Over the course of 2016’s presidential campaign, many have been unable to bring themselves to take Trump seriously, even as he takes the caucus cakes in consecutive states. There have been many jokes circulating in regards to whether or not the people should fear him, even comparing him to Hitler – mostly met with unconcern. Perhaps by being so dismissive, a much deeper systemic concern is being overlooked. This campaign has shined a light on the opinions and sentiments of many Americans and has revealed a sad truth. Trump being taken seriously as a potential presidential candidate is a startling testament to an inexcusable lack of education and political awareness, as well as deeply-rooted fears and anxieties we are experiencing as a nation.
I was curious about whether or not suggestions that Donald Trump was comparable to Adolph Hitler were relevant, or little more than far-fetched, offensive over-generalizations,and grossly dismissive of Hitler’s horrific and immense impact on the world. When considering external circumstances, such as the overwhelming economic instability and uncertain atmosphere that Germany was experiencing during that time period, as well as the political system within which he functioned, the two seem vastly different. However, taking advantage of a nation’s vulnerability– in this case racial and socioeconomic tension, environmental degradation, gender and sexual disunity, and unchecked corporate gluttony, to advance one’s own, unjust agenda rings familiar. The phrase, “divide and conquer” comes to mind in regards to Trump’s campaign. It’s difficult to discern whether his abhorrent sermons are a result of blind, entitled ignorance or brilliant strategies to rouse voters by glorifying and encouraging xenophobic and validating bigotry, feeding into fear and distrust of one another. The parallel that exists here lies within the people’s response to Trump and the GOP’s inability to put an end to this sooner by challenging him with a stronger candidate earlier in the race.
I do not believe that Donald Trump will have the opportunity to become “the next Hitler.” Millennials seem too radical a generation to hold their tongues and avert a revolutionary stance against a development such as that. Although, his campaign has warranted a closer look at current American culture and the opinions that many hold. After witnessing the reactions of attendees to his speeches and rallies, it’s evident that many of his gatherings become violent and aggressive, encouraging disorder and hostility. It would be interesting to discover whether Trump is aware and able to control the fear-driven fire he’s fueling when his conventions begin to resemble rapacious, angry mobs rather than gatherings of support for the progression of a nation. The carelessness inherent within the delivery of his speeches and presentation of hateful rhetoric resonate with a long history of racial tension, fear, and anger still present in the United States. His speeches aren’t uplifting, unifying, proclamations of a better future for the American people. they’re long tirades of sufficiently persuasive and disgraceful oration aimed at winning votes regardless of the cost. He encourages the alienation and focus on, “the other” in order to create an illusion of power, and it speaks to the powerlessness many people experience within our current political system.
Although the why’s of Trump’s motivation to be the next occupant in the oval office are intriguing, acknowledging the how seems to be more essential. Explore how the man who obnoxiously yelled, “You’re fired!” over a boardroom table, made sexist and xenophobia comments over the course of his career, and oversaw several failed business ventures is rising to be the next Republican primary. Think about our public education system and it’s inability to teach critical thought, our media’s censorship and biases that weave stories with motives, and our tendency to diffuse responsibility to others to make changes and fix what’s broken. Educate yourself, read, discuss, and investigate. Learn from your own mistakes and the mistakes of those who came before us, because that is how we prevent history from repeating itself.
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