Echoes of Future Past

Does anyone else look at these two photos from the RNC and worry, as I do, about demagoguery?

What if I add the word “Heil”?

Perhaps it’s my own tendency to see things through history-colored glasses, but when I saw these seemingly harmless pictures, the first thing that came to mind was this:

I am not suggesting that the Republicans are Nazis (after all, I am a Republican), and I don’t think the political climate will get so bad that the GOP will exchange their elephant pins for swastikas.

I realize, too, that there are probably photos out there of Obama in a similar pose (although he’s more likely to have his shirtsleeves rolled up).

But as I’ve continued to mull over those photos of McCain and Palin, and as the recklessly frivolous McCain-Palin campaign has buzzed around in the weeks since the RNC like a swarm of Zem-Zem cars in Death Race, I keep coming back to the same things:

Playing on people’s fears? Check.

Telling people what they want to hear, regardless of facts to the contrary? Check.

Warmongering? Check.

Feigned outrage for political purposes? Check.

Blustering instead of discussing? Check.

My-way-or-the-highway intransigence? Check.

Media manipulation? Check.

Stonewalling stuff you don’t want to hear or deal with? Check.

Abridged personal freedoms and civil liberties in exchange for “security”? Check.

Stiff right arm raised aloft? Check.

Tiny mustache? Nope, don’t have that one.

But the rest of the similarities, truly, have bothered me more and more. 

This is not so much about McCain and Palin–or Obama and Biden, for that matter–but about the American public, which continues to tolerate a dangerously vapid election process. The public remains largely pliant and uncritical, and in the past, that has always led to bad, bad things.

As I said, I don’t expect swastikas–but then again, neither did the Germans.

6 replies »

  1. Chris,

    That’s really a stretch.

    Meanwhile, Obama’s brother lives in poverty in a hut. Can’t take care of his family, yet some expect him to cure all that ails the great USA.


  2. I think the whole point is that it’s a stretch…until it isn’t anymore. When you allow some of the more frightening aspects on Chris’s checklist to creep into your political realm, things can change rapidly and in ways you don’t expect.

    That frightens me far more than the possibility that if we get out of Iraq prematurely we might be “doing it wrong” or something like that.

  3. Jawohl, mein Fuhrer. USA uber alles. Unsere lieber Got hat es so gewollt fur uns ein tausend und eins jahre reich.

    (Apologies, my grammar has descended to the depths of depravity, so that might not make perfect sense if you’re capable of speaking German.)