If the GOP’s general platform positions are criticized for anything, it’s for being spectacularly backwards. Republicans tell us they’re all about appealing to tradition and family values, hearkening back to the good old days, in some way trying to “make America great again”. Most make no secret that they believe at present we are living in some morally depraved, fallen-from-grace world, a perversion some glorious golden era we have somehow let slip through our fingers, with our insistence on equal rights for minorities and women and birth control, and other such nonsense that inconveniences white dudes.
I was curious about these days gone by, and the relationship between Republican positions and these supposed glory days of the past. So, I tried to distill the GOP platform into a few high profile positions that no Republican (including the 2016 presidential candidates) can effectively hide from: namely, immigration, abortion, birth control, jobs and welfare, and the current cause célèbre: religious freedom. What I found is that there is another political party that had eerily similar intentions and methods of ideological framing to today’s modern GOP. The following are 7 of the Nazi Party’s infamous “25-point programme”, and the GOP’s stack-up for each. It could be said that comparing the GOP to the Nazi party is a little extreme — to which I say, if it walks like a duck and bans abortion like a duck, hey. Maybe we should get a little worried because people in the early 20th century did not generally recognize that these 25 points would ever bring about the horrific outcomes that they did.
(Note – several of these points are abridged, however, the meaning was not affected. The unabridged 25-point programme is available here.)
#4. Only a member of the race can be a citizen.
What it meant: Who belongs in “the Fatherland” is not defined by legal, but rather biological and cultural parameters.
Let’s be really, brutally honest with ourselves, here. The recent shenanigans surrounding the absurd idea of ending birthright citizenship to prevent so-called “anchor babies” is just a dog-whistle. The real intention and message behind this craziness is pretty loud and clear: we should begin linking citizenship to a particular national identity, and limiting the in-flow of “other” groups. Conservatives are rallying behind this idea because it’s a proxy for stopping what they perceive as the continual degradation of pure, apple-pie American-ness. Supporters include a shocking amount of current candidates: Trump, Paul, Santorum, Jindal, Graham, Christie and Walker are all on board.
#7. We demand that the state be charged first with providing the opportunity for a livelihood and way of life for the citizens. If it is impossible to sustain the total population of the State, then the members of foreign nations (non-citizens) are to be expelled from the Reich.
What it meant: “Citizens” (see: Aryans, above) are the top dog in this society and they get priority for jobs and the privilege of dictating the country’s “way of life”. Anyone else is merely tolerated, and if things get tight, they will be kicked right the fuck out.
Republicans favor stopping new immigration and support mass deportation of those already in the U.S. (which amounts to about 11 million people) 62-34, according to a CNN poll. Trump in particular has been very vocal about his intentions to build a wall to stop immigration, reverse amnesty and deport any undocumented people he can find. A favorite anti-immigrant argument Republicans like to return to again and again is that immigrants steal jobs from hard-working Americans. The data does not support this but nevertheless, it’s a handy fear tactic that makes ideas like ending birthright citizenship and deporting millions of people seem justifiable for the sake of the “livelihood and way of life for the citizens”.
#8. Any further immigration of non-citizens is to be prevented.
What it meant: Germany is becoming racially and culturally tainted.
None of the GOP candidates has made any substantial position clear on supporting paths to citizenship; Eleven of them support building a literal fucking wall to keep people out. The facts speak for themselves: Republicans clearly do not want any further immigration to the extent that they can prevent it. Why? They see it as a threat to the current way of life, to American identity and though they rarely speak to it in such open terms (resorting to thinly veiling derogatory opinions with words like “Thug”); they mean white, European-derived American identity.
#10 & 11. The first obligation of every citizen must be to work both spiritually and physically… Consequently we demand: Abolition of unearned incomes.
What it meant: good patriots work hard and ask for nothing: they produce, produce, produce for the country – they do not take.
