The Lesson of Vichy France

When Hitler and Nazi Germany conquered France at the beginning of World War Two, the Germans divided France into an occupied zone and a free zone. This free zone was governed largely by a puppet government that supposedly was independent but was mostly cooperative with the Nazis. Now the big question anyone must ask themselves is why would anyone, conquered by an enemy, suddenly turn around and willingly cooperate with their conquerors?

Some French people fled and fought with the British and Russians against the Nazis. Many other French people stayed in France and formed the French Resistance that sabotaged Nazi plans and rescued Allied airmen whose planes were shot down over France. These French Resistance members risked their lives to continue fighting against the Nazis.

Yet who were the people governing Vichy France who would eagerly and openly cooperate with their Nazi conquerors? To answer this question, ask yourself this. If America were conquered by Nazi Germany today, which type of people would be far more likely to cooperate with the Nazis?

First, which group of people in America fear and hate minorities such as Jews, the disabled, homosexuals, and immigrants?

Second, which group of people in America believe that women are not equal and should stay at home?

Third, which group of people in America believe that safety can only occur by shutting down borders, that a free press is a direct threat to the government, and that labor unions should be abolished?

If you’re still having a hard time answering these questions, then chances are good you fall into that group of Americans who would be most likely to support the Nazis if they conquered the United States.

In France, the Vichy French government that cooperated with the Nazis consisted largely of right-wing, conservatives because the beliefs of the Nazis largely mirrored their own conservative beliefs. Thus when given permission by the Nazis to pursue their own conservative agenda against their own people, the Vichy France government had no problems cooperating with the Nazis.

So if everyone agrees that the Nazis were evil, then what does that say about any group of people whose own ideas and beliefs largely mirror those same ideas that the Nazis embraced?

In the United States, which group of people would be far more likely to cooperate with the Nazis because they share similar beliefs? Liberals or conservatives? Left-wing extremists or right-wing extremists? Democrats or Republicans?

If you accept the belief that the Nazis were evil, then you must also accept the belief that anyone who embraces the same principles of the Nazis must also be evil. If so, what does that say about the people of Vichy France who embraced the Nazis?

More importantly, what does that say about the people in America today who would be more likely to cooperate with the Nazis if they had a chance to do so?

To learn more about Vichy France, click here.

Don’t Fear Donald Trump, Fear His Supporters

The real problem is never Donald Trump or any leader, but the people around him who give him permission to do greater and greater horrors. After all, Hitler couldn’t round up 6 million Jews and exterminate them by himself. North Korea isn’t an oppressive dictatorship because of one dictator, but because a literal army of people agree to keep the current oppressive system in place for their own selfish reasons.

The two biggest threats are always:

  • People who directly benefit from the actions of the dictator (currently most of the Republicans)
  • People who agree to go along with the dictator because they keep hoping it won’t turn out badly after all, even after all evidence indicates that things are heading in the wrong direction

At what point did Germans realize Hitler went too far? Even though many Germans knew of Jewish persecution, the roundup of Jews, and even the extermination of Jews, how many Germans continued to accept Hitler as their leader?

Donald Trump isn’t a threat by himself but by his giving permission for his supporters and followers to blatantly violate both American and human values. It’s no surprise that the number of attacks on Jewish community centers and cemeteries has skyrocketed since Trump’s election. Donald Trump didn’t do this. His followers and supporters did because they now believe it’s okay to openly express their hatred towards others because, as they often say, “their candidate won.”

The closest supporters of Donald Trump are the ones directly benefiting from his actions, such as his own family members (Ivanka Trump whose clothing line is manufactured in Asia, which Donald Trump and the rest of the Republicans conveniently ignore while Trump browbeats other companies for not building factories in America).

Another group benefiting from Donald Trump are the Republicans whose grip on power allows them to push forward their own agenda. Whether they agree with Donald Trump or not is irrelevant since they aren’t actively opposing him.

Yet these closest supporters of Trump are still powerless to change the country. That’s why the greatest threat to the American Constitution isn’t Donald Trump or his closest followers, but his many supporters who want to discriminate against others and want a reason to justify their own fear and ignorance.

These are the people who are spraying Nazi graffiti on Jewish properties and yelling profanities at others in public. Yet even these people aren’t as dangerous as the silent people who simply refuse to oppose Donald Trump for various reasons that generally fall under the category of “He’s our President so we have to support him.”

Remember, Adolf Hitler was once democratically elected to power so the many Germans who refused to oppose him were simply helping him by not trying to stop him. These Germans could also have said, “Hitler is our leader so we have to support him.”

It’s the silent and accepting majority that’s the real danger to this country. Any group of people who willingly and knowingly look the other way while allowing any leader to cause misery, pain, and suffering to the weakest members of society is simply complicit in that leader’s own vile actions and agenda. Not speaking up is not as bad as actively rounding up immigrants and separating children from their mothers, but by not standing up for others, this silent majority remains the biggest danger to freedom of all.

It’s the duty of every American to speak up when they disagree with their leaders. Failing to do so means tactic acceptance and approval, and you can see how far the silent majority of Germans allowed Hitler to go with the Nazi party.

So the question today is this. How far can Donald Trump (or any President) go before you’ll believe he no longer has the best interests of this country at heart?

For many Trump supporters, they’ll always believe Trump has the country’s interests at heart, even in the face of contradictory evidence. Yet for many others, where will you draw the line?

Many Germans never drew the line with Hitler and allowed him to go completely unchecked. How far will Donald Trump go with the silent permission of Americans?

The “Safety” of the Latest Donald Trump Travel Ban

President Trump signed an executive order Friday night to keep refugees from entering the country for 120 days and immigrants from six predominantly Muslim nations out for three months.

Supposedly this is to make the country safer. Unless, of course, you question how can a travel ban make this country safer when it only lasts 120 days? That’s like locking your front door four hours every night but leaving it unlocked the rest of the time. Will putting a temporary ban make this country safer? Is 120 days a long enough time period for this country to come up with a more rigorous vetting process?

Even more puzzling is that this travel ban doesn’t target the countries where the 9/11 terrorists actually came from, specifically Saudi Arabia (fifteen hijackers), United Arab Emirates (two hijackers), Lebanon (one hijacker) and Egypt (one hijacker). If we’re really interested in making this country safer, why not target the countries where the terrorists are actually coming from? After all, Osama bin Laden was from Saudi Arabia and Richard Reid (the attempted shoe bomber terrorist) was from England, so to really keep this country safe, let’s ban people from Saudi Arabia and England as well.

Then again, the last year hasn’t brought any terrorist attacks from Muslims against Americans, but Jewish centers are facing real threats from fellow Americans right now. Rather than enact a travel ban to protect us against potential threats, shouldn’t we be spending time confronting actual threats to Jewish centers?

Of course, that requires using logic and that’s in serious short supply among the Trump Administration. After all, Trump garnered the support of white nationalists who dislike Jews so it’s likely the biggest threat to Jewish-Americans comes from the people who support Donald Trump in the first place.

So if we really want to make this country safe, Donald Trump should enact a ban against white nationalists currently living in America. That would go a long way towards making this country safe and would have the added bonus of deporting Donald Trump himself out of the White House and out of the country.

You know, for security reasons until we can figure this whole vetting process out.