he's unpopular "rigged," and protestors as "paid," and have his followers believe him, he doesn't have to censor or kill us in order to be effective. He can claim that we still live in a free society as long as he is the god who defines reality.

The left, however, does need a charismatic leader who can effectively challenge Trump. Relatedly, we need factions on the left to not tear down whoever this person is going to be when that person turns out to be imperfect. I am no "Berniecrat" lover but I would support one over Trump a million times over.  Republicans in Congress, as they confirm Trump's Cabinet of Incompetence, have demonstrated that as deplorable as Donald is, he is a means to achieving their conservative ends - restricting immigration, banning abortion, passing anti-LGBT laws, and de-regulating.

They tolerate imperfection, rarely denounce their neo-nazis and extremists, and they win. The left demands purity, gazes into its navel about the propriety of giving white supremacists speaking platforms, and we lose.

And, importantly, as the Democratic Primary* continues to be re-litigated, we need a leader who can appeal broadly to people who supported both Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton.

(*Spoiler alert: I'm not going to be that person who orders people on any side to "get over it," because that's not helpful either. All I will say on this point, for now, is that I don't think calling someone "an ass" in an email constitutes an event that tipped the primary to Clinton, let alone rises to the level of "rigging." The vote tallies were not close.)

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