Kesha Rogers is a 37-year-old Black political activist from Texas who is running for the U.S Senate representing the state's 22nd congressional district. This is a district that has, historically, been predominately Republican. Rogers, a two-time candidate, has sent shockwaves through the Lone Star State political world as she has emerged as the frontrunner for the Democratic primary. She campaigned on the theme of restoring Texas politics to the days of the John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson era. Ok. This is not all that unusual or surprising of a position for a Democratic candidate to take? Right? Well there is more to the story.
Rogers is a follower of Lyndon LaRouche. La Rouche, it can be safely argued, has been described as a fringe, political cult leader who routinely made several unsuccessful attempts for the presidency. Now in his early nineties (91), he no longer has the health nor energy needed to launch perennial presidential campaign runs, rather he has a number of surrogates who he may support with ample financial backing to do so. La Rouche, himself, has a very checkered and controversial past. He has routinely spouted right wing conspiracy theories and anti-gay, anti-labor and other anti-progressive rhetoric.
Her surprise and unexpected primary victory has embarrassed the Texas Democratic establishment and has put the party on high-octane damage control mode. Despite her recent victory, political pundits in the state predict that her third effort at winning political office statewide will be unsuccessful. What is more surprising, perhaps shocking, are her viewpoints and inflammatory rhetoric on a number of topics, most notably her opinion about President Obama. Rogers has compared the president to Adolph Hitler and has called for his impeachment. While both acts are largely part of the lunatic fringe, the Hitler comment is the one that is the most troubling.
To be sure, Ms. Rogers is not the first person to refer to the current president as Hitler or a Nazi. Tom Sullivan, Rush Limbaugh, Hank Williams Jr. and others have done so as well. Another Texas congressmen, Ted Cruz, made the appalling comment that funding President Obama's Affordable Care Act is similar "to appeasing Nazi Germany." Wow! What a sick, demented mindset we have, Mr. Cruz! Each of these individuals was staunchly admonished in certain quarters and rightly so. What is more troubling (at least to me) is that for a Black woman to use such inflammatory (and quite frankly) outlandish rhetoric to compare another Black person (in particular the president of the United States) to one of the most evil, vile individuals and regimes to ever walk this earth is despicable! Hopefully voters will come to their senses and reject such a candidate.
The fact is that over the past several years, it has become more commonplace for politicians, some entertainers, athletes and normal everyday people in both the public and private sphere to employ brash references to Hitler and Nazis whenever they want to attack or discredit an opponent or someone they dislike. From billboards portraying the president with a Hitler mustache, to posters of the president with slogans stating, "Obama takes his orders from the Rothchilds" to "President De Fuhrer." This sort of language is disgraceful. Such behavior and tactics are malicious and unacceptable. It is downright appalling. There is no place for such callous commentary in a civilized society.
Such odious rhetoric has crossed political lines. To be sure there have been detractors of former president George Bush Jr. who have hurled the Hitler/Nazi label toward him as well. This was uncalled for and unacceptable as well. Such comments are an insult to those whose ancestors suffered and perished under such a most evil, amoral regime -- the Holocaust. Columnist Joe Gandelman of the website The Moderate Voice said it best when he stated no president "has ever killed women and children upon arrival and worked the men to death or gassed them. Has any American President murdered three million Jews in Poland alone?" Gandelman uses other examples.
Many groups alarmed by this ugly trend have deiced to take action. The National Jewish Committee (NJDC) has created an online petition where outraged citizens across political lines can add their names in unison with others who are disgusted by this divisive trend in our American political discourse. Such an effort is right on the money. Interestingly, President Obama called for "a higher level of discourse" in our political dialogue during his most recent State of the Union address.
The fact is that political candidates -- or anyone for that matter -- should understand that employing offensive holocaust rhetoric and anti-Semitic, racist or other insulting language in their writings and speeches is perverse and irreprehensible. Trivializing Hitler and the Nazi Party is a slap in the face to all those who suffered under such a regime. It is the equivalent of those who invoke obscene slavery references to denounce their opponents. This dangerously over the top rhetoric must cease. Period.