The civility with which mainstream media interviewers and commentators treat Republicans is really nothing more than a trick of history. It’s a problem that could be solved in a heartbeat with the passage of a few years and a time machine. After all, given a time machine and the chance to go back to, say, 1938 Nazi Germany, what self-respecting American journalist of today of the non-Fox News variety would treat a Nazi thug with anything less than contempt?
Ah, but there I go again, some of you are thinking, comparing the Republican Party with the Nazi Party. Godwin’s Law strikes again! Isn’t the analogy of comparing Republicans to Hitler stretching it a bit? Isn’t it getting a little thin?
Perhaps. Let’s look at the record and make a little comparison. If we compare Germany’s takeover by Hitler with America’s takeover by Trump and Trumpism, considering Trump came to power in January of 2017 and Hitler came to power in January of 1933, that would put us at about May of 1938 by comparison. By that time Hitler had murdered some people, to be sure. But nowhere near 6 million.
As I write this, 6,263,214 human beings have died from coronavirus worldwide. To be sure, not all of those died as the direct result of Trump or Trumpism, but we are in the fix we are in today to a large extent because of American partisan propaganda and the rightwing cultivation of scientific ignorance. And Trump and Trumpism have been at the vanguard of that ignorance since the beginning. America is what you might call a very big influencer.
But wait, it gets worse. By 1938 the Nazis hadn’t taken over the United States. To be sure, there were a lot of rightwing Hitler sympathisers living in the United States, like Charles Lindbergh. But fascism held no charm for the majority of Americans, Democrat, Republican or otherwise. Today fascism is the go-to political ideology of most Republicans, and it’s getting worse.
Since the insurrection, Republicans have been working night and day at the local and state level to ensure that the next elections are heavily slanted in their favor. What Republicans were shy to do in 2020 they are now emboldened to do in 2022. Indeed, given the apparatus now in place, even if the exact same votes were cast today as in 2020 I doubt that Biden would have won. There are too many Republicans today working at polls and in state assemblies and in the Congress who would now gladly do what would have been unthinkable to them in 2020. They would cheat. The insurrection is alive and well.
As I say, fascism in America is getting worse. To be sure it’s hidden behind carefully misunderstood interpretations of the first two amendments of the Constitution, the only two amendments most Republicans know. But Republicans are no more interested in free speech for all than they are interested in carefully regulated militias. They’re no longer content to return to power. They want to take over — for a thousand years.
Then there’s global warming, and there’s the real crux of the matter. We are running out of time. One day very soon we will have slipped beyond the point of no return. If Republicans return to power America will lose the moral leadership of the world’s fight against global warming at a time when that leadership is very much needed. If we do not radically change our ways and stay the course, the world by 2050 could become almost unlivable.
Imagine, if you will, a journalist from 2050 hopping in a time machine and given the task of speaking to a Republican in 2022. How much civility do you think they would have for the Grand Old Party then? How fair and balanced do you think the interview would be? Probably about as fair and balanced as an interviewer of today talking to a Nazi in 1938. They would have what you might call historical perspective.
And now it looks like, according to a recently leaked draft opinion, that the Supreme Court of the United States could end up repealing Roe v. Wade, threatening a woman’s right to choose. Still think comparing the GOP with the Nazis isn’t apt?
I realise that Trump is out of power in 2022 and Hitler was at the height of his powers in 1938, but in a way, that makes the comparison all the scarier. Because if Hitler had been out of power by 1938 that would have been the end of Nazism in Germany. Hitler was Nazism. Trump, on the other hand, has created a monster that is living beyond him. And that monster is growing stronger in America and could grow into a worldwide menace.
But for now, and in the name of keeping up appearances, the mainstream media will continue to treat these GOP Nazi thugs with civility. After all, we need to be polite to the future murderers of our wives and children and husbands and fathers and mothers. We need to treat the people who would take democracy away from us and replace it with hobnail fascism with civility. After all, decorum demands it, right? Appearances must be kept up, right? And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.
Robert Harrington is an American expat living in Britain. He is a portrait painter.