While re-reading William L. Shirer’s The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, one cannot help but see the similarities between Germany in the 1920s and the USA following 2021. A strikingly apt meme that is currently making the rounds of conservative Internet blogs goes like this:
“It didn’t start with gas chambers. It started with one party controlling the media. One party controlling the message. One party deciding what is the truth. One party censoring speech and silencing the opposition. One party dividing citizens into us and them and calling on their supporters to harass them. It started when good people turned a blind eye and let it happen.”
According to Shirer, Hitler’s rise to power began when the German judiciary gave free reign to the brown-shirted, anti-democracy thugs who were attacking Jews and Catholics. Meanwhile, the German Courts were prosecuting and sending to prison those who were speaking out in favor of a democratic Weimar Republic.
Fast forward to today and the massive number of indictments levied against former President Trump and his supporters who believe the 2020 election was rigged. Irrespective of how one feels about Donald Trump, political speech is supposed to be protected for Trump and for all of us by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
While you cannot shout “Fire!” in a crowded theater, everyone can complain when elections do not turn out as they would like.
The anti-Trump prosecutors must know their prosecutions are unlikely to pass the First Amendment test. But, with regard to the election calendar, “timing is everything.” Ergo: their likely objective is to convince the usually inattentive public that there is something criminal about Donald Trump. And to do so when ballots are being cast in person or grabbed from the air and harvested by unauthorized persons or hacked by computers.
But let’s take former President Trump out of the discussion and assume someone other than Donald Trump will be the GOP presidential nominee. That should clear our heads to see who or what is really on trial here. Again, we turn back in time to when Germany’s democratic Weimar Republic was struggling to maintain order in the aftermath of Germany’s loss of World War I.
The German judiciary, fearing the communists would take control and abolish their jobs and also abolish the former monarchy’s system of “law and order,” sided with the fascist political party that was claiming “law and order” as one of its’ major objectives. Unfortunately, that party was Hitler’s National Socialist German Workers’ Party, AKA the Nazis
So favor Donald Trump or despise him, it is our Judicial System that is on trial. If the judges who administer our judicial system adhere to the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights, all Americans will survive the 2024 election cycle with their constitutional rights intact. If Obama-appointed judges trash our fundamental right to free speech, as did the German judicial system in the 1920s, political freedom as we know it will cease to exist. . Recall, “It started when good people turned a blind eye and let it happen.”
©2023. William Hamilton. All rights reserved.