When we think about Nazism, we normally think about something from the past, something that happened in Germany from 1933 to 1945. We think about an oppressive government that murdered millions of people, both in concentration camps—Jews, Roma people (“Gypsys”), socialists, union activists, communists and “inferior” people were eliminated—and in a bloody war fought mainly in Europe. A similar regime existed in Italy in the early 1920s: fascism.
Both regimes shared a similar ideology: the belief that they were the “superior race,” meaning there were “inferior” ones—immigrants, Jews, Roma people, etc. And those “inferiors” should be eliminated because they are challenging the “superiors,” the bad (and dirty) ones trying to replace the good guys. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? And for a reason.
This dangerous and bloody ideology is still around us. And it is shocking to learn that it never left us. In fact, the Nazi ideology was, to a certain extent, inspired by the Jim Crow laws and spirit.
Just watch the new PBS documentary, The U.S. and the Holocaust, directed by Ken Burns.
It is a well-documented film taking us to the origin of Nazism in Germany and the sources that inspired Nazism—coming mainly from the United States.
That ideology is back. And running strong. The Jan. 6, 2020, coup attempt is a good example. A real wake-up call that our democracy is in jeopardy. Then, Trump followers (directed by him) tried to topple the government. They failed. But will they next time?
The far right is trying to control all aspects of our daily lives to impose their will (and racism). Yes, Nazis burned books. Now, school districts in the United States, controlled by far right people, are banning books.
And the far right wants to ban women’s and LGBTQ+ rights, as well as voting rights for minorities—just look at what is going on in Texas and Florida.
Nazism is here, among us. It is not something of the past. And it’s coming to take our democracy. We can’t just sit and watch.