I have no idea what it was like in the early days of Nazi Germany. I’ve read William L. Shirer’s seminal work The Rise & Fall Of The Third Reich and so I feel as I have some sense of how things began to change in Germany first slowly then eventually quickly. But from my conversations with MAGA people who remain my Facebook friends (for some strange reason) I’m growing ever more unnerved.
Their arguments defending Stephen Miller’s obscene, draconian border policy that tears children away from their families for no other reason than as a brutal form of deterrence are chilling, to say the least. They are, at least in my mind, indistinguishable from what a Good German may have said in the early days of the Third Reich as the Nazis were solidifying their grasp on power. The most chilling Trump supporter, at least for me, is not the conspicuous “deporable” who obviously is an ignorant numbnuts. It’s the smart ones, the educated ones who either shadowbox their defense of the indefensible or they even worse, they actually have some twisted internal logic to justify it all.
That shit is fucked up.
Add to this that the systemic Constitutional rot the United States is experiencing, with Congress no long acting as a check on the executive branch out of a callow, Vichy mentality and you have makes of a horrifying moment in my nation’s history. If we allow this separation policy to remain unchallenged, if we allow it to just become another aspect of white noise, then the jig it ups. The pot has officially begun to boil and the frog — us — is dead.
I say this because once you allow MAGA to shrug off tearing immigrant families apart because of their immigration status, the same logic can be used for anything. If you consider yourself a Christian, or at least a family oriented American and you don’t step up to the plate and challenge MAGA people on this policy, who’s to say you would really get all that upset if Trump in a few years proposed his own version of Hitler’s Enabling Acts.
This is our tipping point. This is it. If you have any doubts that Trump wants to establish a surreal, Americanized equivalent of a Fourth Reich (I call it Trumplandia, but still) they should be eliminated by what’s going on with children on the border. This is a power grab of unprecedented proportions that because of all the other fucked up shit that Trump has pulled over the last year or so, we don’t really have the proper context to judge.
Now, Trump’s version of Hitler’s Enabling Acts might come from an unexpected direction — a Constitutional Convention. We just the approval of a few state legislatures away from such an occurrence and do you really haven any doubt that Trump in his second term might not latch on to that idea as the ultimate way to make and keep America great? Trump is already doing everything in his power to undermine the foundations of the American Republic. Why not take it to the next level and remake the Constitution in his own image? He’s already cramming in as many young, insanely conservative judges as he can onto the Federal bench, so that would be the next logical step.
So, what I’m saying is it’s now or never. Either we stand and fight on this immigration policy or we have failed ourselves and the generations to come. Remember, Hitler was popular in Germany well into 1943. It wasn’t, really, until the Battle of Stalingrad that he began to suffer significant resentment in the fatherland. It’s not hard to imagine Trump in 2024 picking, say, actor James Woods to be his successor. Woods, as you may know, makes Trump look like a liberal and actually has something of a ideology.
Therefore, while we’re all making these comparisons between Trump and Hitler, because of Trump’s age and complete lack of an ideology, Trump may not be who we think he is. Trump could be simply the catalyst, the primordial ooze from whence the real danger is born. It could be that our American Hitler will be elected in 2024 and the rest, as they say, will be history.
But if you don’t want such a dark scenario to happen, then fight with all your might to stop Trump now while we can. Stop him when he’s still relatively weak. If enough people took a stand on this barbaric immigration policy now, then maybe we can, like the 300 of yore, at least buy some time for the democratic forces that we so love.
Shelton Bumgarner is a writer and photographer living in Richmond, Va. He can be reached at migukin (at) gmail (dot) com.