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Learning how it could have happened

This coming week will be Holy Week in the Christian calendar.
This coming week will be Holy Week in the Christian calendar.

When we look back at the era of Adolf Hitler and National Socialism, we are in the habit of treating it as aberrant phenomenon that could never happen again (let alone happen in America; after all, we were the big heroes standing against Hitler, right?). The fact that we are sitting in America, the complete antithesis of National Socialism at one time, and it is happening again right here, has not yet come to the attention of the American people.

We look back at the German people and think how muddle-headed they were to adopt the hateful attitude towards Jews that they were handed by the Nazis. Furious anti-Semitism seems crude to us, until we think about what it happening here.

Honestly, using Nazi comparisons also sounds far out, but only if you are unaware of the hysterics of the right-wing racists who have been screeching about dictatorships, regimes, antichrists and whatever else they can think of (to use the word loosely) since President Obama was elected. It has been quite some time since I decided that I am going to treat the Teabaggers with exactly the same respect that they show to the liberals, so they can't ask for me to make nice anymore.

The Culture Wars offer you not one, but several sanctioned targets. Are you, like Fred Phelps, deeply conflicted about sexuality? Are you terrified of "the gay" and you don't read well enough to understand the Bible? Get homophobic, the more the better! You'll find a pastor to tell you to break your children's bones if they act gay at the age of four.

In my own lifetime I marched down the streets of Chicago behind Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in the Sixties. I saw the Civil Rights Act signed into law in 1964. Now, in this same lifetime of mine, I see it being dismantled as state governments pass laws to limit voting to a white electorate. Our Supreme Court is now compromised as justices accept perks from corporations and rule on cases that represent a conflict of interests because one of the parties benefits their spouse. The South has foisted its racism on the rest of our country--a racism that has overcome their humanity and which they cannot give up. The Southern Strategy is bearing its hideous fruit as Americans have no education to refute the absurd claims that are presented to them wrapped in proof quotes from the Old Testament. "Verses" trump common sense and overrule common human decency.

We wonder how the German legal system could have acquiesced in the repression of Jewish Germans and cooperated with death camps. But right here at home, Americans were interned into prison camps back in the war years. And there are people who want to pack off LGBT citizens and intern them in camps. We have people who call themselves Christians who will be the first and loudest voices in calling for laws that not only discriminate, but laws that will force their beliefs on the general population. They want a State Church that will agree with politicians who agree with the state church and so forth. In fact, I read today about a preacher who wants a "holy war" against LGBT citizens; you can find it on The Raw Story. Check it out here:

Are you an insecure man who fears that women are making entirely too many independent decisions? Get on the bandwagon for the war against women, and revoke their rights to health care. Support the Republicans who filibustered all advances towards equal pay for women, even today in the Senate. Women who are home-bound and tied to child bearing will learn the fear of losing the man who supports them.

Are you a woman who has been presented with Scripture proof quotes and told that if you do not vote like a breeding animal, you will go to hell? And if so, are you such a doormat that you will give up your right to have a private consultation with your doctor behind closed doors? Every woman is laying down her life in a voting booth in Arizona if she votes for politicians who don't care if a pregnant woman dies with her baby inside her as long as she doesn't terminate a deadly pregnancy.

Are the men and women of Arizona ready to say, "Well, I've got mine, so get lost" to everyone whose right to vote has been blockaded?

At this junction, it is time to review an award-winning film that was released in the Sixties. The title is Judgment at Nuremberg. It had a stellar cast that included a rising star from Germany, Maximilian Schell; Spencer Tracy in one of his last performances (in which he is just as good as he ever was); Marlene Dietrich in an amazing tribute to the women of Germany; and Judy Garland in a performance in which she consented to appear as less than her glamorous persona as singer/dancer. Burt Lancaster plays the most enigmatic of the German judges, a great jurist who wrote books about justice before he prostituted himself to Hitler. You can also see one of William Shatner's earliest featured performances, and Montgomery Clift in a transcendent performance as a man who received the most humiliating punishment that the Third Reich had to give.

The film deals with the attempt on the part of the German defense attorney to defend his clients, four prominent judges, from the accusation of crimes against humanity. As powerful jurists, they signed orders and approved of actions that facilitated the worst of the Nazi abuses of human rights. The American judges, the military witnesses and the audience are continually pondering how this could have happened in the case of individuals who should have known better--jurists who closed their eyes to justice and swept all they stood for aside in the name of Hitler's excesses and a hopeless war.

