Monday, December 5, 2016

In Defense of Purging

No, dear friends. I have not, in my desire to lose weight, come out in favor of bulimia. Instead, I am addressing the controversy of deleting online friends due to their offensive political views. 

 In terms of vulgarity and general offensiveness, Donald Trump goes way beyond anything this nation has ever seen in a major party candidate. I have had strong differences with many elected officials, from Ronald Reagan (who ignored the AIDS for six years) to John Kasich. But I never questioned their basic decency or their belief that they were doing what they thought was best for the nation as a whole. 

But Trump is a horse’s ass of another color. For the past year, some on the left were comparing Trump with Adolf Hitler. At first, I was offended by the comparison, and thought the Hitler-Trump comparisons were specious. Not anymore. Read these excerpts from a New York Times review of a recent biography of Hitler, and take note: “‘Hitler adapted the content of his speeches to suit the tastes of his lower-middle-class, nationalist-conservative, ethnic-chauvinist and anti-Semitic listeners,’ Mr. Ullrich writes. He peppered his speeches with coarse phrases and put-downs of hecklers. Even as he fomented chaos by playing to crowds’ fears and resentments, he offered himself as the visionary leader who could restore law and order. Hitler increasingly presented himself in messianic terms, promising ‘to lead Germany to a new era of national greatness,’ though he was typically vague about his actual plans.” 

 Change “anti-Semitic” to “anti-Immigrant”, “anti-Gay”, “anti-Muslim” and, well, you get the picture. 

There are superficial similarities between 1933 Germany and 2016 America as well: 

“‘The unwillingness of Germany’s political parties to compromise had contributed to a perception of government dysfunction, Mr. Ullrich suggests, and the belief of Hitler supporters that the country needed “a man of iron” who could shake things up. “Why not give the National Socialists a chance?” a prominent banker said of the Nazis. “They seem pretty gutsy to me.”’ 

America's political system is a portrait of dysfunctional gridlock. The spirit of compromise that allowed the country to unite against fascism, communism, and land a man on the moon is a distant memory. But while 1933 Germany was economically destitute, America’s economy continues to improve, unemployment is at its lowest level in nine years, incomes are rising – albeit dis-proportionally for those in the upper economic strata. 

 How would Hitler have used a social media platform, like Twitter? My guess, pretty much like Trump has. 

 There are a few differences, though. While Trump dodged the draft, Hitler volunteered for the German army during World War I and was known as a brave, tenacious message runner. Also, Hitler only married once. 

And then there’s this: 

Many of those who voted for Trump will tell you that they were offended by his behavior and don’t condone the mocking of people with disabilities. NOT GOOD ENOUGH. As the child of a semi-disabled person, I will never be able to understand how any right-thinking person with an OUNCE of sympathy in them wouldn't have found this to be a deal-breaker. Add to that Trump’s comments about women, religious and ethnic minorities, and using nuclear weapons – how could this man have been considered? It’s not that far from Trump’s disdain toward those with life challenging conditions and Hitler’s stated belief that the disabled, mentally ill, and mentally retarded should be euthanized so they wouldn’t be a drain on the state. 

With the above in mind, I did perform a long overdue enema on my facebook friends list. It wasn't all encompassing, I just weeded out the worst of them.  Most of those removed were either people I had never met in real life or had passing acquaintances with in school or previous jobs. One was a relative who, frankly, has always been something of a bully and about whom I’ve long had reservations. I also blocked several people, including someone who I knew in elementary school (I didn’t like her, even then). Typically for Trump supporters, she became pregnant while in high school and later “matured” into a born-again judgmental Christian who posted “Hillary for Prison” pictures on her facebook timeline. 

No thanks. I have enough friends to be selective.

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