Losing World War I and the Great Depression traumatized the German people and led to the rise of Nazism. Does losing more Americans from COVID-19 than were killed in World War II and our economy shrinking in 2020 more than any time since 1946 traumatize us enough to follow a wannabe strongman who falsely promises to solve our every problem?
Adolf Hitler claimed that the Jews betrayed Germany in “the World War” and cheated the people during the crippling inflation that caused mass poverty. Working class white Americans whose wages were frozen since 1980, combined with inflation, were told by Donald Trump that immigrants stole their jobs. And the symbolism of an Obama presidency made too many struggling whites feel the world was passing them by.
Outnumbering the U.S. Capitol Police about 50-to-one, the mob proved their white privilege as a Black mob assaulting the government would have panicked the police into shooting enough of them on the steps to disperse the crowd. The police union says 140 Capitol Police officers were injured.
Now any Republican refusing to say the election was “stolen” fears similar violent threats at home or the ex-president encouraging a primary challenge against them. These are the tactics of a would-be dictator in a Banana Republic; 74 million voters were taken in by the most successful 21st century American con artist, who duped them out of $200 million to finance his comeback.
Will all the GOP devote themselves to sabotaging the new president’s efforts to contain the pandemic and repair the economy? Does our status as a small “d” democracy hang in the balance? Whose voices do we need to listen to in order to preserve the American experiment, which was once called the last, best hope of humankind?
Roland Van Deusen