The distortion and delusion of the MAGA/GOP view
The greatest documentarian in the history of film is Ken Burns. He is a singular and exceptional chronicler of American history and culture. The breadth and depth of his work is peerless and an epic contribution towards the preservation of America’s heritage. Mr. Burns has said his most important work is “The U.S. and the Holocaust.”
The greatest crime in human history began with the rise of a far-right political party of losers, crackpots, opportunists and alienation that sowed division, hate, intolerance and grievance against its enemies, status and condition. The Jews were the target of its scapegoating, hate, conspiracies and terror. Ultimately, an extremist political party became the State and then the nation.
Hitler’s rise was abetted by countless small acts of moral appeasement and accommodation by people who were appalled by him. Ambition and cynicism fueled a merger of industry with extremism and hate with national identity. All of it was sustained by propaganda, lies, and conspiracy theories. Before it was over human civilization nearly fell. The war that Hitler waged killed tens of millions of human beings. Eighty years later, the contours of our civilization are defined by the triumph over his evil vision, and his axis of nationalist, fascist and racist collaborators.
Understanding how Hitler rose and the Holocaust began is essential and necessary for the survival of our descendants. Comprehending the insidious ease with which moral cowardice shapes evil is elemental towards understanding why and how humanity’s greatest crime occurred. It is foundational to making sure “Never Again” isn’t just a clever slogan.
Soon there will be no living survivors of the landing beaches or the death camps. Nothing will be left but the recordings of memory. We will live outside the boundaries and lifespans of humanity’s most consequential and deadly era. “Never Again” was once a declaration that seemed unassailable and unimpeachable. Yet, at the edge of the boundary where great events cross a plain from lived memory to remembered history, what was once certain seems so much less so in our present era of ascendant extremism.