They marched through the streets of Charlottesville with burning torches and shouting, “Jews will not replace us,” and, “Blood and soil.” I had never heard the latter, so I did some research.
History, which is even more suspect now to many than climate science, tells us that “blood and soil” was an important philosophy for Nazi Germany. Hitler wanted Germans to identify with their “glorious past,” to embrace an ideology focusing on ethnicity based on bloodline, rural living, and farming in particular.
There was actually a debate in the Nazi Party about this. Some wanted to bolster support from urban centers, but the “blood and soil” faction wanted to focus on the rural population with the goal of convincing them that they were the true backbone of the fatherland. The decline of their communities was blamed on the city folk and, more specifically, the Jews. Jews then were responsible for the decline of German culture and had to be eradicated.
The question must be asked: What do the Jews have to do with a statue of Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville, or the renaming of Lee Park to Emancipation Park? Also: What did the Jews have to do with the Civil War – or no, pardon me, The War of Yankee Aggression? Who exactly are these Jews anyway?
Ironically, our billionaire businessman president from “Jewtown” is not one of them. That is because Trump channels the hatred, grievances and rage of countless anti-Semites. He is a master at this because he understands that the Jews are the problem and, more importantly, that the Jews are not solely Jews. Blacks, Muslims, gays, immigrants and women are Jews. The handicapped are Jews. The fake news media is run by Jews. Hollywood is run by Jews. Liberals are Jews. Comedians are Jews. The fucking Jews! They’re ruining everything. They’re killing us and only Trump can fix it. And yet, somehow Trump loves the Jews. He’s a tremendous supporter of Israel. Just ask Netanyahu.
During the campaign, after refusing to denounce the endorsement of David Duke, Trump emphatically insisted to CNN’s Jake Tapper, “I know nothing about David Duke.” His denial brings to mind that bumbling Nazi, Sergeant Schultz, from the old Hogan’s Heroes sitcom. Schultz’s memorable catchphrase was, “I know NOTH-ING!” But Schultz always knew something, if not everything. He mostly didn’t care what Hogan and the other prisoners in his guard did, so long as his terrifyingly evil boss, Colonel Klink, didn’t find out. Schultz, like Trump, had a lot to hide, could be easily played and was thin-skinned. Also like Trump, his primary objective was to keep his job, even while failing at it miserably. Schultz had the same penchant for lying and denying reality as Trump, though lacking Trump’s power and ugliness, he wasn’t anywhere near as good a Nazi. The biggest difference between them is that Schultz was funny.
But to get back to David Duke: Two days before Trump said, “I just don’t know anything about him,” or white supremacists, he actually disavowed Duke while talking with MSNBC’s John Heilmann. Over a decade earlier, on the Today Show, Trump referred to Duke as “a big racist.” But suddenly, when talking to Jake Tapper, “He knows NOTH-ING!” He doesn’t know about Duke’s felony arrest for inciting a riot, his denial of the holocaust, or his moonlighting as the Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. Ignorance isn’t bliss: it’s a dog whistle for Jew-haters.
In Charlottesville, Duke was asked, “What does today represent to you?” His response: “This represents a turning point for the people of this country. We are determined to take this country back. We are going to fulfill the promises of Donald Trump.”
That phrase, “take this country back” remains a right-wing battle cry at a time when Republicans control every branch of the federal government and governorships in 34 states. What it actually means is “take this country back to the era of white male heterosexual Christian supremacy.”
This is troubling stuff and what’s most troubling of all is that Trump still has an approval rating of nearly 80% among Republicans. Perhaps he actually could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot someone and not lose voters — except, of course, the Jews.
Joe Raiola is Senior Editor of MAD Magazine and Producer of the Annual John Lennon Tribute in NYC. He has performed his solo show, “The Joy of Censorship” in over 40 states.