Since the democratic election, two days ago, of Donald Trump as President-Elect of the United States, commentators both professional and amateur (like me), have been comparing it with the democratic election, over eighty years ago, of Adolph Hitler as Chancellor of the German Republic. But it is only this Blog which can use its own title to describe in four words what these two elections have in common.
All of us, even young people for whom World War Two is almost ancient history, have seen photographs and videos of those scenes in Germany of enormous crowds saluting their new Chancellor. All of us have seen on television Trump on the stump, surrounded by enormous crowds cheering their candidate, and now Trump, after his election, being cheered by his jubilant supporters. But we have also seen, in the big cities of the U.S., equally enormous and vociferous crowds of his opponents expressing their disappointment, their anger, their shattered hopes and even their fear. There were no such crowds of Germans opposed to Hitler. Perhaps the good news is that there are as many people who voted against Trump as for him, more in fact in absolute figures, though a unique, antiquated and anachronistic Electoral College system (created to compensate for the fact that slaves could not vote !), gave the unexpected and undeserved victory to Trump.
Readers of this Blog will not be surprised to see me attributing Trump’s election to the same blindness that made Hitler’s possible. With luck, the comparison may stop there. Hitler brought death, destruction and despair not only to Germany but to the whole world. Hopefully we will find ways to prevent a lesser but similar outcome of the election of the new American President. Apart from a small number of fanatics, the German people had no choice but to recognize, in a few short years, their blind faith and blind folly. It is too late to correct the vision of Trump’s supporters. We can only hope that the President himself realizes, before devastating damage is done, that he has been a blind leader of the blind. Unfortunately we cannot count on Jesus to open his eyes . . .