When it comes to mass murder, Hitler runs a distant third. He trails Stalin by about 10 million and Mao by about 70 million. I don’t mean to say that Adolph was a poser but frankly he was out of their league. Mao and Stalin were long-lasting tyrants, holding unquestioned, terrifying political power for five decades. The Third Reich of a thousand years lasted but twelve. Still, Hitler was unique as these monsters go. He committed an incredible number of murders in those twelve years. They’re not Hall of Fame stats but he sure had a meteoric career.
Now, here comes Trump, 70 years old. No private army, no loyalty from the military, no secret police. Nothing like an SS. How can the Washington Post’s Richard Cohen, a very sharp guy, compare him to the Führer?
It’s possible that Trump followers could egg a few federal buildings after he’s shut down their agencies– why not? But it’s not even close to setting fire to the Reichstag, the German Parliament. He’s not about to lock up Jews, Blacks and Mexicans. Ok, maybe a few Mexicans. And Muslims probably shouldn’t back-order anything just now. Trump talks guns and doesn’t even wear a uniform. Mao, Joe and Adolph always dressed to kill. How can you take the guy seriously?
The press is always building people up just to shoot them down. The next Dylan, the next Mantle, the next Adolph. It will be the same with Trump. “Believe me!” He won’t even chart as high as Pol Pot or Idi Amin.
What’s got Richard Cohen’s hair on fire is the lies. “Trump lies, then he lies about the lies!” That wasn’t Hitler. It was really more Goebbels. Goebbels was all about the Big Lie: if you say something outrageous long and loud enough it starts to seem true. Trump tried it with the Birther thing. Trump made the hats and shirts, but it never took off. People just weren’t buying it. I’ve seen the facsimile Kenyan birth certificates stacked up at the Dollar Store. His licensees must have taken a real beating on that one.
Besides, since when is lying a sin? The Eighth Commandment doesn’t say anything about lying exactly. It says not to bear false witness, lying under oath, which means don’t swear to it. Big difference. Ask any lawyer.
There’s always going to be a few people who believe him. After all, he’s a billionaire (maybe). He must be right about something! Trump is pretty good at separating fools from their money and maybe from their votes too. That doesn’t make him Hitler. It might make him P.T. Barnum.