We all of us here are Americans. Those I like and agree with, those I don't. We're all covered by that promise on the Statue of Liberty: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free.” The people, for that matter, Neil Diamond sings of in his song "America." People like my four grandparents, who made their way here just a little over a century ago.
Or Issur Danielovitch, the son of recently-immigrate Jewish Russians, born in December 1916, who would eventually change his name to Kirk Douglas. In recent weeks, as he has watched the election unfold just ahead of his 100th birthday, he has reflected on the century past, and what he has seen.
Such as the Second World War, "started by a man who promised that he would restore his country it to its former greatness. I was 16 when that man came to power in 1933. For almost a decade before his rise he was laughed at ― not taken seriously. He was seen as a buffoon who couldn’t possibly deceive an educated, civilized population with his nationalistic, hateful rhetoric. The 'experts' dismissed him as a joke. They were wrong."
Douglas wrote about how, recently, his wife Anne, who grew up in Nazi Germany, was "chilled to the bone" when she heard these words from presidential candidate Donald Trump:
“We also have to be honest about the fact that not everyone who seeks to join our country will be able to successfully assimilate. It is our right as a sovereign nation to choose immigrants that we think are the likeliest to thrive and flourish here…[including] new screening tests for all applicants that include an ideological certification to make sure that those we are admitting to our country share our values…”
A shocked Douglas (who served in the Navy in World War II) reflected, "Until now, I believed I had finally seen everything under the sun. But this was the kind of fear-mongering I have never before witnessed from a major U.S. presidential candidate in my lifetime."
The point of this particular disqualifier isn't even the point Trump was trying to make, or even the world view he was promulgating - I'll cover those disqualifiers, bad as they are, elsewhere.
My point here is Douglas' remark about how Adolf Hitler "was laughed at ― not taken seriously. He was seen as a buffoon who couldn’t possibly deceive an educated, civilized population with his nationalistic, hateful rhetoric. The 'experts' dismissed him as a joke. They were wrong." Sound like anyone you know?
We dismiss people who filled with hatred at our extreme peril. They recognize no boundaries, no morality, no ethics. We cannot know what a Donald Trump, given power, actually might do. Because of his arrogance and ignorance, there's probably a low ceiling to the good he could do. But there may be no bottom to the potential bad. - rs