President Enrique Peña Nieto likened Trump to Hitler..... hmmmm.... let's see, the ONLY problem Germany had when Hitler rose to power was their Jews. Every wrong in the typical non-Jewish German’s life should be blamed on the Jews. Hmmmm, the ONLY problem America has according to Trump is our undocumented Mexicans (and our Muslims and Syrian refuges).... what similarities?
Even comparing any living murderous, genocidal dictator to Hitler is perilous. Among the dead 20th century despots who exterminated millions of their citizens we could list our World War II ally Stalin alongside Hitler. But Hitler is different for Americans because the Holocaust cost the lives of millions of our relatives and millions of our soldiers, not to mention civilians killed in Britain and Europe.
I am uncomfortable even using Hitler and Trump in the same sentence.
Trump isn’t like Hitler except in comparatively “ very superficial” (note the quotes) ways. That doesn’t mean comparing ways that Trump is similar to Hitler or Mussolini, the two dictators he’s been compared to, isn’t something we should avoid. We just need to be very careful because noting the similarities can easily side-track rational discussion.
But since the president of Mexico brought it up and is now hosting him as a guest south of our border, it’s worth writing about.
The primary reason that I think President Peña Nieto may have had in mind with his Hitler comparison is how Trump has used stopping undocumented Mexicans as a rallying cry (literally) to convince his supporters that the main problem not just with America, but in their own lives, is illegal immigrants from his country. That is very much how Hitler used Jews.
In his campaign announcement Trump made it as personal as it gets by fear mongering about scary Mexican men coming to rape your wives and daughters. “Take your jobs” wasn’t even true, but that doesn’t instill visceral fear. Rape is about the worst thing you can say, arguably worse than murder. Even convicts respect most murderers, rapists are shunned or worse.
Only in this respect Trump is worse (or at least different) than Hitler who demonized Jews in other ways, but still succeeded in convincing most gentile Germans that everything that was wrong in their lives was caused by the Jews. He didn’t say Jews were going to rape anybody. Marry your daughters, maybe, steal your money, absolutely, but not personally violate anybody. (References requested — I couldn’t find anything about Hitler accusing Jews of being rapists. He might have. I did find that Nazis did rape women and children.)
But wait, don’t worry. Trump assures us that he won’t really be like Hitler (obviously not saying his name) by emphasizing that Mexicans will be sent back “humanely.” In a rally yesterday he said this so “sincerely” that he put his hand over his heart. Give us a break, when has he ever done that?
Why does he even have to say humanely? Are we to wonder if he ever thought of sending them back inhumanely? Or is this a rhetorical question since he doesn’t seem to realize that our using torture on suspected terrorists is illegal?
Consider that he has most likely been told by Kellyanne Conway that he has to emphasize “humanely.” He makes my skin crawl when he says the word when obviously his audience would probably just as soon he told them they’d be herded onto the trains with whip wielding storm troopers.
Okay, he’ll round these Mexican citizens up without roughing them up. He’ll load them onto buses where they each have a seat instead of pack them into cattle cars. He may even provide them with box lunches and bottled water. They may even stop for bathroom breaks along the way. And of course they won’t be greeted by a gate that says “Arbeit Macht Frie.”