Letter: Thank you, President Trump
I now understand how the German people could have stood by while the Nazis marginalized and then murdered millions of Jews and other “undesirables.”
First, they were convinced that only Hitler had whatever was needed to pull the society out of their incredibly deep and emasculating post-WWI slump, and once they were convinced to view him as a savior, they were willing to believe almost anything he told them and support anything he did. He could do nothing wrong, and they were willing to follow him even though many had to overcome personal reservations to do so. After all, he was going to “Make Germany Great Again.”
And he did. With total dictatorial power, he was able to provide the mob exactly what it wanted. His social and economic successes bred trust. But history has shown us that it was almost all personal for Hitler, and he cared little for the German people. He was a megalomaniac with no conscience, caring exclusively for his own successes or failures. He demanded total loyalty and was quick to punish those he viewed as having acted disloyally or having failed him in some way. He regularly fired and replaced staff members, political appointees and military commanders.
Early in Hitler’s political career, he had a paramilitary group — mostly thugs and malcontents — who roamed the streets looking to clash with opposing political organizations/parties. These were his “Brownshirts” (Braunhemden) who ultimately became very organized and acted as an “enforcement” organization for the Nazis, and later became the core of the SS.
Make no mistake. The mobs that ransacked the Capitol building yesterday are “Brownshirts in training,” and the president has gone out of his way to help create and support this group. I fear that they won’t simply go away when President Donald Trump yields the presidency.
But now I get it. I am a student of history and could never quite come to grips with how ordinary people, who I have always thought were mostly peaceful and good, could support Hitler. I think he was a very competent persuader at first and then became a monster as a result of his success.
Mr. President, your four-year tenure has help me understand how this could have happened. And although I appreciate all you have done to enhance my perspective, I sincerely hope that the master class is over.
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Gun violence deaths are an epidemic that calls for many responses, from new laws to more research. I believe we can save lives while respecting responsible gun owners’ rights.