This is a familiar rhetoric, as today’s GOP loves nothing more than to demonize the poor and lionize the “American Work Ethic”. They also really enjoy a good sacrifice from the American patriot in the form of a budget cut: or even better, a complete de-funding. Their favorite targets? Hungry folks (many of whom are children) who rely on food stamps, low-income women, school lunches (they must just find well-fed children offensive.) and K-12 Students (Seriously, GOP – What did the children ever do to you?) The jist of Republican arguments is that welfare is a signifier of laziness, which is immoral, and immoral people don’t deserve help from the champion citizens who work and pay their so-called fair share. Furthermore, such moral failing is simply Un-American (just ask Bill O’Reilly).
21. The State is to care for elevating national health by protecting the mother and child.
What it meant: Procreation is paramount to national interest because strong Aryan babies become strong Aryan soldiers. Women are vessels for childbirth above all; and the gatekeepers of ethnic purity.
Hitler was extremely misogynistic and his personal beliefs informed much of Nazi rhetoric surrounding Women’s roles in society. The rhetoric employed by the Nazi party is shockingly similar to what the GOP emphasizes today: They first restricted, then outlawed contraception; abortion soon followed. Propaganda called it a “crime against the body and against the state”. The party made it clear that women had worth only as wives and mothers, even going so far as to ban women from practicing medicine and other professions. The Nazi regime also awarded medals to “German” women according to the number of children they had birthed, and award money to men and women that got and stayed married.
The GOP, in contrast, is often accused of being appalled by the thought of losing a fetus but not at all disturbed about sending young Americans as cannon fodder to pointless wars. They call this being pro-life, pro-marriage and supporting “family values”, saying that “Families are the cornerstone of our culture-the building blocks of a strong society… We also know that family breakdown makes America less stable.” But as Bernie Sanders has succinctly put it: “Family Values” is just code for “let’s control Women’s bodies”. The GOP’s platform is to emphasize birth and motherhood as the crux of American effectiveness. I wonder if they’ll start awarding medals any time soon.
24. We demand freedom of religion for all religious denominations within the state so long as they do not endanger its existence or oppose the moral senses of the Germanic race. The Party as such advocates the standpoint of a positive Christianity.”
What it meant: Religious freedom is good as long as it’s mainly for the dominant religion. If we deem that a religion is a threat to our culture or ethnic sensibilities (which are Christian), then said freedom doesn’t apply. So there’s freedom in theory, but in reality only for Christians.
Wow. Sounds familiar, right? We got to see this one up close recently, with the whole Kim Davis fiasco, who drew endorsements from several GOP candidates including Mike Huckabee who went so far as to say he would be “Willing to go to jail in her place”. When Huckabee was questioned whether he would similarly support a Muslim flight attendant who was suspended for refusing to serve alcohol (using the exact same reasoning as Davis’ refusal to issue marriage licenses to LGBTQ couples), he hedged the question; certainly, he didn’t jump to support Muslim religious freedom.
Likewise, the GOP wholesale ignores the rights of Muslims to religious freedom when it comes to profiling at airports (but much national security!). It’s also worth noting that the rhetoric in Nazi Germany was that Jewish religion was basically a cover for a nefarious “state within a state”, which is partly why religious freedom wholesale did not apply to Jews under the regime. That’s not only ridiculous but fairly horrifying. But just last year, GOP congressional candidate Jody Hice literally said the same thing about Islam in his book “It’s Now Or Never: A Call To Reclaim America”. “Although Islam has a religious component,” he wrote, “it is much more than a simple religious ideology. It is a complete geo-political structure and, as such, does not deserve First Amendment protection.” Oh, my.
15. We demand an expansion on a large scale of old age welfare.
What it meant: Let’s expand Medicare and Social Security.
Well, I guess the Nazi party at least didn’t crusade to leave elderly people in abject poverty, which is more than can be said for Republicans, who continually slash Medicare and some of whom would see Social Security and Medicare abolished entirely. How awkward. It looks like in some ways, Republicans really earn the (mostly tongue-in-cheek) title of “literally worse than Hitler”.
Image via USA Today/AP