Over the last five years, I unfriended a handful of Trump supporters on Facebook, but I did not do so because of their politics—people can support whatever politician they want. I unfriended them for frequently spreading misinformation in order to inspire hate of others.
For instance, some said things about universities and professors that were simply not true. None of these friends had been on a college campus for years, and yet, they felt confident about what they were saying. But I retorted: I am a professor, and what you are saying about us has no basis in reality.
As a scholar of the Holocaust, I fear that what we are witnessing today is something that happened in Germany, which is the uncanny power of the politics of hate to motivate people to support a particular party. We see this most clearly in the Nazi Party Program in which the Nazis define themselves as a Christian party. But more than that, they define themselves as Christians who fight “the spirit of Jewish materialism within us and without us.”
To get the people’s support, the Nazis identified an enemy (Jews) and then lied about them in order to get people’s support. That is precisely what Trump has been doing for the last seven years, and unfortunately, it has trickled down to many of his supporters. The problem is that his politics of hatred and lies is dividing us as a country.
We don’t have to be each other’s enemies. We can disagree but still treat each other with respect. But we need to stop lying about others in order to win people’s support. As a country, we can be much better than we currently are.
Michael Lackey – Morris