Monday, September 05, 2016

Donald Trump's Hate Mongering

Twice, now, Republican Presidential Nominee pulled a stunt that I consider far outside the bounds of morality, and generated very little comment that I know about on this fact.

At the Republican National Conventional in which he was nominated, in order to sell his immigration policy he brought on a parade of people who were in various ways related to crimes committed by immigrants.

From the Politfact article on the convention, Who Were the Victims of Illegal Immigrants Trump Named at the RNC?":

Three parents — Mary Ann Mendoza, Sabine Durden, and Jamiel Shaw — spoke about their children on the first night of the Republican National Convention Monday and called for stronger immigration enforcement...."They're just three brave representatives of many thousands who have suffered so gravely," Trump said. "Of all my travels in this country, nothing has affected me more, nothing even close I have to tell you, than the time I have spent with the mothers and fathers who have lost their children to violence spilling across our borders, which we can solve. We have to solve it."

Trump's acceptance speech was also filled with stories of people who have been killed - allegedly by illegal immigrants.

Trump continued this tactic when he gave his immigration speech on August 31 in Phoenix.

As described on CNN, Trump on Immigration: No Amnesty, No Pivot"

In his speech, the billionaire repeatedly called attention to the crimes of some undocumented immigrants and drew on stories of Americans killed by undocumented immigrants, bringing parents of some of those victims on stage to share their graphic and heart-wrenching tales of loss....As he painted a picture of a country besieged by "illegal alien" crime, Trump accused Washington politicians and the media of underplaying the dangers posed by illegal immigration and warned voters that the stakes this election will never be higher.

So, what's wrong with this?

Imagine Joseph Goebbels parading the victims of Jews on a stage in Nazi Germany in the 1930s.

The reason for such a tactic is hatemongering - that is, the selling of hatred. The lesson is clear - the audience is being told that the proper reaction is to hate all people like those who committed the crimes being presented on stage. The propagandist is saying that the proper target of his hatred is not murderers or drunk drivers or "those who commit this type of crime". The audience is being taught to hate Jews or, in the case of Trump, to hate illegal immigrants. And, on the basis of that hatred - on the basis of dehumanizing the target group - the audience is primed to take action harmful to the target of that hatred.

We are routinely told that we are not supposed to compare the actions of contemporary politicians to Hitler.

I once thought of writing a science fiction story in which Hitler himself has been sent forward in time. With a bit of plastic surgery and using a forged identity, Hitler then tries to get elected to public office. As he does so, he shuts down anybody who suggests that his policies are "like those of Hitler" simply by condemning anybody who dares to compare him to Hitler. Such a comparison, he asserts - as it is often asserted in political discussion today - is intrinsically illegitimate.

Consequently, Hitler manages to get re-elected.

If I were to write such a story, I would have a hard time imagining that it would be any different than telling the story of Donald Trump's attempt to become elected as the President of the United States. His propaganda is structurally identical to that of the Nazis.

Donald Trump is a hatemonger. The product that he is selling to the public is hatred - pure and simple - and he sells it using the same techniques that Hitler used to sell his brand of hatred to the Germans.

And a lot of Americans are buying it.

As they do so, we are told that it is wrong to make the comparison - to point out that a lot of Americans are buying merely a modern repackaging of what the German people bought in the 1930s.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I find many people seem to think Hitler was just a caricature of a real person. That no one could be so evil, or that it could never happen today because we are so much more enlightened then that by-gone era. My heart aches when I see someone fully support him and completely disregard 90% of what he says because he's "not a politician". Or that he just commits some social faux pas. Or that he is just saying how he feels without really thinking about it. THAT'S THE WORST PART! We know exactly how he feels based on what he says and IT IS NOT GOOD.