I have friends who are Trump supporters, and I love them, but I am ashamed of their willingness to tolerate anything and everything he does. I just can’t understand it. They are intelligent, good people, but their unquestioning support is vexing. It seems to be rooted in an emotional need which is oblivious to logic or even reality. Perhaps some of it is defiance – against the judgmental aspect of identity politics. Maybe it’s as simple as the refusal to admit they made a full throated, terrible mistake. Whatever the motivation, it is now becoming strained and stressed.
How is it that otherwise good people would be so vulnerable to a demagogue exploiting anger and division. He promised to make the country great again, to restore economic strength, eliminate the scourge of immigration and attack the elite left and biased and unpatriotic media, to establish law and order and to push back against other countries wo have taken advantage and abused the nation. I never understood what made otherwise decent people in Wiemar Germany support a leader no matter what he says or does, until now when it is happening in my country in my lifetime. In my country, founded on the ideal that all men were equal and expanding the meaning of that phrase ever since, is now locked into a debate on whether Nazis were morally equivalent to people fighting them. WWII veterans must feel terribly dismayed to hear their own President tell them that they were just as guilty of violence as the Nazis when they landed on the beaches of Normandy.
What happened in Charlottesville and since is eerily reminiscent of Wiemar Germany and this is no hyperbole. The same politics, the same issues, the same violence and the same polarization. When Communists and Democrats battled the Nazis on the streets of Germany, their political leadership elevated a movement rooted in racial superiority and the subjugation of other races to the status of a legitimate political movement. One has to wonder how Kushner can stand by silently while the Alt.Right attacked him for “stealing one of our own” (i.e. Ivanka), while his father in law defends them as “decent people”. How can men like Kelley and Mattis stand by even as they have to repudiate their own President every week for one reason or another. Whatever the reasons, the gulf between Americans is widening – I can feel the distance with the people I know – and unless we do something dramatic soon, then Charlottesville will be a mild harbinger of what is to come.