I think that the recent trend of seriously comparing Donald Trump to Adolf Hitler needs to end. No, not to spare Trump’s feelings.
While they are both wholly human, they are far from being the same kind of person. Donald Trump is a sad opportunist-racist with a pathetically small mind and no regard for the impact of his self-serving, pandering, empty monologues – a generally awful person. But he is not a profoundly insecure psychopath, racist to the core and capable of genocide, and he is not on track to becoming that were he to get into power. Adolf Hitler was evil. His monologues were neither empty nor superficial, and his goal was genuine.
If you’re looking for a Hitler comparison, they are out there, and far more worthy of the title than Trump. There’s a 92 year old Führer for southern Africa still presiding over the country which he has gotten away with traumatising. Trump is not even close to being close to being a Mugabe; I don’t think he is realistically capable of being even a Putin. These people, this Hitler crowd, are (lamentably) very intelligent, strong, fiercely determined, zealous people – Trump (fortunately) is stupid, weak, fickle and empty.
The reason I feel the Hitler comparisons ought to stop is, as I mentioned, not for Trump’s sake: he should continue to be insulted, challenged, and, more importantly, the genuine danger of his speech raised and countered. The reason I feel the Hitler comparisons should stop is because you risk diluting and diminishing what happened in the 1940s. The evil done in other countries, and in the US at other times, should not be belittled, deliberately or inadvertently, by making easy but spurious comparisons. You can get a photo of a Trump rally and put it next to a photo of a Hitler rally and talk about not letting history repeat itself, but history has already repeated itself, over and over and over and over again. The history that you are referring to was itself a repeat. And none of these events were brought about by attention-seeking, money-grabbing bullies: they were caused by people Trump would be too terrified to share a room with. The wider context of the make-up and stability of the countries and times they occurred in, too, was and is quite different. Trump in the Western world of the 21st century, even in power, cannot really achieve the things he is saying, nor is he genuinely driven toward making them happen. He will let the majority of his voters down if he becomes the US president.
Again, this isn’t borne out of some sympathy for or defense of Donald Trump, or out of failing to recognise that the things he says are dangerous and he could definitely cause a measure of suffering. I just think it is bad for and disrespectful to history to put him and the prospect of his presidency alongside the author of the Holocaust, not to mention the disrespect to the people who lived and died (and who live and die) under leaders of Hitler’s ilk, in societies that actually cannot stop these things from happening once these kind of people are in power.
In asking others to not belittle history with the comparison, I hope I am not belittling or dismissing the insult and damage done by Trump’s vitriol, nor the fact that he spurs on others more genuinely racist than himself. But he is merely a run of the mill asshole with a platform and there needs to be far more respect shown for the suffering of those who were not lucky enough to be faced with a Donald Trump.