The "little Eichmann"
It’s hard to believe that this actually happened:
We can thank the Governor of Florida for this capricious and performative stunt. It was an act of dehumanization. He treated fellow human beings — made in God’s image — like animals to satisfy the cruelty fetish of Rupert Murdoch’s hate-addicted audience of victims. It was a despicable and un-American act by a low man.
The images of decent people coming to the aid of people who are scared, lost, confused and stigmatized will present the backdrop for the November choice ahead. This is the choice: decency or cruelty. Freedom or control. Democracy or MAGA.
Ron DeSantis is a “little Eichmann.” Twenty years after the Nazi who planned the logistics of the Holocaust was hanged in Jerusalem, the man who interrogated him gave the world a warning. It should be heeded.
Avner Less said there are Adolph Eichmanns everywhere. He said they are all around us, but harmless and latent in a democracy. Less said the danger comes if democracy falls. He said it didn’t matter if it was a dictatorship of the left or right. What he pointed out was that the “latent Eichmanns” turn deadly in an instant when dictatorships rise.
Ron DeSantis is precisely the type of man Less was describing. A tinge of power in the backwater of Tallahassee, as well as the flattery from political reporters whoring to become the next king or queen of transactional information brokering, have revealed Ron DeSantis’ character. He is a bully. He lacks restraint and judgement. He is arrogant and cruel. He is another MAGA sociopath.
Recently, Desantis demonstrated his toxic cruelty, lack of empathy, integrity and common sense when he attacked the Special Olympics, and ransomed one of the world’s most noble institutions to score cheap political points about nothing. DeSantis is begging for attention, and the MAGA adulation necessary to become Prince of Mar-A-Lago. This wretched title confers no dignities other than the setting of the MAGA succession line. It is their equivalent of Prince of Wales.
Ron DeSantis presides over a tiny fiefdom in the hot, humid, corrupt Florida city of Tallahassee. He is king there, and he reigns with his wife, Casey. Mostly, the relevant information that political reporters talk to each other about is omitted from the coverage that informs the reader. Occasionally, some sunlight breaks through the murk, and citizens are able to cobble together some understanding around the psychology, motivations and decision-making values of the elected officials who have immense power, should they choose to abuse it.
DeSantis is an isolated figure. He does not like people, and has a difficult time connecting with them. He is known to be rude, arrogant, disrespectful, and completely disinterested in anything beyond his ambition or power. His leadership style and office culture are abusive. The horrendous treatment of his staff is an open secret, and their alienation and abuse by him and his wife are well-known to anyone paying attention.
DeSantis and his wife run the show. It is a ‘mom and pop’ shop of malice. The construct of the operations around DeSantis are important to understand. His wife views him as inerrant. Any bad thing that happens is thus not her beloved Ron’s fault. DeSantis is the vessel of perfection in his wife and co-governor’s eyes. He is a victim and champion simultaneously in her imagination, which is imposed on her controlled world by her pedestrian office bullying. When they attacked Disney as a proxy to assault gay people, it must have given them a special satisfaction. Rarely do the unhappiest places and people get to assault the happy ones in America.
DeSantis can’t beat Trump in a primary because he isn’t tough enough. He lacks the character for direct confrontation with the big boss. He is a schemer. He wants to inherit the throne, not fight the king for it. Relations between the true seat of MAGA power and DeSantis’ backwater duchy are poor. Making a move against Trump requires courage, and the one thing that Trump is completely right about is his assessments around his court’s cowardice. He looks at DeSantis, and sees a punk. He knows that the diminutive bully strikes down, not up. Trump knows he’s weak even if the national political press corps hasn’t figured it out yet.
What DeSantis just did in Martha’s Vineyard is frontally assault the Sermon on the Mount, and the basic core concepts of all the world’s major religions. He did not welcome the stranger. He rejected every precept of Christian charity. He struck out at vulnerable people, and assaulted their dignity. He weaponized fear and deployed it. It begs a question. Why did DeSantis do this? Is he sadistic? The short answer is, probably. That’s besides the point though.
Here is what matters: this is the audition. What does he want? He wants to be the American head of state. He wants to feel what it’s like to be the commander-in-chief of the most potent and deadly military in the history of humanity. This is how he thinks he gets there. He is talking to the small group of extremist donors, pundits, academics, and militia thugs who he believes control the Republican nominating process.
DeSantis knows these people don’t want to talk about American unity. He knows they reject the notion of “E Pluribus Unum.” They aren’t interested in building or making things better. They want to punish, dominate and control half the country. DeSantis is laying his cards on the table. He is making an offering. He is trying to say, “I will hurt the people you hate”. What he is saying is, “Give me power, and anything is possible.”
It has become difficult for MAGA politicians to distinguish themselves given the magnitude and severity of their movement’s disgrace, sedition and cruelty. Yet, DeSantis has managed to do it here.
The Florida Governor is unfit, both morally and ethically. He is a “little Eichmann,” which makes him a perfect fit for MAGA.
It raises a question. How should we think about an organized conspiracy of corrupt extremists who practice cruelty as a vocation? Should they be accommodated, or confronted? Should they be given more power? Should they be rebuked? Should they be fired from positions of responsibility?
What does it mean when the practice of cruelty is put front and center, and the unfitness to lead in a pluralistic society becomes the elemental qualification for the nomination of one of the two major parties in America? It means we have arrived at an hour of national crisis that demands an end to an era defined by a lack of imagination.
Did you see those stunned and confused people this week? If it can happen to them, then it means Ron DeSantis can wish it for you. Achieving that wish doesn’t require any more malice on his part. It just requires more power. He would love to live in a world where he can do anything because he has power.
What do I think he would do with it? I think he would kill a lot of people, and I think that people who don’t see that are very naive. Why do I believe that? Look at the faces of the lost and sacred people in Martha’s Vineyard. That could be you. Achieving that is a matter of difficulty — not cruelty — for the loathsome extremist smiling with his wife in Tallahassee.