The synchronized goose-stepping to President Donald Trump’s White-America-First drumbeat seems highly familiar to many of you.
And this is the point where most media analogies between Trumpism and Nazi Germany stop short.
I want to go deeper and explore the policy and moral ramifications of Trumpism’s eventual end — and what will happen once the beat stops dropping.
Let’s first establish, for the sake of sorting out our woke-since-2016 friends from The Resistance that Trumpism is yet another outgrowth of decades-long white supremacist repression, and this phase of hatred will nominally end by 2024 — if not sooner.
For people betting on Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller’s gift of impeachment, it’s still too early to put bets on the Russia angle as an enabler.
My bet at the moment is money and women, if a rapid White House exit happens.
In any case, Trump’s turn at the White House will eventually end.
And then what?
I’m reminded of the book Destined to Witness: Growing up Black in Nazi Germany by Hans Massaquoi where the African-German author noted how marching to the beat of hatred felt good to many civilians, military personnel and government officials.
Perhaps the feeling among swaths of the German middle- and working-class masses back then was a glorious one because they finally — perhaps for the first time through their lens — can march with the assurance that the leader of their beloved country can relate to his socially and economically marginalized Aryan citizens.
“Blood and soil” and all.
Or perhaps they realized that marching to the beat is the path-of-least-resistance approach to maintaining — if not improving — their social status.
“It’s hip to hate in 1936,” some may have said.
Massaquoi observed that becoming a national SS operative or local Nazi Party official was even hipper since the hegemony of the time made others think that acting more Nazi than most others was the way to move up the social ladder.
Or perhaps many Germans back then were scared by the drum’s call but they capitulated — moving to the beat of narrow options, in their view.
And then the beat died 12 years later.
Along with Nazi Germany’s death came a moral and even physical accounting of all Nazi ideas and artifacts, including the people behind them.
Statues and flags were collected and destroyed.
People were tried and then either imprisoned or executed.
And while policies of hatred were being reversed, some Nazi evangelists insisted that they weren’t really down with team Hitler.
They were only following orders, they said.
Many political officials — along with shopkeepers, trade workers and stay-at-home spouses who supported this infrastructure of hatred — changed sides to claim their innocence as victims of the times.
To the extent possible, these people faded into the new beat of democracy.
I generally stay away from making comparisons between Trump and Hitler; there are deeply emotional considerations that can even make anti-Trump thinkers disagree among themselves.
But one question seems fair to ask about both periods of rule which I’ll apply to the current time: what happens once the beat stops dropping?
Will Trump’s advisors — the people who have helped to sustain the White House’s assault on immigrants, Muslims, poor people and the environment — slither from the Beltway to become born-again private sector executives, as if the age of Trump never happened?
Who will be held accountable?
What policies will be reversed?
And what about the Trump supporters who have felt marginalized prior to November 2016?
In the most non-etheric terms, what steps will be taken to heal the nation and all affected people?
And when thinking about reversing policies, will anyone remember that the American war on race, immigrants, the poor and middle class has been a decades-long work-in-progress?
How much of a sweeping change would you expect to see when this beat ends?
song currently stuck in my head: “bantu” – randy weston