Trump - And Shades of the Rise of Adolf Hitler

I must admit I have enjoyed Donald Trump. I never thought the Americans could Out Palin Sarah Palin... but they have. Oh joy of joys, I have feasted out at the royal banquet of Monarchy for months! They really gave up a king for this?

The joke is now wearing thin. Trump has managed to barnstorm his way into poll position to snatch the Republican nomination, right from under the very noses of the Repulican political establishment. Trashing all the normal rules of modern political combat and dishing out the most excruciating policy drivel, his popularity has soared leaving a trail of political corpses littering the states. And today he looks pretty likely to add to the mound of smouldering political wreckage.

Christian life is about joy, goodness, hope, love. Trump deliberately stirs up mistrust, hatred of the other, ignorance, violence, barriers - in other words evokes a world empty of any sort of goodness and joy. Its a bleak, cynical, reactionary, fearful world and Trump revels in wallowing in it and goading others on to do the same. Its little wonder that the Pope himself came as close as a Pontiff could to denouncing the guy, and that one of the US's leading Protestant pastors has broken his own silence to condemn what the man stands for. This is really a very dangerous man stirring up all sorts of evils, and the American mob seems intent in handing him power to do so on a global stage.

I find it hard to believe that a man so ostensibly shallow in his view of his fellow human beings, so bereft of any sort of respect for humanity in general, and so openly contemptuous of his own supporters can have credibility in a country ostensibly Christian. A man who has flip flopped countless times to have no political credibility in normal circumstances is able to mock, duck and generally throw mud that the mob wills to stick on anyone who so much as mentions them. Which makes me think he really isn't a politician in the usual sense of the word. He isn't interested in public service or the common good and doesn't even attempt to aspire to it. Rather he riles at external enemies, vaunts his total lack of political experience, and makes everything intensely personal, that is, all about him.

In this he is the reality show entertainer, where he pawns his soul for the adulation of the foolish, the perverse, the outsider and the vicious. It is Ronald Regan on steroids. Regan, the B Movie actor, at least played the part of Commander in Chief, just like in the movies, and so created a character the American people could conceive of as a sort of hero, leading the attack on the 'evil empire', as though world politics was a series of scenes from Star Wars. But for a nation deeply saturated with the whole movie mentality it was a brilliant way to succeed and take political power. Forget Nancy and her Tarot Cards, or his Alzheimers, the US folk didn't need or want to know, just so long as they had a 'hero' on the film set of the White House all was fine.

Trump is the Regan of another era, the era of celebrity and reality tv. Except that rather than play a hero, he is a narcissist playing to the lowest sides of human nature, and which have been pandered to over endless hours of the most self-indulgent, narcissistic and vicious buffoonery that makes up most of what we might call trash tv. The man lacks empathy, revels in adulation, openly mocks those who do without hesitation adore him, and makes play of baiting those weaker and vulnerable, knowing full well that his words are stirring vicious hatreds in his listeners.

In this you can't but see alarming parallels with Hitler in his rise to power, the playing with fear and violence, the not so subtle but just legal pandering to the fears and hatreds which were stoked in the general public of Germany. Trumps tub thumping spew of vitriol towards Muslims, be it threatening to make waterboarding look tame or banning of all Muslim visitors to the USA, the mocking of his opponents, the menace towards the political establishment, his contempt for democracy except as a vehicle for his own rise to absolute power, the alarm that his promises to take illegal action against foreign states has caused among the US military, all have direct parallels to Hitler and his rise to power. And at first people laughed at Hitler.

I don't feel comfortable with this analogy because its an easy card to play in the cut and thrust of political critique, but alarmingly, and sadly, the analogy does, in this case, all too closely fit.


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