Thank you for providing a forum for political dialogue. I respond to two August 15th letters.
First, regarding “Liberals create despair.” Most liberals, like most conservatives, are working people who pay taxes. My despair is that too many Americans are unemployed through no fault of their own. Our country is in a world-wide economic crisis not readily solved by either party. When work is available, able-bodied workers shouldn’t be on the public dole. But how does a dis-employed factory worker, for example, keep a family fed and clothed while waiting for new jobs to open up? Shouldn’t we have the same humane approach to victims of a disastrous economy that we do for victims of natural disasters such as floods and wildfires?
Next, “The New Nazi Party.” Comparing 1930s Germany to twenty-first century U.S. is a messy business; comparing Hitler’s regime to our present administration an unbelievable stretch. I’ll address a couple of historical confusions, but draw the line at responding to statements that smack of racism and misogyny.
Like today’s U.S., pre-Hitler Germany suffered from unemployment and a weak economy, in part, because of a global depression. The German economy was worsened by cutting taxes and unemployment benefits. Hitler came along and promised to make things better. With an upturn in global markets and help from German industrialists, he “delivered” on his promise, and relieved citizens kissed Hitler’s infamous boots.
Then Das Fuhrer began his real mission of unifying the people toward an illustrious new nation. Those who didn’t buy into his plan–including some Christians (notably Seventh Day Adventists)–were treated to the same horrors as Jews, Gypsies, and homosexuals. Christians who supported him–some proclaiming Hitler the new Luther–became integral to the movement.
Once he had the people behind him, Hitler took his tenets and tanks to Austria and other countries, many with strong socialist factions. Hitler himself had no liking for socialism, shaping the Nazi party to one that was anti-Marxist, anti-communist, anti-liberal, anti-democratic, and pro-fascist. He was all about power and national glory, however he could get it.
Manipulating information for political power, as Hitler did, is dangerous now as it was then. Engaging in responsible, informed discussions has a better chance of solving problems than does blaming or berating those with whom we disagree. Though we may not share the same political views, we share the same country and want the best for its citizens.
Barbara McClure Smith