Echoing the 3rd Reich and the USSR

Until a few months ago, I would have described myself as a relatively optimistic individual, happy with her lot in life. Now each day as I open my newsfeed, I find myself slipping deeper into a dark state, wondering how much more of this anxiety I can handle. I find it cathartic to put my ruminations out into the world — even if it’s just to an audience of 3.

While reading todays headline about cutting the budgets of every government agency (with the exception of the Department of Defense) in order to increase our military spending by $54 billion (almost the entire GDP of Panama) — I couldn’t help but think back to Hitler’s Germany. Hitler lifted Germany out of it’s depression by doubling down on defense spending — creating jobs in the military and at the factories that supplied the military. And we all know how that turned out.

I’m obviously not the first person to connect Trump to Hitler. Historians were doing it a year ago when he unveiled his “America First” foreign policy plan. And Vanity Fair talked about Trump’s proclivity for Hitler’s written word almost 30 years ago. In 1990 it reported that Ivana Trump once told her lawyer Michael Kennedy that Donald kept a book of Hitler’s speeches near his bed.

As if that wasn’t bad enough today, while driving I heard Nina Khrushcheva, a professor of international affairs at the New School in New York and the great-granddaughter of the former Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev on NPR. According to Khrushcheva, Trump’s use of “enemy of the people” to describe our media is a tool that was used by Trotsky, Lenin, and Stalin before sending people off to the Gulag. Apparently the term became so loaded in the Soviet Union that when Nikita Khrushchev came to power, he demanded people stop using it.

I’m just wondering how many times do these connections need to be made, and by whom, before we see more limits put on Trump’s ability to mimic past authoritarian leaders.