Have I just been making false assumptions? Having grown up as a Jew whose grandparents were all Eastern European immigrants, I know that I was educated in the horrors and specifics of the Holocaust more so than your average American child, but I just assumed everyone was taught enough to understand just who and what the Nazis were.
Maybe I was wrong. Maybe part of the problem we’re facing today is that many people don’t understand the term. They just think of it as having a nebulous "bad guy" meaning. Or at worst, "somewhat militant racist."
So I’m going to try this without screaming, just speaking.
The Nazi doctrine has, at its core, not just white supremacy, but the subjugation and annihilation of "lessers." They don’t just want to be in power, they want to lock away or kill everyone not like them. People of color, queer people, disabled people, Jews, Muslims.
They want to kill us.
And it’s not something that was tacked on to an otherwise harmless ideology. It is a core part of the identity.
And they will do it. It’s not empty threat. Twelve million people were murdered over this ideology (and that’s not even counting the soldiers who died fighting it). Shot. Gassed. Starved. Enslaved. Experimented on. (And that’s not counting the soldiers who died fighting them.)
That is the ideology that the modern Nazis have looked at and said, "I want in on that." Whether they’re as organized as the original Nazis, whether they have the capability, is irrelevant. This is what they want. This is what they work toward.
And they were nothing more than a bunch of fringe extremists when they first started in Germany, too.
This is what I shout about on social media. This is why I say that you cannot treat them as just another unpleasant political stance. They are a real threat to so many people. They are a clear and present danger.
And you cannot stand back. You cannot remain neutral. This isn’t about Democrat vs. Republican, or Right vs. Left. This is literally about right or wrong. It is one of the few times in your life you’re going to be in a position where there are no shades of gray, where you honestly and truly have the chance to fight genuine evil.
And so many of you are failing to step up, perhaps because you truly don’t understand, or don’t want to believe. But this is what it is. This is where we are.
Even if you are normally a free speech absolutist, their very ideology is an active threat, something that free speech doesn’t accommodate.
Even if you disapprove of what groups like Antifa do to fight them–and let’s be clear, a lot of what you’ve heard about Antifa is exaggerated or outright false, but even if everything negative said about them were true–it is still your duty to deal with the Nazis first, and worry about lesser wrongs after the fact.
You are being manipulated, by Nazis, and by certain Right-wing elements that mistakenly think they have to ally with Nazis, into remaining neutral. Into not taking sides because the other is "just as bad." They’re not. Nothing is.
In all the confusion and shades of gray of human history, this is one of the few true, genuine, and incontrovertible evils.
And the only way to avoid supporting it is to stand loudly and actively and yes, sometimes maybe even violently, against it.