I Said It Before and I’ll Say It Again

In 2011, I wrote a column entitled “Let’s Ban Another ‘N’ Word” because I was sick and tired of people using references to Hitler and his Nazi regime to label and describe people and their actions with whom they disagree.  I’m talking about people and their actions here in the United States.  Whatever the situation (with the exception of abortion, but that’s a whole other topic), there are no atrocities being carried out in this country that could even begin to compare to the horror that the Nazis inflicted on the people in Europe.

Revisiting this subject is the result of my recent attendance at a production of the play, “The Diary of Anne Frank.”  We were able to hear the words of this remarkable young teenager, who, between 1942 and 1944, lived in a 16’ x 20’ attic with mother, father and sister and four other people in Amsterdam, in an attempt to hide from the savage brutality of the Nazis, and who believed “in spite of everything, that people are truly good at heart.”  Hiding and living under those conditions, simply because she was a Jew, you would think she would’ve become angry, miserable and cynical, the way people on the far Left today view our country.

While I sat in that theatre, I couldn’t help but think about Alexandria Ocasio- Cortez’s recent comments that there are concentration camps right here in this country:

Some might argue she specifically distinguished “concentration camps” from “extermination camps” but I’m not so sure Ms. Ocasio-Cortez even knows the difference.  In either case – it was a living nightmare.  Even the über Left Mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio, took exception to her reference:  “I respect her greatly and I feel very close to her in terms of philosophy, but of course she was wrong.  You cannot compare what the Nazis did in the concentration camps.”  I’m sure the average person also makes no such distinction.  The mention of “concentration camps” raises the spectre of the Holocaust and the slaughter of 6 million people.  Whatever Ms. Ocasio-Cortez meant, her comments only insult those people who actually suffered and died during the darkest years of the 20th Century.

We could sit here all day discussing legal vs. illegal immigration or whether this country should adopt an open borders policy or amnesty.  We could discuss the reason why Congress is reluctant to act on immigration, the existence of sanctuary cities that refuse to enforce the duly-enacted laws of the United States, what to do with the hundreds of thousands of people seeking “asylum” here and our “catch and release” policy that allows people to disappear into the country without any way to require their appearance at court hearings.

But to invoke Nazism into any of this discussion is, at worst, stupid, or, at best, completely misinformed and totally absurd.   More important than any of the name calling is the most significant fact in this whole discussion which I have not heard one talking head on television discuss or confront Ms. Ocasio-Cortez with during interviews.

Hitler specifically and intentionally rounded up Jews, homosexuals, Jehovah Witnesses, Roma, disabled people and others for no reason other than he deemed them to be “undesirable.”  It was involuntary.  It was not their choice. Absolutely nothing like that is going on in this country.

The President hasn’t sent troops south of the border to “round” people up, bring them across the border and put them in concentration camps.  People, in the thousands, voluntarily come across our border with every intention of staying in this country.  Whether they are choosing to immigrate into America legally or illegally or whether they are seeking asylum or not, they are crossing our border and they need to be processed by immigration officials in accordance with our laws.  If they intend to come into this country, they have to know that they will be detained, their children may be placed elsewhere, and their applications handled in whatever length of time it takes.  It is their choice.  How does their voluntary entry into our country compare to what the Nazis did?

When I listen to Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, she reminds me of the tedious home shopping network hosts that have a list of talking points who spew endless, mindless, repetitive thoughts to include those talking points.  I’m not even sure Ms. Ocasio-Cortez knows or understands what she’s saying.  I wonder if she has ever visited any center at the border or any of the concentration camps in Europe or could even identify Josef Mengele, Adolf Eichmann, Reich Marshall Hermann Göring, Hans Frank, Alfred Rosenberg or Julius Streicher.  She and others like her, are so blinded by their ideology that she just talks without thinking and hasn’t truly examined what she’s saying.  I’d like to think that the U.S. Representative from New York is not a stupid woman, but when she makes these kinds of statements, what would any ordinary person (Independent voters) think?  I can’t believe any of them thinks this woman is rational.

Unfortunately, she’s no different than the any number of people who claim President Trump is a Nazi.  In my previous column, I mentioned numerous references to “Nazis” by all sorts of people including Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn), who claimed the Republican attack on health care reform was akin to the propaganda disseminated by Nazi Germany.  George Soros, the left’s sugar daddy and multi-million dollar contributor to MoveOn.org and NPR, likened Fox News to Nazi ideology.  A Republican caller to the Rush Limbaugh radio show called Rush a “brainwashed Nazi.”  At a townhall meeting, a woman confronted then Rep. Barney Frank and asked him, “Why do you continue to support [Obama’s] Nazi policy?”  Union members compared ex-Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker to Hitler.  It goes on and on and on and never ends.

