Kirk Douglas – Can You Really Liken Trump To Hitler? Really?
Kirk Douglas draws on his advanced age (nearing 100) and his being a Jew to claim that there are parallels between Hitler and Trump. He is not the first to have made that connection – the social media is rife with such an accusation. What I found interesting is how a number of Jewish news sites, such as The Times of Israel and JPost, have provided summaries of Douglas’ Huffington Post op-ed without analyzing what he said. So let me give it a try.
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Douglas, born in the U.S. to immigrant parents, was 16 when Hitler came to power, old enough to understand the vibes of the time and make sense of the situation in Europe if he was reading the paper and listening to radio news programmes back then. He states that nobody expected educated people to fall under the spell of Hitler’s “nationalistic, hateful rhetoric” and his claim to be able to restore Germany to its former greatness.
Without naming Trump, it is clear he is claiming that Trump is a contemporary Hitler. He explains the basis for his fear:
A few weeks ago we heard words spoken in Arizona that my wife, Anne, who grew up in Germany, said chilled her to the bone. They could also have been spoken in 1933:
“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…”
Douglas says that such a statement runs contrary to “American values that we fought World War II to protect”. This is not exactly true – Douglas cannot compare the experiences of his immigrant parents with the immigrants Trump wants to screen before admitting into the United States. Trump is talking about preventing illegal immigration, on the one hand, and making sure immigrants are respectful of American culture and not coming in with the intention of destroying it.
I thought Americans consider themselves a law-abiding nation. Therefore, I cannot understand why they would take issue with a presidential candidate who wants to make sure only LEGAL immigrants have the right to stay in the States.
Furthermore, what has this got to do with Hitler? Hitler was not talking about preventing immigration into Germany – he was talking about expanding the boundaries of Germany to include any land that had even a minority of Germans living there. I have not heard that Trump has ambitions to take over Canada or Mexico.
For some reason, many seem to equate to racism Trump’s declared intention to ensure that applicants for immigration to the U.S. share the nation’s values. Trump is not talking about race. Hitler was though. Hitler was talking about the supremacy of the Aryan — the “Master Race”. Trump is talking about preserving the values of the American people, a people that, as everyone knows, is made up of multiple races and ethnicities.
Hitler was talking about killing off certain races of people – beginning with the Jews and the gypsies (these are not really races, but Hitler was unconcerned about semantics). Trump is not talking about killing anyone, just making sure that those who are allowed to become new American citizens are truly interested in adapting to the American culture and value system. What is wrong with that?
Douglas seems to think that Trump is a danger to the American way of life; Trump thinks illegal and unvetted immigrants may be. This is a legitimate debate that should not degenerate into bringing up the name of one of the most, if not the most, evil man ever born.
In any case, what is the good of being a sovereign nation if you do not protect your borders and the citizens within it along with their way of life? Why has being a nationalist suddenly become something to be ashamed of? One of the most interesting aspects of life around our globe is the variety of cultures and societies that developed uniquely in each country. Why seek to homogenize the globe? The only ones aiming to do so in our contemporary world are the Islamists who want to establish a global caliphate. If you want to compare anyone to Hitler and the Nazis, then feel free to refer to ISIS.
Please do not dilute the evil of Hitler by comparing anyone you fear to that horrid excuse of a human being. Trump does not even come close. He may be a lot of terrible things, such as a liar, a narcissist, a manipulative SOB, a fear monger, overly impulsive, brash and uncouth, offensive, and he may even be misogynist and racist as some people claim. I know that he is sometimes outright ridiculous, such as when he claims that Mexico will pay for the wall protecting America from illegal infiltration of migrants. He may be totally unfit to be POTUS (I do not know). But he is not a Hitler.
Therefore, when Douglas writes:
I have lived a long, good life. I will not be here to see the consequences if this evil takes root in our country. But your children and mine will be. And their children. And their children’s children.
My response is: Sorry, Mr. Douglas, but who is fear mongering now?