MUNICH FOR THE DEMOCRATS
By Thomas McKelvey Cleaver / The Rag Blog / August 21, 2010
In 1938, Hitler and the Nazis were flexing their power in Germany and doing a very good job of scaring the rest of Europe, still scarred by the First World War. By the late summer of 1938, Hitler had successfully bluffed his way into returning the Rhineland to German control in 1936, with an army so weak they were under orders to retreat if the French showed any resistance — which they didn’t. In the spring of 1938 he had annexed Austria, with no international outcry.
Despite the fact that in August 1938 the German Wehrmacht — the army, navy and air force — was in no condition to actually engage in combat with Britain or France, a fact that was so obvious to the German military leadership that they seriously entertained the idea of a military coup against Hitler if he looked like he was really going to go to war over Czechoslovakia, Hitler managed to bluff the Western allies again.
Knowing that the French were in no condition — politically, militarily or economically — to wage war, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain flew to Munich to confer with “Herr Hitler” and returned waving a piece of paper and proclaiming “peace in our time.”
Hitler rewarded Chamberlain’s cooperation by upping his demands, with the result that Chamberlain and French Premier Daladier went back to Munich and gave Hitler title to the Czech Sudetenland, even going so far as to browbeat Czech President Eduard Benes — in the presence of the Nazis — into allowing them to sell out Czechoslovakia in the name of “peace.”
Their reward for this appeasement of a fascist dictator and his movement came a year later: the Second World War, with over 40 million deaths worldwide by August 15, 1945.
Over the years since, many American governments have explained away many stupid, even idiotic decisions in international military affairs as “preventing another Munich.” This despite the fact that the facts of each of these situations were never close to those of “Munich.”
2010 is different.
The Democratic Party, after a historic victory in 2008, has been confronted by a belligerent American Right that has pursued a policy of absolute opposition, despite their lack of power, and despite the fact that the Republicans were seen in 2008 as the party that had created the crisis.
Despite the willingness of the Democrats to “reason together” on a bipartisan basis with their opponents — the functional equivalent of the European appeasement of Hitler in the Rhineland and Austria — they have been rebuffed every time and for their efforts they have been portrayed in the (Republican-controlled) media as “ineffective.” Today, the party that destroyed the economy in 2008 and wrecked the country internationally with their ridiculous wars, is poised to regain control — all as a result of bluffs that were not called when they could have been.
And now, in August 2010, we find ourselves in the same position Chamberlain found himself in 72 years ago this month: a fascist movement that has made itself “strong” in the eyes of the public now makes demands that should not be acquiesced to by the Democrats any more than Hitler’s demands should have been acquiesced to by Chamberlain.
And yet, these demands are being acquiesced to. The demand of the Right is that America cease being America, in terms of our commitment to constitutional civil liberties enshrined in the Bill of Rights for 221 years. The Right has created a “nontroversy” (i.e, a battle over something that does not actually exist) into a campaign of fearmongering that might just put them over the top in November. I refer of course to the fight over the (non-existent) “Ground Zero Mosque.”
President Obama declares the proponents of the Islamic Cultural Center That Is Not A Mosque At Ground Zero to build the center as an activity protected by the First Amendment guarantee of religious freedom, and then steps back, saying he will not comment on the “rightness” of the project.
The result? According to the Pew Center poll in Americans and Religion, twice as many Americans now believe the President is a “secret Muslim” as believed this patent right wing lie a year ago.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, caught up in a tight race with an out-and-out right wing looney-tune, responds to the looney-tune’s demand that he “state his position” on the nontroversy by agreeing with the Right that it is “inappropriate” for the Islamic Cultural Center That Is Not A Mosque At Ground Zero to be located where it is planned.
The result is that the Right exhilarates in using Reid’s statement to show opposition to the President’s “radical position.”
Governor Howard Dean — a man I used to respect until this past Wednesday — enters the fray unasked and agrees with Senator Reid, on the basis that 61% of Americans are opposed to having the Islamic Cultural Center That Is Not A Mosque At Ground Zero be not located at Ground Zer, and it is “good politics.”
Let us remember that this is the man who — when 85% of Americans were willing to believe the lies of George W. Bush when it came to the Imperial Wehrmacht‘s Invasion of Poland back in 2002 — stood up and said that was wrong, and built a credible presidential campaign from that principled and honest stand.
