After our first issue of the semester, we at The Lamron decided to put a moratorium on articles about Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. If we wanted to, we could have written two articles every week about his ridiculous rhetoric and perplexing personality. We’ve decided, however, that it’s time to lift the ban this week. Trump released a statement on his website on Monday Dec. 7—a day that lives in infamy for another reason—“calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.” The real estate mogul cites statistics from far-right research centers to defend his position. This position, however, is nothing short of Hitlerian.
I don’t want to put words into Trump’s mouth—though I’m sure I won’t have to—but it seems like the next step in Trump’s logic is to build concentration camps. It’s easy to forget that the U.S. government set up internment camps for Japanese-Americans during World War II. The conditions were not as extreme as those faced by European Jews, but they were concentration camps nonetheless. In an interview with TIME magazine, Trump recently confessed that he was unsure of whether or not he would have supported internment camps in WWII.
“I would have had to be there at the time to tell you, to give you a proper answer,” he said. “It’s a tough thing … But you know war is tough. And winning is tough. We don’t win anymore. We don’t win wars anymore.” Besides making himself sound like a more obnoxious Charlie Sheen, Trump’s rhetoric is terrifyingly dangerous. The fear tactics he’s using are reminiscent of Adolf Hitler in a shocking way.
In a September 1942 speech, Hitler said, “If world Jewry launches another war in order to destroy the Aryan nations of Europe, it will not be the Aryan nations that will be destroyed, but the Jews.” If Trump had said this about the Muslim world destroying the U.S., I don’t think anyone would honestly be surprised.
If there is a silver lining, it’s that Trump’s own party has denounced his statements. Former Vice President Dick Cheney went on conservative talk show host Hugh Hewitt’s radio show and said, “I think this whole notion that somehow we can just say no more Muslims, just ban a whole religion, goes against everything we stand for and believe in.” Cheney hit the nail on the head. Religious freedom is one of the most important principles of American society. It’s directly written into the First Amendment—which makes Trump’s plan ultimately unconstitutional.
Fellow Republican presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio also went on Hugh Hewitt’s show, but was less firm in his condemnation of Trump’s statement. “What he proposed was not well thought out. It was impulsive. He didn’t think it through,” Rubio said. “It violates the Constitution. It places a religious test. And it isn’t the best way to do this.” Rubio continued on to suggest a more intense vetting process for immigrants and refugees.
Philosopher George Santayana originated the concept that those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it. This logic has never been more relevant than it is now when discussing Trump’s bigoted statements. Trump has shown the American people that if he were elected, he would institute policies that would make the U.S. resemble 1933 Germany.
For those of us who know any amount of history, we know what will happen next if there is a President Trump.