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What Are We Supposed to Do?

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In 2016, I did not vote for Trump nor Clinton. I voted Libertarian because I could not bring myself to vote for someone I did not trust, nor someone I felt was a clear threat to our democracy. I have read Mein Kampf twice, in middle school, for a book report assignment (I was interested in how the second world war started), and again in 2016, when the rhetoric I heard from then-candidate Trump sounded familiar.

Trump won the majority of the electoral college votes. (He likes to say he was democratically elected, but that is technically not true since he lost the popular election.) I wasn't happy about it. I felt that he was a clear threat to our democracy early on in his presidency when he started talking about serving more than eight years. I was still active duty military. I carried out my duties, and faithfully executed my responsibilities as I had sworn an oath to do. My best friend summed up my attitude best, that if my President was successful, then my country will be successful. In answer to the pro-Trump demonstrator, you were supposed to accept the will of the American people and, in four years, exercise your right to vote and vote for the candidate you want. In short, you are supposed to live with it. Like the rest of us have for the past four years.

I have continued to try and warn people about the dangers of Trump's rhetoric. He declared the Press, the "enemy of the people." The national socialist had said the Press and media were tools of the Jewish conspiracy. Trump said that only he and a few hand-picked hosts on Fox News were the real truth. He said that the Democrats wanted to destroy America - they hated America. The national socialist in 1930's Germany said the same about the Jews and the Communist. Both Trump and Hitler claimed that immigrants were the source of the country's problems. Both Trump and Hitler claimed that their nations were being taken advantage of because of unfair treaties. Trump has followed Stalin's example of purging the government of anyone disloyal to him, even if they were loyal to the party. He was only stopping short of having them either exiled or executed (though no doubt he would have liked to).

In Mein Kampf, Hitler wrote: "Propaganda must always address itself to the broad masses of the people. (...) All propaganda must be presented in a popular form and must fix its intellectual level so as not to be above the heads of the least intellectual of those to whom it is directed. (...) The art of propaganda consists precisely in being able to awaken the imagination of the public through an appeal to their feelings, in finding the appropriate psychological form that will arrest the attention and appeal to the hearts of the national masses. The broad masses of the people are not made up of diplomats or professors of public jurisprudence nor simply of persons who are able to form reasoned judgment in given cases, but a vacillating crowd of human children who are constantly wavering between one idea and another. (...) The great majority of a nation is so feminine in its character and outlook that its thought and conduct are ruled by sentiment rather than by sober reasoning. This sentiment, however, is not complex, but simple and consistent. It is not highly differentiated, but has only the negative and positive notions of love and hatred, right and wrong, truth and falsehood."

This is the very basis of Trump's entire strategy. He speaks and writes at a sixth-grade level. He and his followers in the Republican party use words that invoke fear like "radical" and "extremist" to rile up their followers and promote fear and anxiety that their way of life is threatened. Even now, in the aftermath of the events of January 6, there are members of Trump's party and right-wing media suggesting that it was not Trump supporters storming the Capitol, but ANTIFA. Just as Hitler said, it was the Communist who burned the Reichstag. Fox News, OANN, and the Trump White House seem to have adopted this strategy, again from Mein Kamp:

"Propaganda must not investigate the truth objectively and, in so far as it is favorable to the other side, present it according to the theoretical rules of justice; yet it must present only that aspect of the truth which is favorable to its own side. (...) The receptive powers of the masses are very restricted, and their understanding is feeble. On the other hand, they quickly forget. Such being the case, all effective propaganda must be confined to a few bare essentials and those must be expressed as far as possible in stereotyped formulas. These slogans should be persistently repeated until the very last individual has come to grasp the idea that has been put forward. (...) Every change that is made in the subject of a propagandist message must always emphasize the same conclusion. The leading slogan must, of course, be illustrated in many ways and from several angles, but in the end one must always return to the assertion of the same formula."

If we are ever to get our country back, there needs to be a de-Trumpification of our government. The media, on both sides, have clear biases. We need them to set these aside and present the facts to the American people in clear and straightforward language. I do not believe the political beliefs and values of the majority of American's are what is being portrayed in the national media and Press. I believe most Americans would discover, if we could talk like reasonable adults to one another, we are more in agreement than either political party would have us believe. For a few hours after the Capitol attack, both political parties behaved and spoke to one another in civil tones. That is already fading, proving Hitler and Goebels correct in that the masses quickly forget. Let us hope we do not get another lesson any time soon.

© 11111100110 David Stempnakowski

Wegberg, Germany, 41844

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