But just because something is legal -- like converging on a town hall meeting and shouting down an elected official, calling him or her a liar, a scoundrel or a traitor -- doesn't make it right or tolerable. To my way of thinking, there are -- or at least should be -- limits to what's acceptable; a place where we all draw a line in the sand. One of these limits, one of these lines is likening the President of the United States and members of the United States Congress to Adolf Hitler and the Nazis.
To this I shout out SHOYN GENUG!! Enough already!
Over the past weeks and months, we have seen more and more placards, and heard more and more commentators comparing President Obama to Hitler, labeling his programs as fascistic, and warning of dire consequences unless he is stopped in his tracks.
On July 30, Orly Taitz, the dentist/real estate agent/attorney who is leading the so-called "Birther" movement took her case to the "Colbert Report." Taitz started speaking in defense of Major Stephen Cook, who said his orders to deploy to Afghanistan were "invalid," because "President Obama wasn't born in America." After listening to Taitz's defense of Major Cook, Colbert said,
"It's good for the country for the soldiers to be questioning their Commander in Chief."
Whether or not Taitz understood that Colbert was being both sarcastic and ironic is debatable, because she responded,
"Well, I think that if in Nazi Germany, the soldiers and the officers would have questioned the orders that came from the commander in chief, maybe 65 million people wouldn't have died."
To which Colbert, not believing what he had just heard responded,
"Thank you. So few people are willing to compare the Obama administration to Nazi Germany. It's refreshing to hear that."
One could only wish that what Steven Colbert was hearing was rare. But it's not:
At a recent protest held outside the Ft. Collins offices of Representative Betsey Markey (D-Colo), a woman protesting Democratic plans for health care reform was photographed holding up a sign of a Swastika, with the president's name below it, encircled and crossed out by a red line. The clear implication, of course, is that President Obama is a Nazi, though in the protester's defense she did add a question mark. Similarly, at a town hall meeting in Texas Representative Lloyd Dogget's district, one protester carried a sign emblazoned with the Nazi S.S. symbol, a second with a cartoon of the congressman sporting horns, and yet a third, a tombstone with Dogget's name on it. The other day, out on Maryland's Eastern Shore, Representative Frank M. Kratovil, Jr. was met with protesters -- one of whom who had the tasteless brass to place an effigy of the congressman hanging from a noose just outside his office. On August 6, Rush Limbaugh told his ditto-heads that "Obama's got a health care logo that's right out of Hitler's playbook," and asked "What are the similarities between the Democratic Party of today and the Nazi Party in Germany?" His answer, in part:
"Well, the Nazis were against big business -- they hated big business. And of course we all know that they were opposed to Jewish capitalism. They were insanely, irrationally against pollution . . . . They were against cruelty and vivisection of animals, but in the radical sense of devaluing human life, they banned smoking. . . . It is liberalism that's the closest you can get to Nazism and Socialism . . . . Adolf Hitler, like Barack Obama, also ruled by dictate."
One wonders whether it has dawned on the likes of Rush Limbaugh and such sponsoring organizations as FreedomWorks, Americans for Prosperity, or Conservatives for Patients' Rights that they are making it look as if the entirety of the Republican Party -- and not just a gullible gaggle -- is made up of nothing but "wing nuts," Luddites and other assorted "Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton." (For those not familiar with this latter allusion, see Marat Sade). If this be the case, it's fine by me; occasionally one does reap what they sew.
To all those being goaded by radical right organizations into doing their bidding; to all those who persist in comparing Democrats to Fascists and liberals to Socialists; and, to all those who find the leap from "Barrack Obama" to "Adolf Hitler" to be measured in microns and not temporal dimensions I say precisely two things:
Shame on you! and
©2009 Kurt F. Stone