Sunday, February 14, 2010

Around Town: Post office politicians

What do Richard Nixon, George W. Bush and Barack Obama have in common?

Polemicists have compared each of these presidents to the most-evil, genocidal, mass murderer in human history, Adolf Hitler.

This activity returned, most recently in 2004, with two video spots, submitted to MoveOn.Org’s website as part of its “Bush in 30 seconds” online campaign. The ads compared President Bush to Hitler. After much criticism, the ads were pulled from the website.

After President Barack Obama took office, the idiocy continued. Perhaps on the theory that two wrongs do make a right, posters, T-shirts and mugs are available, depicting President Bush or President Obama — take your pick, as Adolf Hitler.

The idiocy has finally arrived in La CaƱada Flintridge. Under the auspices of the First Amendment, some activists have shown up from time to time — at the post office, at Trader Joe’s, and elsewhere — with an offensive poster of one of our presidents.

Which president, you ask? Does it matter?

This time, the poster depicted President Obama, but as noted, it has been done before.

One journalist dismisses the “Hitler twisters” as Holocaust deniers:

“I used to wonder about Holocaust deniers. What I wondered was, why? It’s not as if there are any reasonable grounds for Holocaust denial So what, now, about the 2009 version of Holocaust denial? The new deniers don’t seem to deny either that the mayhem caused by Adolf Hitler in his short time in power happened, or that it happened as a result of Hitler’s will. No, they’ve simply invented a new Hitler — apparently snipped hastily out of a sheet of construction paper — and pasted their Hitleroid over the real Hitler’s picture.”

According to one pundit, it is “an equal-opportunity slander” available to the left and to the right, because all politicians, whoever they are, are susceptible. For example, one of the earliest Hitler comparisons of President Bush was by Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, who in 2004, said:

“The imperialist, genocidal, fascist attitude of the U.S. president has no limits. I think Hitler would be like a suckling baby next to George W. Bush.”

Two years later, in 2006, Chavez compared President Bush to the devil. And then, Donald Rumsfeld returned the favor and compared Chavez to Hitler.

There’s a deeper issue here, in the post- Mel Gibson age.

“Dude,” says Mel, “I’ve done my mea culpas. Get over it.”

But no, Mel Gibson, I am not over it. I have, as you aptly put it, “a dog in the fight.”

I grew up in a house where Hitler’s name was never mentioned. There were no Hitler comparisons. Oh, we knew who Hitler was. We were not Holocaust deniers by any means.

We knew Hitler.

We knew Hitler because he murdered my cousins.

We thought he murdered them in Auschwitz, but we were wrong. I have since learned, from the research of a devoted Catholic priest named Patrick Desbois, that when Hitler’s men arrived at the tiny town of Zvenigorodka, they ordered the men to dig a large pit. One bullet. One Jew. When they ran out of bullets, they tossed the children in and buried them alive.

That’s what Hitler did. Our presidents don’t do that.

America is a great nation. None of our presidents deserve the comparison.

But the First Amendment protects all sorts.

Published Feb 11, 2010 - 04:11:29 PS
Even offensive idiocy is protected
By Anita Susan Brenner

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