America went through a seminal shift in the fall of 2000 when George W. Bush was determined to be the winner of the Presidential election of Al Gore. It was at that moment that we didn’t just lurch, we didn’t just leap, we propelled ourselves like rocket ships into polarization, ideology, side-picking, and the demeaning of differing opinions.
From there, we’ve hit the afterburners; culminating with the election of 2016 when Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton and couples literally split over it, families divided themselves, citizens attacked one another, and colleges and workplaces created safe-space, political free zones.
Anti-Bush people were brutal on him. He was called a racist for his response to Katrina, he was wrongly accused of lobbying to bring back the draft so that he could invade endless countries, he was called an idiot and a dumb cowboy, and was ridiculed and chastised for taking exactly the same amount of “vacation” time (there is no such thing when one is President) as all of his predecessors dating back to Jimmy Carter. Meanwhile, if you disagreed with his decisions on Afghanistan and Iraq, you were called unpatriotic by his supporters. If you truthfully and correctly pointed out that President Bush 43, an avowed “small government conservative,” grew the government at a rate greater than all of the previous 42 presidents combined, you were told that everything changed after 9/11 (an asinine line of defense). Bush was not a great president, but he did not deserve the ire and personal attacks that flew his way.
Then came Barack Obama, a man from the other side of the political aisle. He spent 8+ years answering ridiculous questions about what country he was born in. He was then, and is still now, believed to be a Muslim by about 40% of all Americans, according to multiple polls. Obama was accused of being an agent for Islam and a supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood, and, late in 2015, it was loudly and repeatedly asserted that he was looking for ways to run for a third term or, declare martial law and indefinitely suspend the election of 2016. Meanwhile, if you disagreed with his passage of Obamacare, his handling of police related matters, or his dismal performance vis a vie the economy, you were simply, loudly, and matter-of-factly pronounced a racist. Period, end of story. Obama was not a great president, but he did not deserve the ire and personal attacks that flew his way.
Enter President Donald Trump. Election night 2016 and the days that followed were beyond embarrassing. People cried, melted down, and declared the end of the world over the ascension of Trump to president. But, unlike previous elections of modern times, it wasn’t just the losing side…it was a portion of the “side,” that had won. Additionally, the vitriol was louder, greater, more hyperbolic, more hysterical, and with no boundaries. And as we sit here today, with no end in sight.
Unlike all previous presidents of both parties in modern times, Trump’s family wasn’t off limits. His adult children were attacked, his 10-year-old son was attacked, and his wife was attacked. And all still are, at any and every turn.
Unlike all previous presidents of both parties in modern times, supporters of Trump’s were deemed to be not just “deplorable,” but irrelevant, unacceptable, un-American, stupid, and not worthy of validation. And still are, at any and every turn. Wearing a “Make America Great Again,” hat is a great way to get your ass kicked tomorrow.
Some things are similar to previous presidents of modern times (although they feel amplified with Trump); his mental acuity is questioned as was Bush 43 and Reagan’s. His questionable sexual behavior and history is constantly mentioned as was Bill Clinton’s. His intelligence is mocked, as was Reagan’s, Bush 41’s, and Bush 43’s. His alleged desire to fundamentally change America in a way it was never meant to be is mentioned constantly, as was true with Obama. His life before being president is used consistently as a prism through which to judge his current behavior; Trump has a very questionable history with African Americans, ranging from the Central Park 5 (Google it) to his overt and obvious housing discrimination policies. People use such incidents to inform everything he does and says in present day; just as they did with every single president ever in American history.
The scary thing about the anti-Trump rhetoric is whatever the answer is to the obvious question; where do we go from here? The completely naïve believe that we’ve reached our low and will return to some form of civility whenever Trump leaves office. This is absurd on its face. Whatever happens in the near future is going to be the gateway to, believe it or not, more reprehensible words and behaviors. Do you honestly believe that if Trump loses in 2020 his supporters are going to quietly into the night? Conversely, are you seriously thinking that if Trump wins a second term America will, en masse, proclaim that the people have spoken and we all accept it?
Donald Trump may or may not be a great president; he hasn’t even been on the job for a year and a half. Here’s what I do know…he isn’t Hitler, and this claim needs to stop.
Not to say that others prior (Nixon, Reagan, Bush 43, Obama) weren’t, from time to time, compared to Hitler. They were. But it was rare, and it was usually condemned. With Trump, it’s commonplace. And it’s insulting and offensive to the senses and the intellect.
I didn’t vote for Donald Trump, but I don’t hate him either (for the record, I did NOT, nor would I ever, vote for Hillary. I stayed home for the first time ever since I’ve been eligible to vote). I am ambivalent to him and hope he makes wise decisions for the nation. I have no horse in the Trump race. I do, however, blanch when we dumb down the Holocaust.
Enough with the Hitler. When Trump is declared to Hitler it is beyond ignorant and devastatingly ignorant to historical fact. A man who wolf whistles at a woman is not a rapist. To claim that he is, is to insult actual rape victims. When less-than-mediocre actress Jennifer Lawrence proclaims over-and-over again that having her self-taken nudes “stolen” from her cell phone and released to the public is a form of sexual assault, it is an insult to every victim of actual sexual assault. When a child screams “child abuse,” as a result of having his cell phone taken away as a punishment, it is an insult to the child lying in the ICU as a result of his mother dipping him acid. Enough with this.
Trump is not Hitler. To claim that he is, is an insult to over 5 million Jews wailing from beyond the grave. Beyond that, it’s an insult to history, fact, and reasonable, logical thinking. And no, I’m not Jewish and it’s a disgrace that I need to even write that.
When president Obama was president I implored people to stop claiming he was a Muslim or that he wasn’t born in America, because there were PLENTY of legitimate things to criticize about him as a president. The same is true of Trump; he says really stupid things. He has absolutely lowered the eloquence of the office. He lies; this has been proven over-and-over again beyond the shadow of a doubt. He makes knee-jerk, rash decisions. His tax cut was a giant giveaway to the rich (and on behalf of all one percenters, thank you again Mr. President). He acts like a child. His ability to galvanize congress and “make deals,” has been proven false as of this writing (see: Obamacare still the law of the land).
On and on the list goes of legitimate things to discuss, debate, and criticize. Trump being Hitler is not only not legitimate, it’s infantile. Enough.