Do any of these drooling morons really think that agreeing with the Right that the Islamic Cultural Center That Is Not A Mosque At Ground Zero should not be built at Ground Zero is going to give them any sort of political strength? Do they really think that appeasing these scum will give them the short-term political gain they are so desperate to win this November, when the rubes can go vote for the “real” opponents of the Islamic Cultural Center That Is Not A Mosque At Ground Zero that should not be built at Ground Zero??
Eighty-three percent of my fellow Americans had their political heads up their metaphorical asses in March 2003, and today, seven and a half years later — after destroying Natalie Mains and the Dixie Chicks and (among other unnoticed acts) doing their best to destroy me with their semi-literate e-mails and their campaigns to have me removed from the internet sites I participate at for non-political subjects (on grounds of my “lack of patriotism”), as well as harassing any number of other Americans intelligent enough to see moron stupidity for what it was – most of the people who were such true patriotic believers then now breathe a sigh of relief that the final American combat unit has left Iraq this week. So much for believing the majority of Americans know anything when they are being whipped up by fear mongers and professional propagandists.
61 percent of Americans now believe that the Islamic Cultural Center That Is Not A Mosque At Ground Zero should not be built at Ground Zero, because they are being systematically lied to by professional propagandists who have no central core beliefs or principled connection to the truth, but are willing to destroy the country if, in the process, they can be returned to power.
Like H.L. Mencken said in 1924, at the height of another ginned-up nontroversy, the Scopes Monkey Trial: “Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people.” The Republican Party has survived on this truth since before they were Republicans, back when they were the Know-Nothing Party who created hysteria across the country that we were threatened with destruction by allowing the sub-human Irish to come here during the Potato Famine. They did it again, with the Poles, the Italians, the Chinese, and anyone else they could call “the other” in their appeal to fear and ignorance.
I have a personal connection in my opposition to this kind of moron stupidity.
Back in 1918, the American people were ginned-up to support our entry into the First World War – a war the majority had voted against entering when they re-elected that narrow-minded ignorant racist bigot Woodrow Wilson (a man who deserves none of the veneration he is accorded by Democrats) in 1916 on the slogan “He kept us out of war.” To generate support for saving Wall Street’s war loans to the British and the French, the Government created a campaign against “Germans” that is much like the present campaign against “Islam.”
That spring, my then 5-year old father saw his little Dachshund “Kaiser” kicked by a neighbor for being “German.” He had to rename his beloved pet “Teddy” (for “Teddy Roosevelt”) and keep the dog inside for a year to prevent its “patriotic” murder. It was an event he remembered all his life.
At about the same time, in Alamosa, Colorado, my grandfather Harry Wiest had his barn burned down by his “patriot” neighbors, for the crime of having a German name. His 3 year old daughter – my mother – was terrified by the events of that night and never forgot them. For the ten years they continued to live there, she always wondered which parent of which of her friends had tried to kill her.
The irony was that the Wiest family had come to America in 1849 with a Prussian price on their heads for the “crime” of my great-great-great-grandfather Peter Wiest being a member of the Congress of Frankfurt in the Revolution of 1848, when those who really were the “good Germans” tried to overthrow Prussianism and establish democracy in Germany.
And they weren’t the only ones – nearly all the German-Americans in 1918 were either immigrants or their children who had come to get away from the Kaiser Willie the Idiot and the Prussian morons. But they were tarred with the “Prussian” brush the same way that Muslim Americans who came here to get away from the oppressive ignorance found in most Muslim-run countries are tarred with the brush of Osama Bin Laden.
That the American leaders who are supposed to be “the good guys” are trying to appease the unappeasables of the Right this way fills me with complete disgust.
An old friend of mine said the other day that “The symbol of the Democratic Party should not be a vertebrate.”
And what really truly pisses me off completely is the fact that this appeasement is only going to result in the victory of the conscienceless fascist scum in November.
Finally, there really is a “Munich moment” for American leaders to respond to, and they are failing the test.
And these are the people we have to support if we don’t want November 2, 2010, to be the American January 20, 1933. Goddamnit!
Type rest of the post here