On Jan. 1, 2019, Democratic Rep. Hank Johnson of Georgia kicked off the new year with a speech where he compared President Donald Trump to Adolf Hitler and opined that those who support Trump are “less educated.” Per Johnson, Trump has taken over the Republican party in the same vein that Hitler took over the Nazi party. In a recent article in Townhall, Johnson said:
Hitler was accepting of violence towards the achievement of political objectives. Trump encouraged violence against protesters at his rallies, and his messaging about Charlottesville – that there were bad people on both sides – sent a powerful message of approval to the far-right racists in America.
Americans, particularly black Americans, can’t afford to make that same mistake about the harm that could be done by a man named Hitler or a man named Trump.Advertisement - story continues below
The Jewish people understand tyranny. Charismatic and a good public speaker, deceptive and cunning, Adolf Hitler rose to power to lead Germany in 1932 after democratic elections. He rode a wave of nationalism and antisemitism to power.
Johnson’s comments are erroneous and offensive and should be condemned by people across the political spectrum.
In his speech, Johnson opined that Trump encouraged violence. However, he failed to mention several calls for incivility involving some of his colleagues. For example, in June 2018, during a Keep Families Together protest and rally, Maxine Waters encouraged her supporters to generate mobs around Republicans. In a television interview, Hillary Clinton discussed the inability to be civil with a political party that allegedly wants to destroy what you stand for. Both of these messages directly or implicitly called for incivility.
These calls for incivility were echoed by other prominent Democrats. During a campaign event in Georgia, former attorney general Eric Holder expressed the need to “kick” people who “go low,” while Democratic New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker recommended that “Americans “get up in the face” of politicians they disagree with.
While Johnson failed to address these comments in his speech, one is left to wonder whether he would label those who uttered these words in the same manner in which he despicably labeled Trump and his supporters? Weren’t these comments made for political purposes? Didn’t they encourage incivility? The answer to these questions appears to be a resounding yes. Why, then, should they be spared from such vile comparisons?
The reason is clear. Despite the inappropriate rhetoric used by some on the left (and the right), it is irresponsible to compare any of these individuals to Hitler and Nazis, including the president. By making such comparisons, Johnson clearly reveals his misunderstanding of the Holocaust, Nazi Germany, and what innocent human beings endured during that period.
For example, according to the Jewish Virtual Library, Jews who died in the Holocaust “were the victims of Germany’s deliberate and systematic attempt to annihilate the entire Jewish population of Europe,” which Hitler called the “Final Solution.” Moreover, Hitler and the Nazis (unlike President Trump) utilized powerful propaganda methods to promote their sickening goals:
A major tool of the Nazis’ propaganda assault was the weekly Nazi newspaper Der Stürmer (The Attacker). At the bottom of the front page of each issue, in bold letters, the paper proclaimed, “The Jews are our misfortune!” Der Stürmer also regularly featured cartoons of Jews in which they were caricatured as hooked-nosed and apelike. The influence of the newspaper was far-reaching: by 1938 about a half million copies were distributed weekly.
Hitler and the Nazis mercilessly killed people using a variety of methods, including starvation, injections of lethal doses of sedatives, and gas chambers disguised as showers or crematoria where bodies were burned. The following excerpt from the Jewish Virtual Library (regarding Nazi Germany), while painful and horrifying, is instructive:
Terrible shrieks could be heard from the hermetically sealed chamber when those inside began to suffocate and their lungs burst. One Sonderkommando from Auschwitz recalled, “People called one another by name. Mothers called their children, children, their mothers and fathers. Sometimes we could hear Sh’ma Yisrael.” Hear Oh Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One, the traditional line recited by Jews at death. Rudolph Reder, one of two survivors of Belzec and the only one to bear witness said: “Only when I heard children calling: ‘Mommy. Haven’t I been good? It’s dark.’ My heart would break. Later we stopped having feelings.”
Johnson’s comments and analogies are irresponsible and wrong and should be immediately retracted. Comments of this nature go beyond politics and should offend people on all sides. There is no doubt that many Republicans and Democrats have directly or indirectly been impacted by the Holocaust. They lost loved ones during that dark time in history.
Some issues transcend politics. The Holocaust is one of them, and Hank Johnson’s comments should be rejected by everyone.
This Op-Ed originally appeared on American Thinker.
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