I attended last Saturday's voter march in D.C., and I visited the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum before I left town. The history I read about there was scary, but what terrified me even more were the similarities between 1930s Germany and now. Just as I did after the inaugural protest in January, I came home inspired to write.
My hometown paper, the Kansas City Star, published a lengthy article by me in January. But since then I've cancelled my subscription because of its Bush bias (and told them what I think of it), and my letters don't get printed any more. Since I can't count on the "liberal" media to print what I write, I thought maybe you might be interested in putting my words online.
Overland Park, KS
What's Cooking in Bush's Kitchen?
Random citizen searches. Unwarranted arrests. Media manipulation. Sham elections. George W. Bush's recipe for success in 21st century America combines many of the same ingredients Adolf Hitler used to transform democratic Germany into a dictatorship. We may have ordered the common man's justice special in November, but we're all being served elite special interest pie.
Bogus elections were a major ingredient of the Third Reich's success. They gave the world the impression of business as usual while Hitler concentrated on perfecting the final solution.
People watch the election pot closer these days, but computers make it easy to shave eligible voters from the rolls. If purging your opponents' supporters doesn't give you a safe margin of victory, you can always toss in a pinch of Supreme Court interference – especially when you're tight with the head chef.
The Nazis, who could whip up fabricated documents in a jiffy, liked to spice things up with random citizen searches. Once they caught people on the street without their "official" papers, arrests were easily justified. Throw in a state of emergency, and you had instant public panic.
Modern Americans turn up their noses at carrying fake papers and wearing degrading symbols. But our government has developed its own taste for capricious arrests. By ruling 5-4 against constitutional protection from unreasonable search, the Supreme Court turned a blind eye to racial profiling and created a cross-country chill by putting Fourth Amendment protections permanently on ice.
Once you perfect a favorite dish, it's hard to resist sharing it with friends. After Hitler seized complete control in Germany, the businessmen and industrialists who could stomach ethnic cleansing made a killing by exploiting slave labor to supply Germany's war machine. Today the captains of industry who fueled Bush's White House bid are rewarded with permission to extract their favorite oils and minerals from America's environmental treasures.
Sustaining democracy is no easy task; remove one or two ingredients and you ruin the entire batch. Our media is already reduced to filler; freedom of speech has lost much of its spice. When political opponents are afraid to speak up and the press refuses to cover them when they do, you've got a recipe for disaster.
Germany in the 1930s was so hungry for leadership that her citizens abandoned common sense for a quick fix. A panel in the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum laments the results: "Conservative politicians underestimated him; left-wing politicians were equally naïve. Neither took Hitler seriously until it was too late." For everyone's sake, let's hope America's taste for warmed-over fascism fades fast.