In other words, if you don’t agree with me, you’re a Nazi.

It’s becoming a meaningless cliché and using “Nazi” to make your point only makes you intellectually lazy.  Stop already!

I don’t get it, but if you do, God bless you.

Are Conservatives Really Obsessed With Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez?

I planned on writing about a different topic this week, but after the fifth or sixth time a Huffington Post headline reading “Conservative Men Are Obsessed With Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez; Science Tells Us Why” appeared on my social-media timelines, I felt compelled to toss out a few thoughts on the new Democratic congresswoman from New York (and conservatives’ alleged obsession with her).

Let me start by conceding that the headline isn’t completely baseless. A lot of center-right folks do indeed talk about AOC (as she’s known) — perhaps even as often as she’s talked about by her progressive admirers (that include several in the media) who love her youth, energy, and democratic-socialist ideas. It’s not uncommon, after all, to see the 29-year-old’s name turn up in right-wing headlines and in conservative circles on social media.

And of course there was that much parodied dance video from her college days:

So how does “science” factor into all of this, you may be wondering? Well, according to a neuroscientist cited in the HuffPo column, conservatives tend to be more responsive to fear than liberals are. Thus liberal columnist Laura Bassett has concluded that conservatives, in fact, are afraid of AOC.

Cue the song!

This scientific finding of course begs a couple more questions: Why do they fear her, and why is this obsession coming from conservative men (and not conservative women)? Fortunately, Bassett has the answers to both:

“Ocasio-Cortez’s power is a direct threat to conservatives because her very existence in Congress as a young, Latina, working-class woman threatens to upend the social order that has kept white men in the ruling class for centuries. (Eighty-eight percent of House Republicans are white men, most are over the age of 50, and the party’s voters are majority white and male.)”

In other words, it’s AOC’s ethnicity and youth that are making conservative men quake in their boots.

Additionally, Bassett explains that conservative men are horn-dogs, citing a sexualized click-bait piece on the Daily Caller and a tweet from an anonymous Twitter user. She also quotes Caroline Heldman, a gender and politics professor at Occidental College:

“Alexandria presents a challenge, because conservative men or men in general who are encouraged to objectify women are attracted to her, but she’s also ‘unmanageable’ in that she doesn’t exist for them. She is a woman who not only has now formal power, but a lot of informal power, in that she doesn’t give a damn what they think of her. I think it’s a disconcerting place for men who may be used to attractive women seeking their validation.”

There’s much more cognitive liberal-speak throughout the piece, but you probably get the jist of it.

Now, at the risk of coming across as anti-science (as many on the left tend to portray us conservatives anyway), I’m going to offer a much simpler explanation of why conservatives talk about AOC so often:

She publicly says a lot of dumb, divisive, and shamelessly untrue things.

And before people start accusing me of sexism, racism, ageism, and whatever other isms they might be inclined to whip out, it’s important to understand that the reactionary sentiments I’ve described are demonstrably blind to nearly everything but the rhetoric itself.

The reality is that when a populist politician is routinely saying outrageous things that generate a lot of media coverage, people on both sides of the aisle are naturally inclined to weigh in. In such cases, political and ideological allies spin the uncouth oratory with phrases like “truth to power”, “anti-establishment”, and “for the people,” while foes launch into full-blown mockery and condescending Internet memes.

Sound a bit familiar?

One might say that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is the Donald Trump of the Left. And the reactions the two generate aren’t all that different from each other; the teams are just reversed.

It’s not about demographics. It’s about demagoguery.

AOC may sit lower than Trump on the political totem pole, but she and our president actually have a ton of things in common, as The Bulwark’s Jonathan Last described quite well in a recent piece. From the refusal to back down from false and offensive statements, to the incessant tribal pandering, to the fervent use of social media, to the internal mudslinging, these two could be considered kindred spirits.

Yet, no one is attributing the Left’s “obsession” with Trump to his age, his ethnicity, or (hold your laughter) his attractiveness. And any  fear they have of him is tied to either competence or policy… not his “very existence.”

So I dare say that when it comes to political compulsion, the science isn’t settled after all.