This dramatization of the Nuremberg war trials is based on actual transcripts that still exist. You must see the climactic scene in which the defense attorney conducts a brutal courtroom interrogation to make a witness admit that she had an affair with an elderly Jew, as if admitting that it happened would justify the murder of an old man. In another scene you see actual footage of the concentration camps, toned down as it was for audiences in the Sixties but still more horrifying than anything we see on television today.

As we watch this movie once again, it is appalling to understand that the United States going down that bad road. Our Supreme Court has just surrendered our electoral process to corporations and individuals who supposedly possess the money to buy the winning candidates. What elections will mean this year and in 2016 is anybody's guess.

We will see this year if American elections can be bought on the basis of Obama Derangement Syndrome. That's all the Republican Party has anymore. They have no "replace" for the "repeal and replace" about the Affordable Care Act that we heard from candidate Mitt Romney. Today's Republicans want to strip more than ten million Americans of their health insurance and give them nothing to replace it. They just want to kill "Obamacare" because it bears the President's name--only it doesn't.

The term "Obamacare" was coined by right-wingers in order to set up a reason to hate the Affordable Care Act. President Obama has commented wryly that in the future the term "Obamacare" will go away because later, when it has worked out into a health care system for the nation, the credit will be taken away from him...after everyone likes it and he is no longer president. He is right.

If you can be persuaded that anything must be considered expendable in order to destroy the presidency of Barack Obama, and if you hate African Americans enough, you can justify voting for the candidates that have been bought and paid for by oligarchs who are seeking to convert American democracy into a corporate dictatorship. If you are willing to forego food and drink, even for your children, you can vote for the politicians who are telling you outright that if you get in trouble you need not look to them for help; you can go hungry. You can move into your car.

I say that if you are going to live in your car, head it north or south and get out of the disaster area. When I was a young wife, friends of mine fled to Canada because they refused to consent to the war in Southeast Asia. Thousands of American retirees are abandoning this country for Latin America, Asia and points farther away, taking their Social Security to another country's economy with them.

The evangelical Christians who are putting their Sunday collections into their bank accounts and getting fat, are about to go on a diet. The little old ladies with their pious tears that they visualize in their sales pitches are being brutally deprived of their income by the same politicians that the evangelicals are in bed with. The elderly Americans that they can bilk of their retirement incomes will come up short unless they cut back their donations to the media ministries. It is only a matter of time.

Please: watch Judgment at Nuremberg and reflect at how easy it is for America to accept the corporate lies and turn into an incipient oligarchy that answers to no one. For the sake of racism, Americans are abandoning the middle class the the democratic process. Corporations own the Supreme Court and the House of Representatives; now they aim to get a majority in the Senate and have the Treasury of the United States for their own ATM. To that end there is no money for you and me; it goes to corporations. There will be no taxes on corporations, only on you--check the "Ryan Budget" if you don't believe me. They will mention St. Paul out of context and say that if you do not work you ought not to eat. They will pass a law that makes it possible to employ children, and then say that if children don't work they should not eat either. And education? They will tell you that if you can't afford private for-profit education, then your children can go to work, or they can go without food, and so can you.

Then it will appear that there simply isn't enough money to fund services such as public education or police forces. Privately-owned charter schools-for-profit are already on the horizon; militia are already organized, waiting for a chance to move in on communities like Phoenix and Tucson. America will finally break down if this situation is not ended; communities will degenerate into chaos and suddenly the corporations will no longer operate in the United States. All their company activities will be moved elsewhere, and Americans will be left to pick up the pieces. I give it two generations before the process is complete unless we intervene.

It is all going to depend on how much we, as Americans, will tolerate. Will we take action, will we break long-held voting habits and see things as they are, or will we listen to the lies and promises, like the promise to bring back American values, while American values like equality before the law are swept away? Will we decide that drastic changes have to be made, or will we pretend that it won't affect us, or our children, or the people next door?

Fifteen million Americans are living in abject poverty right now. Is it their fault? Really? I do not know how anyone can call himself or herself a conservative and be able to look in a mirror.

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