This is the most chilling phrase in our political record – a declaration for the extinction of those who are different and wish to remain as they have been within a larger society which demands uniformity. In calling up this horror, I have agreed to soften it by acknowledging that it is not 1938 and this is not Europe after The Great War. We have so much more to lose than the people of Germany and Austria.
The shock of the attack on the US capitol building January 6 reverberates and terrifies all of us, especially the few who can still share stories of German Nazis. Perhaps by understanding the fears that moved the attackers to DC, we can write the chronicle of the next few years with more light and less heat and smoke.
I here posit a theory: the goal of weilding power over large numbers of people is for the powerful to achieve a kind of immortality. This theory, if proved correct, could account for the participation of the evangelical Christian body politic in the rise of Trumpism. If immortality is even possible within a person's world view, it would require perfect loyalty for one who aspires to gain it. Christianity did not propose that we should be loyal to any earthly power, but the point is often obscured when a group sees their safety (and privilege) threatened by upheavals in the order of society.
When any of us acts (reacts) in fear, our choices are skewed away from the common good and towards self defense. If the way of life of a large cross section of one people seems shaken, we too often turn to some exercise of power to hide our insecurity. The two party system in the US is particularly susceptible to this impasse, as we begin to equate the opposing party with the destruction of life as we have been accustomed to it.
Hitler wanted a legacy that glorified his chosen people and proved the rightness of their cause. The utter defeat of Democrat or Republican in an election cycle is a poor substitute for the elimination of Liberals or Conservatives from the political map. Fortunately, there is a kind of karma which delivers false gods and hypocritical politicos to the shame of the public square, where all can see the absurdity of the pursuit of power, money, racial purity or the almighty dollar.
“God bless us – every one!” [Charles Dickens}