For me, the only bright spot of the 2016 election season was logging on to see the new and hilarious ways Twitter came up with to insult and nickname Trump. From the alliterative “Mango Mussolini,” to the punny “Orange Julius,” to the giggle-fit-inducing “incompressible jizztrumpet,” it’s safe to say no public political figure has ever been so much fun or so easy to roast. Such an insufferably arrogant, vulgar, racist fascist deserves every disrespectful moniker given to him. But there’s one nickname, or at least comparison, that I don’t believe is accurate: Hitler.
To begin with, Hitler’s rise to political dominance was the result of decades of ambition and planning. He wrote about his ambitions. He studied politics. He studied military strategy. He studied war. He studied Germany. Conversely, Trump, having no prior political experience, was elected only because white people hate everybody. He clearly has no understanding of the way American government works. He lucked into the most powerful position in the land.
But the greater problem with likening Trump to Hitler, the really sinister and stomach churning problem with it, is that it continues to position Adolf Hitler as the most evil man in history. Certainly Hitler was a maniac, but he was neither the first nor the most damaging in terms of sheer numbers of people killed. Hitler remains, though, the man responsible for the mass genocide of millions of white people. And that is why we continue to evoke his memory to strike fear.
Trump is no more a threat to Black and brown people than any previous Presidents of the United States — yes, including Barack Obama — was. The regime he now commands is founded on genocide, colonialism, racism and elitism. He, like all of those before him, will continue to consume us. The difference is that he doesn’t give a fuck about poor white people, about gay, lesbian or trans white people, about disabled white people. Now the alarms are ringing for people who at best passively objected to the terror the government has always wreaked on melanated people. Real and imminent threats to the white masses are always the last straw.
We don’t have to travel across seas to Europe to find a man evil enough to juxtapose Trump with though. Hitler studied Columbus’ brutal extermination of the Natives when he was formulating plans for the Holocaust. America has spent more than five centuries perfecting the art of terror. The founding fathers taught him more than Hitler ever could.
Native populations were cleared like trees in a forest, hacked in half by single swipes of the swords of white men whose greed knew no limits. And after they raped, pillaged and even enslaved Native populations, they built an empire of capturing, packing and shipping Africans. The most conservative estimates put deaths of Africans in the middle passage at more than the 6 million in the Holocaust. Andrew Jackson marched Natives down the Trail of Tears, as thousands succumbed to disease and starvation, right here on U.S. soil. Franklin Roosevelt interred thousands of Japanese Americans in interment camps after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. No, Trump needn’t ever be compared to Hitler.
White people have been groomed to believe that the suffering of Black and brown people is a way of life, while the suffering of white people is the great tragedy of human history. Nah. Hitler is y’all boogie man, not ours. When the world saw millions of white people were at risk (never mind the fact that Hitler killed Black Germans too), they all took up arms to protect them. The world has been watching and profiting from the dehumanization and subjugation of people who look like me for hundreds of years.
So if we wanna liken Trump to an evil world leader, we can call him Tangerine Roosevelt for his anti-immigrant fear mongering. We can call him Jack-o-Latern Jackson for his support of the DAPL. We can christen him Persimmon Washington, Coolidge, Wilson, Hoover, Nixon, Reagan, Clinton or Bush for his commitment to neglecting and demonizing Black people, and emboldening a police force that executes us on sidewalks.
White America wants to distance itself from the evil Hitler looked west to learn. It’s much easier to pretend that Trump is some regressive dictator set to plunge us back decades into a world of chaos than it is to admit that a Trump presidency was secured by white America’s sustained refusal to dismantle the system that has always served up Black and brown bodies. Trump is no Hitler.
He’s the Frankenstein white America created in the lab of privilege and oppression. Trump exemplifies American values. Not the fake “bring me your huddled masses yearning to breathe free” America of propaganda, but the real America that secures its position with unwavering hate, disregard for humanity and unadulterated evil.
OWN YOUR SHIT!