To my friends and followers who disagree with or don’t understand the strong reactions Trump gets from across the political spectrum, I offer this:
After WWII, there emerged a liberal consensus in America that has dominated politics and journalism. By “liberal” I don’t mean “Democratic”, I mean the broader understanding that tolerance of differences among Americans was an essential component of the American fabric. Until recently, even the most conservative Republicans understood that speaking out in explicit contradiction of this consensus was political suicide. When liberals warn of the dangers of “normalizing Trump”, they aren’t just talking about his behavior and tone; they also mean his regular, even gleeful violations of this consensus.
These values were imparted to me and many of my generation (and the next) by my parents’ generation, and onto them by the American reaction to the rise and fall of fascism, especially its most evil and visible manifestation in Europe. Certainly some of this came from the inevitable vilification of our wartime enemies, but it was largely justified by the horrors revealed by the post-war occupation of Germany. Family lore is that my maternal grandfather was one of the officers that led American forces through Germany after VE day, and gave ordinary Germans tours of the concentration camps.
This video has been making the rounds, and I encourage you to watch it with this mindset. It is a propaganda video produced by the US government in 1943 in an attempt to inoculate America against the tactics the Nazis used to take control of Germany. Its parallels to recent events are eerie (so eerie I at first suspected that it was an elaborate hoax, but it appears to be genuine, having been used as part of the effort to desegregate the armed forces.)
Today’s left will find much to fault in the video (it is, after all, almost 75 years old) but I’m not offering it as a guide to how you should think. I’m offering it as a good example for the foundational values that many Americans find violated by Trump, and why the analogies to fascist Europe are not made hyperbolically. Trump’s rhetoric and actions are literally, exactly what we were raised to be on guard against.