Last night in our New York apartment. It is abnormally quiet, my footsteps echoing through the space caused by the absence of so many things that when combined create what we call home. Its a surreal feeling. A bit sad. A bit of a relief. To New York we will be back in a matter of months. But to this home, to this neighborhood, we will never return. Having lived here over five years, its a strange feeling.
Cable and internet have already been turned off. So I am forced to watch a DVD that someone gave me. It’s a German movie called The Fist of the Reich. Overdubbed in English. On the cheesy side, which is why I never bothered to put it in prior to this evening. But there seems to be a reason for everything. And so too even with this strange foreign movie about the famous boxer Max Schmeling, I cannot help but feel compelled to believe that there was purpose in my viewing it.
It tells the story of the beginnings of Hitler’s Third Reich in Germany. A raucous excitement filled the air of Germany due to the uncanny gift for nationalistic propaganda of the Nazi party. There was also a lot of fear, an under current that there just wasn’t something right about them. But still, they were so gung ho about Germany and their ability to rebuild the country to the greatness that they always knew they had in them that most people were willing to over look the uglier aspects of the Nazi’s strange predilection for hate.
It was not long into the film that Mitt Romney and this new breed of Tea Party Republicans popped in my head. Right around the time in the film that Germany begins banning Jewish people from staying in hotels or shopping in certain stores. It seemed innocent enough, a simple decree by the new Chancellor that all shop keepers had the right to deny service to whomever they wanted… But it also reeked of racism and exceptionalism. As if the only “real” people that mattered were pure blooded Germans. The linger I watched the more I felt a strong impulse to stop the film and make note of my thoughts.
I couldn’t help notice there eerie similarities between early 1930’s Nazi Germany and the platform of today’s barely recognizable Republican party, the political party that I grew up proud to be a member of. But things have changed. Though their presidential candidate speaks a lot about the economy, he and others like him, and even more so average everyday American people who now call themselves Republican, also speak of other things. Things that most of us find repugnant and frightening. For whatever reason there is a strong current of hate and racism in this new breed of Republican fervor.
Whether it’s black people on welfare or food stamps, or poor people who are “naturally victims and free loaders” simply because they can’t make ends meet, or women who want to have full control of their bodies, or gay people who want to get married and start families, or Muslim people or anyone from the Middle East for that matter, or even Hispanic people who just “might be” illegal or look it, there is something inherently “wrong” with them according to this new group of Americans who now call themselves Republican. They don’t just disagree with the policies of the President of the United States. They hate him. And so too for all of the above mentioned people. Hate is a strong word. But an even stronger feeling. So it is naturally disturbing to any rational thinking person that a single group of people could be so aligned in their singular hatred of so many different groups of people. It appears from the outside that the only reason they hate all these different groups of people is because they aren’t white or Christian.
If there were a chance of Mitt Romney winning the White House I would say that America should be frightened. But I dare say that I would bet that the current incumbent president, Barack Obama, will squeak by with the win. But as good as that may be in the short term, we are still left with the realization that America tends to swing back and forth with its election of political parties. Which means that in 2016 we may end up with one of these crazy Republicans in the White House again. Let us hope that by then they’ve cleaned out the skeletons from their closet. And the racists, bigots, and general haters of all things not white and christian. America was never meant to be a white christian nation. Anyone who claims that it was simply doesn’t understand what makes and has always made America such a profoundly enviable country since its inception.
Disagreeing with policies that differ from the party that you support is one thing. Hate for the sake of hate is another. It’s a dangerous slippery slope that can create a lot of needless pain and suffering that we’ve seen countless times before in human history. Whether Democrat or Republican, Green or Libertarian, if we are American we must all be careful that we never allow our great nation to be hijacked by a small group of people whose very platform is built upon denying basic liberties, freedom, or respect to any of our fellow citizens, no matter what the reason. That is the exact opposite of American Exceptionalism. It’s hate disguised as politics. And it’s been practiced far too long in America. For a variety of alleged rational reasons. But at this time in the evolution of our great country, hate disguised as anything is an easy thing to spot. And it is up to each and every one of us that we never allow it to enter our body politic or our collective consciousness as a people again.
If for no other reason than this — and there are plenty more noble reasons to vote for the man, as someone who did not vote for him in 2008, I recommend Barack Obama as President for a second term. The other option is too embroiled in hate speech of one kind or another at this time, one that seems far too serious and far more invested in hate than just speech.
When people who call themselves Republican, or anything for that matter, use the term “Muslim” as an insult, we know we are not dealing with rational or compassionate hearts and minds. And the same can be said with how they speak of black people, poor people, immigrants, gay people or women in general. Maybe it’s something in the Kool Aid they pass out at their rallies, but there is something very un-American about a group of people who are filled with rage and bitterness towards anyone who doesn’t look act or believe like they do.