Thursday, November 3, 2016

Give Me Four Years

Gebt mir vier Jahre Zeit. This slogan of 1936* makes me think about Make America great again in 2016.
*Boiled down from the Verordnung zur Durchführung des Vierjahresplans dated October 18, 1936 (Order for the implementation of the Four-Year Plan).

Small hands but an impressive thumb (©Der Spiegel)
Yesterday night at the monthly Stammtisch of the Freiburg-Madison-Gesellschaft the topic of discussion was the presidential election in the States. The renewed investigation into Hillary Clinton's e-mails is grist for Donald Trump's mill.

Ten hours ago. They are close (©NYT)
As masters of ceremony Jason Brown and René Freudenthal from the local Carl-Schurz-Haus guided the participants of the Stammtisch through the labyrinth of the presidential election with René arguing for Hillary Clinton and Jason trying hard to make the case for Donald Trump. The discussion was lively and we foreigners learned new words: Fly-over-state and striking expressions: Hillary is a wonk and Trump speaks his mind.

But let me come back to the two slogans. On Tuesday former Trump rival Gov. Scott Walker introduced the presidential nominee at a rally in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Here is what I read in yesterday's Wisconsin State Journal: This is a message for any Democratic voters who have already cast their ballots for Hillary Clinton and are having a bad case of buyer’s remorse: Wisconsin is one of several states where you can change your early ballot if you think you’ve made a mistake, Trump said. You can change your vote to Donald Trump and make America great again. She will never make America great.

I am far from comparing the two persons involved when I compare Gebt mir vier Jahre Zeit with Make America great again. However, to Germans having lived through the rise and fall of the Third Reich the similarity in the meaning is depressing in particular when realizing that the four year period is the same.

In 1940 Germany was in the midst of a war it had started while with respect to the presidential four-year-term Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and Trump biographer David Cay Johnston thinks that Trump would make it as president for just one year with his impeachment dragging on longer. From David's lips to God's ears!

In June 2010 Kathleen Canning, visiting professor at Freiburg's university, talked about the Tea Party Patriots and the resulting political polarization in the US at a Stammtisch of the Freiburg-Madison-Gesellschaft. She was deeply worried about the resulting hatred comparing the threat of physical attacks against the political adversary to the situation in the Weimar Republic. I told her: Fear not! For most Europeans and me the States were a bulwark of democracy.

These days I am not so sure anymore having watched scenes on television where Trump supporters shouted: Kill her! David Johnston said in his Spiegel interview: I would be greatly surprised that some sort of violence wouldn't erupt after the election particularly when the result is close. And Trump is fueling the sentiment apparently not knowing what he is doing.

Found on Twitter: Crusader's Pastor Thomas Robb wrote:
You can see it on the shirts, buttons, posters and ball caps
such as the one being worn here by Trump speaking at a recent rally.
... But can it happen?  Can America really be great again?
This is what we will soon find out!
Red Baron heard Trump supporters on television say that in case of Donald's defeat they are willing to take up arms. Are they prepared to march on Washington?

Johnston said about Trump that he is a megalomaniac without a moral core. Well, one of Trump's statements that he used loopholes in the law to avoid taxes seems to be just a venial sin compared with some of his other remarks during the election campaign. While well-behaved Americans pay their taxes Trump gets away with his statement and even scores with his voters when he explains: It is Hillary's fault! Why didn't she close those holes when she was in power (?) insinuating that she was not capable then and she will be incapable as president too. Red Baron is looking into a deep abyss of demagogy.

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