Growing up, I was taught the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights, of which the current president knows neither. Honesty and sincerity were more than just political slogans and morality and integrity were metaphors you earned for the life you lived and not labels bestowed on oneself or purchased through the internet.
But what keeps me up at night is this presidents “open” affinity for dictators! President Trump’s congratulatory praise as “great” in abolishing term limits, for China’s Xi Jinping. Respecting Erdogan of Turkey for not only passing a referendum that gives him close to absolute power but also for his ability to deny any dissenting opinions through the press or free speech.
His self-admitted love affair with “little rocket-man” Kim Jong Un of North Korea, we won’t even go there! His affection for Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines by praising his unlawful killings as an “unbelievable job on the drug problem.” Then, of course, Vladimir Putin, Russia’s current president and leader of the world’s largest organized crime syndicate.
As appalling as his actions above my seem, what really gives me insomnia is when he quotes Benito Mussolini! A ruthless ally of Hitler and co-conspirator of some of history’s greatest human atrocities, this president showed no qualms in reciting him.
Mussolini, leader of Italy and ally of Germany and Japan during the last World War, who actually said “It is blood which moves the wheels of history,” and then proceeded to prove it.
This is the man Trump chose to quote and retweet, “It is better to live one day as a lion than 100 years as a sheep.” The fact that Trump chooses to empathize with ruthless dictators and quote avowed fascist makes me wonder where we would be today if Trump had been president in 1939, prior to us entering World War II?
When Hitler wrote “Mein Kampf”, his bible of future ideas on politics and race, he was in a prison cell in 1923-24. It was a book filled with Aryan nation superiority and future domination of the universe, stating, “All the human culture, all the results of art, science, and technology that we see before us today, are almost exclusively the creative product of the Aryan,” and then proceeds to say that subjugated peoples actually benefit by being conquered because they come in contact with and learn from the superior Aryans. At no time did anyone ever suspect a person of this diminutive intellect would or even could be a leader of a nation.
At least not until a person by the name of Joseph Goebbels was introduce into the equation. Hitler’s future minister of propaganda, the king of “alternative facts,” the architect of 1,000-year rein and vendor of the Final Solution. A liar even Trump can look up to and still feel small.
Just some of his work; “If you tell a lie enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.” “Propaganda is not an end in itself, but a means to an end. If the means achieves the end then the means is good." “The bigger the lie, the more it will be believed.” “The truth is the greatest enemy of the state.” “It is the absolute right of the State to supervise the formation of public opinion.” “Not every item of news should be published. Rather must those who control news policies endeavor to make every item of news serve a certain purpose.”
And still more, “the rank and file are usually much more primitive than we imagine. Propaganda must therefore always be essentially simple and repetitious.” “A lie told once remains a lie but a lie told a thousand times becomes the truth.” And, finally, “Think of the press as a great keyboard on which the government can play.” Only replace “the press” with “Fox News”.
It goes on and on, just as the war did, but in the end, even Goebbels got it right when he said, “There will come a day, when all the lies will collapse under their own weight, and the truth will again triumph.”
The day my insomnia will finally be cured.
Robert Hoff, Taylorsville, is an avid reader and longtime subscriber of The Salt Lake Tribune who is passionate about civil rights and the strength behind good science.