The US Right and the Holocaust

This week US Representative from Louisana’s 3rd District Clay Higgins posted a video, “Clay Higgins has a message for America,” of himself touring the site of the Auschwitz and Birkenau prison and extermination camps. In the video the Congressman goes back and forth between recounting grisly details of what was done to the victims of the camps and political messaging about the safety of the United States. The video has been widely condemned, particularly by the administration of the site itself, as it depicts the Congressman talking, politicizing, and recording himself in a silent place of reflection. Worse, it uses the same logic that justified Nazi antisemitism to justify the detention and killing of Muslims.

A still from the introduction to the video, Rep. Higgins in the foreground

Rep. Higgins does not mention Judaism, race, nationality, religion, politics, sexuality, or any of the other reasons the Nazis killed and imprisoned those whose fate he laments. Instead, Higgins discusses his resolve and “unwavering commitment to make damn sure that the United States of America is protected from the evils of the world.” The video then fades to an image of a man in a military ranger hat standing between the US and Israeli flags.

Higgins’s message is clear — the people of the US are in danger of the kind of violence the Nazis perpetrated. This requires the “unwavering commitment” to nationalist militancy he has so far advocated. Higgins has previously said that any Muslim suspected of involvement with anti-US activity should be denied entry to the US and summarily killed.

That Higgins would go to the most infamous site of the Holocaust to promote the idea that there is a vast conspiracy of outsiders who are intent on entering the US to incite violence and who must therefore be excluded, hunted, and exterminated should not surprise us. But is should disturb us.

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