Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Republican Women of Anne Arundel County Maryland Compare Obama to Hitler

I came across a post on ThinkProgress noting that the organization Republican Women of Anne Arundel County (Maryland) had posted a letter from the organization's president comparing President Obama to Hitler. Below is the response that I drafted, but (for now, at least) have decided to simply post here, rather than sending to the Republican Women of Anne Arundel County.

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I’ve just come across a letter on your website comparing President Obama to Hitler. As a reminder, here is what your website says:

Obama and Hitler have a great deal in common in my view. Obama and Hitler use the “blitzkrieg” method to overwhelm their enemies. FAST, CARPET BOMBING intent on destruction. Hitler’s blitzkrieg bombing destroyed many European cities – quickly and effectively. Obama is systematically destroying the American economy and with it AMERICA. First the banking/investment industry, next private enterprise (GM and Chrysler) and now HEALTH CARE. And he is working on grabbing more of the American economy with his environmental extremism!

We too CAN fight back. Contact everyone you know. Start a blitzkrieg of our own. Shut down the Capitol switchboards and the White House switchboards! Say NO to the Obamination of Obama Care!

This comparison is beyond vile and beyond what should be acceptable in a civil, pluralistic society. Coming as it does so shortly after the attack at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum really makes me wonder whether institutions like the Holocaust Memorial Museum are failing in their goal to educate people about hate and its terrible consequences. Clearly it is a lesson that your organization has not grasped; perhaps it is a lesson that much of the right has failed to learn and take to heart (after all, just look at the recent spate of violence from right-wing extremists, whether the murder at the Holocaust Memorial Museum, the murder of Dr. George Tiller, or the murder of a family in Arizona by anti-immigrant activists). I often wonder if people who make comparisons like that found on your website actually want to incite violence.

I understand that some are opposed to President Obama’s plans. In a democratic society like ours, that is not only acceptable, but expected; after all, it is the synthesis of multiple ideas and viewpoints that helps craft compromise and/or lead to informed decisions. But disagreement with a political opponent is far different from comparing that opponent to the worst mass murderer in the history of mankind. To compare political debate with murderous bombing that killed hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians is simply unacceptable; to compare those engaging in that political debate with those responsible for the mass murder of millions is beyond unacceptable. It is disgusting. And wrong.

I could argue with you on the merits of President Obama’s ideas and I could argue with you about whether he has endeavored to “overwhelm” his political opponents (who have yet to offer much in the way of real solutions themselves, relying instead on a strategy of “no”), but that is not the point of either this message or the letter on your website. I’ll simply remind you that President Obama’s policies are designed to protect American jobs and find ways to insure the millions of uninsured while driving down health care costs for the rest of us (and I’ll remind you that the banking crisis began while a Republican was in the White House). Those goals, whether you agree with them or not, are far, far different from goals of conquering the world and murdering entire populations of “undesirable” people. And, if you cannot see the difference, then I suspect that our democracy is in far more danger than any of us realize. There is no justification for your hateful and fear-mongering letter; it does not serve the cause of democracy, but rather feeds the fires of hate and mistrust that is dangerous in any society. We look across the globe and watch as other nations implode in hate and violence. Is that what you want for America?

Your organization owes an apology, not just to President Obama, but more generally to the American public who have been dis-served by your hateful rhetoric.

(Oh, and just for the record: The term “carpet bombing” is often used to refer to what British and American forces did to Germany during World War II; German carpet bombing was largely limited to the city of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War and London during the Battle of Britain. The term “blitzkrieg” refers not to bombing at all, but rather to a rapid assault launched by highly mobile forces, concentrating the operation on a single element of an enemy’s defense and using a breakthrough achieved to then attack the defending forces from the flank. So, not only is your analogy offensive, it is also historically wrong.)


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