Lately, as political debates reach ever higher summits of the ridiculous and maniacal, a common name hurled at people we don’t like is “Hitler“. Now, we can all understand getting passionate about issues. The strength of our convictions and raging adrenaline gives us overwhelming courage to raise our voices and pump our fists. But to call your nemesis “Hitler” just because you don’t like him/her or don’t agree with his/her ideology is very immature, reactionary and truly tasteless.
It is very concerning to see OUR leaders act in such an irresponsible and inflammatory manner. It almost always plays out the same way no matter if it happens in lee Belize or the big ole United States. Some high profile politico calls an opponent “Hitler”; it causes fierce controversy; the aggressor backs down but by then, the damage is done. That name, that image is forever linked in the voters’ minds.
Even people who are shocked and aghast at such vitriol, like the Germans in the 1930’s, we tell ourselves, “Oh, he didn’t mean that. It won’t turn into anything. After all, I know him. He is my cousin. He is a nice guy.” But that is the frog boiling. You know the metaphor: A frog, dropped into boiling water, will frantically try to escape. But if you place that same frog in a pot of tepid water and gradually raise the temperature, he will languish in stupor and smile his way to death. Is that what is going on here? I think so.
People with malintent and less than stellar ethics, are trying to colour our vernacular with the blood of millions of people who were murdered under the directive of a lone, evil %$#&@!$*!@^#. Do you understand that when you use the name “Hitler” in vain, you insult the victims and the survivors of the most monstrous acts committed against humanity, EVER? When we call others “Hitler” we minimize the horrors the whole world had to fight to overcome.
Imagine YOUR family portrait. Do you see your mother; your grandmothers; your father; your grandfathers; your aunts and uncles; your cousins; your baby brothers; your four year old sister. Do you see your mischievous 10 year old cousin pulling his sister’s hair? She is the one with her mouth formed in an “O” in surprise and pain. And then there is your tomboy of a 12 year old sister making googly eyes at the camera. Are you smiling? Now imagine putting an “X” on each and every face and telling your grandchild, “Hitler killed him”; “Hitler killed her”; “Hitler”; “Hitler”.
Lemme ask you something: Has any one of our leaders ever told millions of people they had to identify themselves by wearing a distinctive symbol signifying that they are the scourge of their nation? Have you ever had to watch your children being taken from you and put on a train to a concentration camp, your son is 4 and your daughter is a screaming 2 year old? Did you have to watch as soldiers lined up hundreds of the old and sick, each one being riddled with bullets in the blink of an eye? Did you have to watch your mother shrivel up from hunger and die slowly from the simple flu because she has no medicine or the strength to fight? Did you have your gold teeth ripped out of your mouth so some bastard can take the gold and melt it down? How about skinning your neighbour so a General can have a lamp shade made of his skin? Did you have to watch your daughters/sisters rounded up and sent to labs where there insides were mutilated and injected with poisons in “experiments”? Were you made to give up all your clothes and warm shoes then left to shiver in negative 30 degree Fahrenheit bitter cold winters? And you better not stop working because you will be butted in the head by a gun.
No. You haven’t. And you won’t.
And before you dismiss my plea because you are telling yourself that it will never get to this point so why bother discussing it? It didn’t start with the gassing and the shooting. It started with toxic rhetoric. Beware words like: dictator, imperialist, unilateral, uncaring, supremacist, socialist, or phrases like “threat to our freedom”; “if you are not with us, you are against us”; “it’s us versus them”; “take back our country”. And whenever you are not allowed to criticise a political proponent’s ideology and in turn are accused of being a “traitor” or identified as being partisan and blind, that is a huge signal that true democracy is NOT that proponent’s intent. Then, there is the actual poster with our Prime Minister dressed as Hitler himself. I’m not showing that picture here. That would give it more press and I refuse to be a part of that. Go look for it yourself.
It is a shame that politicos with self serving agendas are playing on people’s fears and emotions. Hitler took advantage of a depressed Germany to push his hate filled objectives. At first, the Germans didn’t even like him. He was unsuccessful at his early attempts. As the environment became more desperate and people sought a leader, he became their saviour, their knight in shining armour. None of them realized what they were heading for. Is this what we want for our people? More hate? More violence? More devastation? Check yourself. Check your motives. Check your tactics because it might turn out that “Hitler” is YOU.