UPDATE: Responding to public outrage, Facebook pulled Trump’s Nazi ads.
“We removed these posts and ads for violating our policy against organized hate,” Facebook spokesman Andy Stone told The Washington Post. “Our policy prohibits using a banned hate group’s symbol to identify political prisoners without the context that condemns or discusses the symbol.”
Great, but The Post also notes:
The ads on the president’s page alone, which began running on Wednesday, gained as many as 950,000 impressions by Thursday morning. Identical ads on Pence’s page gained as many as 500,000 impressions.
Too little, too late, Zuckerberg. Just like 2016.
As a general rule, I reject comparisons of contemporary political leaders and parties as “Nazis.” It’s a flip rhetorical crutch that stifles constructive debate and trivializes the nationalized, industrialized genocide of millions of human beings.
No evil comes close to Nazi Germany in the 1930s and ’40s. No one is Hitler but Hitler. That said, it’s increasingly clear that a Hitler Wannabe is occupying the White House and his re-election campaign has stooped to using Nazi imagery and money-hungry Facebook Fuhrer Mark Zuckerberg to keep him there.
President Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and team Trump are running Facebook ads featuring the Red Triangle symbol the Nazis used to brand political dissidents and other “problem populations” in concentration camps. The ads warn that “left-wing mobs” led by “Antifa” are taking over the country and burning cities and towns to the ground. It’s a classic Nazi propaganda tactic meant to scare “law and order Americans” into sticking with a lawless president who early in this nightmare first term actually said his job “would be a lot easier if I was a dictator.”
The average American probably has no clue what the symbol means. I assure you every committed neo-Nazi and garden-variety right-wing extremist reads it loud and clear. This “dog whistle” is a fascist foghorn, a blatant declaration of Trump’s authoritarian obsessions and his willingness to destroy the country to stay in power.
Some other things average Americans should know: “Antifa” doesn’t exist. It’s a name, not a movement, a fake news fever dream cooked up by right-wing media to give Republicans a boogeyman to run against. If “Antifa” was the organized, widespread army of thugs Trump and his shameless enablers want you to believe it is, cities across America would be burning. Violence against “law and order Americans” would be rampant. No major city or government building would be safe from terrorist attack.
None of that is happening anywhere but on Fox “News,” the hard-right internet and Corporate Hate Radio. Not that there hasn’t been political violence. On May 29, an Air Force Staff Sergeant drove to a peaceful protest of George Floyd’s murder by Minneapolis police and ambushed two security officers at a federal courthouse in California, killing one and critically injuring the other. The crazed killer isn’t an “Antifa” footsoldier, but an unhinged adherent of the hard-right “Boogaloo” movement, which very much does exist and very much wants to start a race war and overthrow the government.
The “Boogaloo Bois” — who openly recruit on Facebook — and other right-wing extremists are a genuine threat to “law and order,” but I’m sure some of them are “very fine people” who just happen to be heavily armed, highly trained and hiding in plain sight. On May 30, the FBI arrested an Army reservist, a former Navy seaman and a former Air Force airman who plotted to firebomb a peaceful protest in Las Vegas. Read about it here. Google “Boogaloo Bois” for numerous other examples of these very real boogeymen inciting violence across the country.
The average American probably doesn’t know much about the “Reichstag Fire” of 1933. Four weeks after Hitler was sworn in as Chancellor of Germany, the parliament building was conveniently set on fire. An avowed communist was arrested and Hitler, backed by Nazis in high government positions, used the arson as “proof” that a secret army of communists was plotting against the people of Germany.
To restore “law and order,” the Nazi Party pushed through the Reichstag Fire Decree, which gave Hitler and his shameless enablers absolute power to suspend most civil rights, including free speech, freedom of the press, free assembly and free association. The Nazis used it to target, identify and imprison anyone “not friendly” to the party, and therefore an “enemy of the people.”
It was the beginning of the Third Reich, and the root of the red triangle symbol our Wannabe Fuhrer and his party is using in his reelection campaign. This was not an accident or an oversight. Neither was Trump’s original plan to hold a rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma — home of the Tulsa Race Massacre in which rioting whites murdered as many as 300 black citizens, looted their homes, businesses and churches and burned their neighborhood to the ground — on “Juneteenth,” the holiday commemorating the end of slavery.
Public pressure convinced Trump to move his Cult 45 Revival to Saturday, but the message was sent and amplified by the red triangle ads. Trump and his Republican enablers are telling us who they are and what they want America to become.
We should believe them.