Grr. I’m so mad at the Nazis! I know. I like to be controversial sometimes. So I’m just going to say it; I’m sorry. I am really ticked-off at those gosh-darned genocidal jerkmouths! Okay, look, I’m pretty much always mad at Nazis. I mean, that’s sort of the point, I guess. When you do the shit that Hitler and his disgusting henchmen did, it’s not supposed to just be glossed over and forgotten over time; I get that. But I swear to God, if I have to hear one more person in this country compare their political foe to Hitler, or warn their constituents that we’re headed down the path of Nazi Germany, I’m going to throw my keyboard out into the street and go hide myself away on an island somewhere. Not everything is Nazi-esque, Nazi-ish, or Nazi-Like, and all it does is downplay just how vile and evil the real Nazis were if you call every burp or sneeze from your opponent an attempt at Nazism.
South Carolina’s TEApublican governor Nikki Haley is in some hot water after the GOP in her state became the latest group of slack-jawed morons to invoke visions of the Holocaust completely unnecessarily. The South Carolina Republican Party referred to the IRS as “Obama’s Gestapo” when they sent out a fundraising letter to their rank and file party members this month. The reference of course is to the non-scandal revolving around 501(c) (4) tax-exempt applications and whether or not Tea Party groups were unfairly scrutinized. Despite the fact that the wheels have completely come off that scandal (as has every other “scandal” that Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) has chased his tail about), the South Carolina GOP clearly did not get the message and so they decided to gin up fear of death panels and government-controlled healthcare. Sadly, I’m sure it’ll work, given the level of information voters in the state likely have about how the ACA is going to work.
I don’t want to go off on a rant about how great the ACA is right now though. Frankly, I still hold out hope that it’ll one day become single payer health insurance for this country. Right now I just want to beg all of you, every single of one of you who follows politics closely — regardless of what side of the aisle you’re on — let’s all agree to stop talking about the Nazis. This isn’t some veiled Holocaust denier screed either. Fuck that. You can trace some branches on my family tree right into Nazi-occupied Europe, so I have a healthy regard for the symbolism and importance of that dark time in our world’s history.
I just want us all to find some more allegories. I want us to be more creative, and I want us to realize that what makes the Third Reich such a powerful warning to us all is in how rare the level of sheer inhumane barbarism was carried out. What makes the story of the Nazis so powerful is that it truly is rare for all the cards to stack up in a way that would let millions of people turn a willful blind eye to the kinds of wickedness that was being carried out pretty much out in the open. I’m not saying that these things couldn’t still happen today, I’m saying that they’re not happening right now. I’m also saying that no president, not even Dick Cheney or his Vice-President George Bush, fell the depths that Adolf Hitler did, so let’s please stop insulting both the memories of the victims of the real Nazis and the our fellow Americans. We may not agree with their ideologies, and the right-wing may even have a virulent strain of racism in it right now, but Nazism? Really?
Another reason I want to call a moratorium on Godwin’s Law is that it just stops all debate and discourse cold because you can’t pull back from that accusation. It’s a nuclear warhead of an argumentative position and it’s impossible to work around it once it’s put there. Calling your opponent a Nazi is basically saying, “I find you so repugnant I’m not going to work with you.” The light you’re trying to paint your opponent is so terrible, so vile, and so inhumane, as to rob them of any all civil decorum you feel you might otherwise owe them. I get it — real Nazis are dickheads. Real Nazis, and there are certainly some living among us today, should be cast out and made an example of, but when your political opponent supports a gun control measure, that doesn’t make them akin to the Gestapo. For one thing Hitler didn’t disarm his populace, but that’s again an argument for another time.
Haley should apologize, as the Democrats in her state are urging her to do. The Republican Party compared every employee of the Internal Revenue Service — who I’m sure have the same number of honest, hard-working Americans among their ranks as any corporation or company in the private sector — to the worst human beings to live in a handful of centuries. I’m all for getting down in the mud with your opponents, but it’s just lazy, stupid and inaccurate to compare modern American politicians on either side to Nazis. We deserve better from our politicians…and wouldn’t it be nice if they knew that too?