Dachau: (n) a city in SE Germany, near Munich, the site of Nazi concentration camp.
We forget how dangerous populists can be—because they always say such popular things.
It would be difficult to be critical of a man proclaiming the delicious virtues of chocolate until you realized he was advocating only the consumption of chocolate—to the exclusion of everything else—thus leaving his followers to many dangerous acquired conditions.
Adolph Hitler was a populist.
Long before he was a dictator—perhaps even before he became maniacal—he was a public speaker touting the exceptional nature of the German people.
He explained to them how they had been mistreated among the Europeans after World War I and that it was necessary, for the good of their heritage, to rise up and be counted.
That’s how he started.
It was difficult to disagree with him. Germany had been devastated by the First World War. There was a need for some sort of pep rally, to inspire a renovation.
But as I said, long before populists become dictators, they seem to be prophets of possibility and messengers for magnification.
When does it change?
When do populists–who seem harmless–need to be recognized for their vicious natures and set to the side or pushed out of our lives, so we don’t elevate them to positions of authority, where all of their overwrought ideas can be manifested?
When the populist starts making a group—a nationality, a gender, a lifestyle or a race—the source of all difficulty and preaches that the situation could be greatly alleviated by targeting these offending individuals.
For Hitler, it was the Jews.
Candidly, he would never have gotten away with killing Jews if the German people didn’t secretly harbor a deep-rooted prejudice against them. Going back to the music of Wagner and the lesser works of Martin Luther, there was an abiding notion in the Germanic tribe that the Jews were responsible for most evil things.
For you see, no populist could have brought about such a dastardly genocide of an innocent people without feeding off the nervous apprehension of those who came to hear.
The end result is Dachau—a prison camp organized for one purpose: to find unique and efficient ways to torture and annihilate the Jewish race.
Perhaps we should do ourselves a favor in this election season.
We should acknowledge that there are populists who desire to rule our country. Their messages may seem innocuous at this point. Matter of fact, it may appear that they are merely extolling the value of American purity or standing up for the poor and disenfranchised.
But listen carefully.
Are they whispering words of disdain, or even hatred, in the direction of a particular group of people?
What is it they are saying about humans with brown skin?
What is it they’re intimating about citizens with a lot of money?
What is their stand on gender equality?
What do they think about those brothers and sisters around them who are different?
I never listen to a populist—no matter how humorous or inspiring the message might seem.
For a populist who honors fat people will eventually do so by portraying that skinny people are evil.
And a populist who regales the beauty of being thin and healthy will eventually encourage you to hate the obese.
We can prevent Dachau.
We can remove the fuel from the ovens that killed millions of souls.
Stop feeling the need to constantly be encouraged, or eventually you will steal someone else’s dignity to supplement your own.