Co-authored by Julianne Shinto.
The constant and increasing use of Nazi and Holocaust imagery and associations that have been occurring in what is passing for political discourse in the USA has to stop.
It does nothing to improve the dialogue between the parties and certainly does everything to diminish the impact and importance of this horrible experiment in mass human destruction. There are lots of words in the English language to describe someone with whom you have a disagreement about politics with. But these are ones that describe an indescribable horror, words that hurt many people today when they hear them still.
The Holocaust (Shoah or השואה) as it is known in Hebrew was a terrible, terrible part of modern human history. Before you start using casual references, or calling someone a Nazi or comparing our current situation to the Holocaust - perhaps you should think again. Perhaps even you should schedule a visit to the U.S. National Holocaust Memorial Museum or if you are lucky enough to be able to travel to Israel to Yad V'shem and see for yourself what horrors were done by the Germans not just to people of the Jewish Faith, but to Catholics, Gays, anyone of color or anyone who might have just been different.
In campaign years, the rhetoric is often hot, unflattering and downright mean. That is to be expected, and is allowable in the United States due to our long recognition of freedom of speech as recognized by both the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights and Amendments. (First Amendment).
But how far does this go? Are you free when you are associating someone running for office; ie, serving their country; with history's largest organized mass murder? How does this possibly help move your message forward? Does freedom get imbued by how angry you make people? Or does this cause more resentment, more political dislocation and thusly also cause people to lose interest in the political system? Perhaps that is the idea; at least for some who actively use this line of thinking and phraseology; the more they incense others, the more the others stop being part of the debate?
The United States right now is both going through another Presidential Campaign cycle and simultaneously seeing an explosion in word association and imagery with the Holocaust and the Nazis. The internet and social media just make this more immediate and in your face. We have, since world war II seen this type of language used. But the instant and global nature of social media driven communications now brings it home in ways it never did before. Where before it was isolated incidents in small towns or big cities; now that same message can reach thousands or even millions instantly. Gov 2.0 and other transparency initiatives only help to bring to light such nasty comments as well, though inadvertently.
But a basic question needs to be asked: How does this possibly help any candidate for office of any party when their supporters reach to such lows? Is this not evidence of a further decline in political discourse and a continued split amongst our people? How does horrific imagery and nasty language improve the debt situation or increase jobs for those out of work or fix our foreign policy issues? How?