Monday, August 26, 2019
Making antisemitism big again
So Trump is Hitler once more. And Messiah. I thought I'd start with the above graphic to remind us of a time when 'Chosen One' lingo was all the rage. I know, I know. Obama never said it about himself. He didn't have to. He had the press and pop culture venues to say it for him. In another example of the 'good cop/bad cop' the media culture have played with the Democrats for several decades now, Obama (who did little to thwart the Messiah worship) could sit back and let the pundits, the press, and the performers declare him the man Jesus had hoped to be.
In fairness, Mark Shea made much mockery of it back in the day, as did I. I bring up Mark, because he has jumped on the Trump as Hitler and Nazi racists on the march! hysteria that erupted since Trump's statements in the wake of the whole Israel travel ban kerfuffle. Apparently it's because the word disloyal is an old code word used against Jews from time immemorial.
For the record, I don't care for this new 'dog whistle words and phrases' fad that is all the rage. The idea that if you use a word or phrase once used by evil people to promote evil, you must be Hitler, seems to be trouble in the making. Every day a new group of words and phrases are dumped on the pile that, if used by people of a particular ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, national origin or religion, can only mean 'Hitler!'. From the words 'Owner', 'Radical', 'Thug', 'Rebel', and 'Disloyalty', to miners and chimney sweeps with ash on their faces, to suggesting women coworkers smile, to green frogs, there seems to be no end to the things that will mark you with the Irredeemable Deplorable label.
Not only is this a good way of shutting down free speech without officially doing so, its application is also radically inconsistent. And that brings us to the real Devil in the details. So Mark posted this giant 'Trump as Antichrist Hitler, Nazis are everywhere!' post again, highlighting Trump's Chosen One comments and his 'Disloyalty' statement. Hitler no doubt. Heck, Dan Rather say so, it must be true!
And yet, where was Mark's blog post blasting Ilhan Omar's nakedly antisemitic rhetoric that was never officially condemned by the Democrats (or Rather's for that matter)? It wasn't like it was just Fox News that fussed. Jewish groups and activists, including the vaunted Anti-Defamation League, called out her statements as racist. And yet from so much of the press, the punditry, and Mark, we had - silence, or limp-wristed debates about her statements at best. The only blog post I found on Mark's site about Omar, in fact, praised her stance on the Death Penalty.
You see, that's one of the great evils of our age; a truly Satanic contribution to the ailments of modernity. Granted, it isn't anything new. Nor is it something uniquely to the left of the political center. We all have that tendency to yell loudest when the bad call goes against our team. Sometimes we are happy to ignore the bad calls when they help our team. Unfortunately, that tribalist partisanship can seep like sewage into the heart and soul of a nation, especially one as divided as ours. It becomes even worse when it is not some one-off pundit, but the whole of the national press, popular culture, and political establishment supporting this trend.
Suddenly, it's not just yellow flags we're being inconsistent with, but human life, evil, suffering, death. We hear kids are being teargassed along the border, but suddenly drop it if we can no longer exploit it. News breaks that a little black girl has been killed by a white man in a pickup truck, and we spend days contemplating Trump's nation of racism. When we find out the girl was actually killed by two black men in a drug deal gone sour, however, we drop her like a hot potato as if she never existed. Or we become outraged as words or phrases are used that we insist are really code words for Nazi white supremacy - when it's the other team using them. When it's ours, or the wrong ethnicity? Well, a slap on the wrist, perhaps a debate, it's all too complex, isn't bigotry everywhere, America is a racist nation, and so on, and so on, and scooby dooby doo.
That's the great evil here. Flagrant partisan politics is always a problem, and those dropping a load over Trump's Chosen One comments need to wonder where their outrage was when Obama lapped up the God-worship he received. That's just politics.
But when we begin not caring about human suffering, evil, and the bedrock of future atrocities simply because it isn't convenient, then we are laying the ground work for a major societal train wreck heading our way. If we insist something like antisemitism is the crisis of our age, and yet do almost nothing about it when it comes from the side we promote or align with, then there's fair reason to think we don't really care about antisemitism at all. And that is far worse, and far more evil, than any rambling incoherence from the Tweets of Donald Trump, however antisemitic they happen to be.
FWIW, we won't even discuss pouring Jesus on it all in the hopes that we learn Jesus, too, would first ask what skin color is involved or which political party benefits before assigning sheep or goat status. That's for another post on recognizing heresy when you see it.