The people felt betrayed by their leaders. The country was spun off into an economic depression that was epic in nature. People were afraid and they were panicked. They saw that their values and traditions were under attack and they were afraid. They certainly did not want to blame themselves for their own situation and they needed a scapegoat.
Into that chaos came a very strange man. He was short and had a weird mustache and outright hilariously bad hair. However, he spoke loudly and proudly. He puffed out his chest like some demented peacock and made promises of Germany returning to its time of greatness. The people ate up his rhetoric. Of course, at first, there were many in power who sat on the sidelines and laughed at Adolf Hitler. They thought he was, at best, a fringe element who would have his time in the spotlight and then vanish. They certainly never thought that his message of fear and hatred would catch fire like a lit cigarette thrown into dry grass and blown by high winds.
I am sure there were many who dismissed him as a nut and a crank. Certainly, they felt, the sensible people in the country would put a stop to him. Even as he found a segment of society to pin all of Germany’s woes on, they must have thought that people would see through him and eventually send him away. Then the Nazi party had their big rally in Nuremburg and the people in charge must have known that their time was over. They must have had a hard stone in their stomachs and a sinking feeling that this fringe element had now become powerful enough to turn the fate of not only the country, but the entire world.
As I sit here the day after Glenn Beck had his rally in Washington D.C. and I listen to his rhetoric of fear and hatred and I wonder what I am looking at. I am wondering if I just saw an American Nuremburg. I am wondering if there is hope for this country. I want to dismiss him as a nut and hope that sensible people would know he cares only about expanding his own fame and not about any of the people he pretends to cry over. I want to, but I have that hard stone of fear in my stomach and heart.
Of course, there is also hope. You see, when Germany was going through its economic crisis, so was the United States. The US was in the grip of the Great Depression. And, at the same time, there was an American Nazi Party. It was led by a man who wanted to be as influential as Hitler. He had followers, as well. Their power culminated in a huge rally set in one of the huge sports arenas in New York City. Then, however, the true evil of the Nazis came to light and he was seen for the sham he was. The good people of this country and the rest of the world put down the evil hatred that was being spewed.
I can only hope that happens again. So far, Beck has never said he has any plans to run for office. But Sarah Palin was there and her name has sure been bandied about. I see my fellow countrymen filled with fear and looking to blame someone. For a long time they have focused it on the President, which is fine because that office can take it. But now I see them directing it against immigrants, Muslims and homosexuals. So, I worry.
I want to believe that sensible heads will prevail. I want to because I think America is still a great place. Yet, I worry. I worry very much.