By Paul A. Anthony, Editor in Chief
Disturbing or asinine? You decide.
During spring break, at the National Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. a man leaves a video room that detailed the Nazis’ rise to power in Germany and mutters, “Sounds like George Bush.”
Last week, an ACU professor in class says free speech doesn’t exist in America, adding, “If I were to say what I really thought about President Bush, I would be arrested.” A statement either shockingly disturbing or shockingly ignorant when one considers a threat of assassination is the only criminal speech one can make against the president.
At some point, it became chic among the far left to hate George W. Bush, going so far as to compare him to Adolf Hitler.
Consider the anti-war protests on the anniversary of the war in Iraq. Protesters carried signs and wore T-shirts that read:
* “George WWIII Bush is the Anti-Christ: Support Love Now”
* “Bush” with a swastika for the “S”
* “They Hate Us for Our Freedom” with pictures of Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney
* “Stop War Junkies” with a swastika made of miniature American flags on Bush’s forehead
One sign featured the top players in the Bush administration, each one with an equal sign comparing him or her to a corresponding figure from Nazi Germany. Bush equals Hitler; Cheney equals Heinrich Himmler, etc. It also featured an American flag with a swastika instead of the field of stars.
Other signs at the rally included: “Death to America,” “I [Love] NY Even more without the World Trade Center” and “Support Resistance in Iraq.”
Such statements and comparisons do not coincide with rational thought. Yet members of the artistic and academic elite have been just as quick to apply the Nazi label to the president of the United States. For example, playwright Harold Pinter told the London Guardian, “Nazi Germany wanted total domination of Europe and they nearly did it. The U.S. wants total domination of the world and is about to consolidate that.”
New York Times columnist and economist Paul Krugman wrote such a blistering screed of anti-Bush hatred, The Great Unraveling, that his British publisher thought an apt cover would depict Cheney with a Hitler mustache painted in oil, with “Got Oil” scrawled on his forehead. Bush is featured as Frankenstein-like with “Enron” stitched on his forehead.
Respect for the office of the presidency has disappeared through a number of unfortunate occurrences, beginning with the far-right witchhunt against President Clinton that led to nothing because conservatives’ insistence on impeachment killed the possibility of a near-unanimous censure.
Far-right hatred of Clinton and far-left hatred of Bush have played out in different ways-the right used its control of Congress to go after Clinton, rightly or not. The left, frustrated by its inability to capture any branch of government, has become angrier and more visceral, apparently deciding people will listen if their ideology is presented more shrilly than the right’s.
But as Howard Dean proved, shrillness without substance enthralls its listeners only for so long. Eventually, the rational voters inch away from the rhetoric and analyze the issues, a bad sign for those with nothing but venomous hatred to spew.