In the lexicon of the modern internet, there exists a bitingly sarcastic yet eerily accurate rule known as Godwin’s law. Promoted by American attorney Mike Godwin, the law states:
‘As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Hitler increases.’
A corollary to this law is that comparing a person to Adolf Hitler in any discussion means that the person making the comparison automatically loses. It’s a rule that makes perfect sense, as the hyperbole-prone internet generation, high on parental encouragement of our own personal greatness from our distant childhood, has a tendency to exaggerate facts and blow things out of proportion in the interest of being right in discussions against complete strangers.
There was a time, up until very recently, that comparing a democratically elected leader in the United States to Hitler bordered on utter insanity. Today, we are far from facing a fascist regime, but the parallels between the modern U.S. and pre-war Nazi Germany have gotten much too real for a lot of people. Donald Trump, like Hitler, is a textbook demagogue. Both men scapegoated disadvantaged minorities in the countries they sought to win control of; for Hitler it was Jews, homosexuals, and the mentally disabled. Trump’s targets of choice were Blacks, Latinos, and Muslims. And both men oversaw a disturbing rise in the actions of white supremacists in their time and country.
And now, as in pre-war Germany, worrying behavior by white supremacists has spiked dramatically. Between a KKK march in North Carolina, an explosion in incidents of harassment towards minorities, and a similarly frightening burst of assaults against transgender folks and people of the Jewish faith, parallels between the rise of the Third Reich and modern America are starting to worry a lot of people. And they should.
The latest in the string of behavior by white supremacists sounds like something straight from kristallnacht in 1938. The rental home of the Judes, an interracial couple in the East Price neighborhood of Cincinnati was broken into and ransacked. Worse still, the vandals did everything in their power to completely destroy the rental property. They poured cement down the drains. They smashed walls. They opened pipes on the top floor, destroying woodwork and causing ceilings to cave in. And they spray-painted swastikas and the words “white power” on every surface they could access. According to Pat Jude:
‘They hit every cabinet with paint. They hit every wall with paint. They hit every appliance, they poured paint into the appliances. They poured cement down the drains. I mean there is nothing that is salvageable without having to totally refurbish the whole house again.’
To make this story even more heartbreaking, this isn’t the first time the couple has dealt with racism, nor, sadly, the worst incident they have had to bear. In 2010, their 16 year old son committed suicide as a result of bullying stemming from his mixed-race heritage. Pat told reporters;
‘We got through that. You never get over it, but then you come in here, and it’s the same kind of stuff.’
The couple has set up a GoFundMe page to help recoup their losses. Donate if you can.
Featured image courtesy of the video at WCPO.com