Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. Many believed that the defeat of the Nazis in World War ll would consign them to the dustbin of history. However, Trump’s tepid condemnation of the “Unite the Right” Nazi chanting groups this week was taken as a direct endorsement by white nationalist and white supremacist supporters. They see Trump’s equivocation on who was responsible for the violence in Charlottesville as support for their racist and hateful agenda.
Trump is intentionally insulting the sacrifices that millions of American veterans made to defeat the Nazis in WWll. Over a quarter million Iowa men and women left their homes and families to fight in WWll in order to defeat Nazi Germany. Hitler’s Nazi regime exterminated millions of Jews and was one of the greatest evils in history. Over 8,000 Iowans gave the ultimate sacrifice in WWll to end that Nazi scourge in Europe. Thousands more Iowans supported the war effort here at home by working at munition plants and war supply factories.
Trump is betraying Iowa veterans’ sacrifice and their legacy by giving encouragement to today’s racist neo-Nazi allies. Iowans fought and died to eliminate Nazi hate in the world. Any encouragement or acceptance of Nazi activity today is unacceptable and an affront to all American veterans.
Let there be no mistake, these groups in Charlottesville were using Nazi slogans. Anyone marching with this hate group were supporting vicious Nazi propaganda. These groups were publicly marching in Charlottesville chanting “Sieg Heil”, “blood and soil” and “Jews will not replace us.”
“Sieg Heil” translates to hail victory, a direct call to honor Hitler. It is illegal in Germany to utter the phrase. “Blood and soil” was championed by the Nazis’ minister of agriculture between 1933 and 1942. It was used to glorify the role of white German farmers as the only pure Aryan race. The “Jews will not replace us” is a direct attack on Jews. White nationalist groups have a long record of a special hate for Jews.
Trump claims that there were good people among the Nazi chanting groups. He needs to explain why good people would associate with thugs carrying Swastika signs, Nazi flags and chanting “Sieg Heil.” Do good Americans honor and praise Adolf Hitler? Do good Americans attack Jews? Do good Americans associate with evil?
It didn’t take long for neo-Nazi groups to acknowledge Trump’s support for their cause. The neo-Nazi blog, The Daily Stormer, posted an endorsement for Trump’s statements following the violence in Charlottesville. They thanked Trump for defending them. “Trump Gives SUPPORT to Charlottesville Demonstrators and CONDEMNS Antifa Terrorists!” “It’s going to be really, really hard to have any bad feelings towards Trump for a long, long time after this … (Trump) uses our talking points…this man is doing absolutely everything in his power to back us up and we need to have his back.”
Iowa’s remaining WWll veterans and their families must be concerned that President Trump, the Commander-in-Chief, is getting thank you posts from neo-Nazi groups. Trump has been condemned by the business community, religious leaders, other political leaders. Perhaps the most notable criticism came from the American military.
It’s highly unusual for the United States top military leaders to speak out on domestic politics. Five of the US Joint Chiefs have come out in condemnation of the white supremacist attacks in Virginia. In various tweets they all condemned the racist attacks.
Iowa Republicans have condemned the racist attacks but have avoided criticizing Trump. Senators Joni Ernst and Chuck Grassley both referred to the violence as terrorism. Ernst said she was “frustrated” it took Trump long to speak out. Is it acceptable that they both refused to speak out more forcefully against Trump and the rise of Nazi activists? Senator Ernst is a veteran. Doesn’t she have a special duty to defend veterans who made the incredible sacrifices to rid the world of the Nazi plague?
by Rick Smith