When Donald Trump started his run for the presidency by denigrating President Barak Obama, I knew there could be problems. I had spent considerable time and effort researching the rise of Adolf Hitler to chancellor of Germany and knew that Hitler’s use of the race card was instrumental to his grasp of power.
So, was Trump another Hitler? No, I did not see that. What were the differences? Racism, xenophobia, misogyny, mendacity (lying), white supremacy, egotism—he had all of those. But he didn’t have brownshirts, who were vital to Hitler’s rise to power. So vital, their role was replaced by the brutal SS under Heinrich Himmler.
The brownshirts were the goon squad that threatened with violence all who opposed Hitler. They were positioned as the armed wing of the Nazi Party. Known for committing criminal and violent acts through the 1920s into the 1930s, they were under the command of Ernst Rohm, an ardent Nazi and fawn of Hitler. Although there’s no doubt, it was Hitler who actually ran the brownshirts.
When I started this draft in May, I was thinking, if Trump were to muster an equivalent to the brownshirts, he would do it in the fall. If he were threatened with losing the election. Or, if he did lose the election he might chose, as some have alleged he will, not to give up the presidency or the White House.
I started the draft in May, to be finished in due time. I could not have anticipated what happened in Portland, Oregon, this past week. Starting Tuesday night, during Portland’s nightly demonstrations stemming from the brutal murder of George Floyd, unmarked cars and vans with military-dressed and military-equipped men appeared on Portland’s streets.
I’ll call them troops, (Nazi’s called theirs ‘stormtroopers’), the troops attacked demonstrators with non-lethal weapons, teargas, and, protected by shields, ordered them to move. They arrested demonstrators, put them in handcuffs, loaded them in vans and cars, and transported them to a federal building in Portland. They were held without charges, they were read their Miranda rights, and a short time later, they were released.
These troops are carbon copies of Hitler’s brownshirts. Their tactics are straight from a Nazi Gestapo training book. Unmarked cars and agents without identification and under Hitler’s control ranged through German cities, arrested citizens without charges and took them away in the dark hours of the night.
Anyone who thinks what happened in Nazi Germany can’t happen here just needs to read the news. It is happening here. It is happening now.
For those who say I am alarmist because those arrested were breaking the law, I say this: lawbreakers and anarchists do appear at peaceful demonstrations and sometimes wreak havoc. They did in the sixties as well. But local police are the first responders. If they need assistance, they call for it. Federal ad hoc ‘troops’ have no right to invade our cities and remove citizens in the middle of the night.