At the very beginning I want to make it clear just how important this post is to me. All the personal details in it are true. I have deliberately left out some details to protect the innocent and preserve people’s dignity.
What I am trying to say here is complicated. Right now, I don’t give much of a fuck about what Trump said at some speech this or what some other politician said that. This isn’t about the grand scheme of things, this is about real people.
Since my last post on the subject of Charlottesville and Nazis I have found out that a friend of mine has started falling down the Nazi rabbit hole. He has been posting borderline white supremacist shit on social media and it is causing a lot of hurt in the people that know and love him.
Let me tell you about my friend. I’ve known him since I was in college. I was a student, he was a townie, we met through mutual acquaintances.
He’s a few years younger than me, so early 30’s. He’s got a couple of very young kids. He is a veteran, and served his country honorably. He didn’t go into the service right out of high school because he didn’t finish high school, he dabbled in pot and ended up dropping out. He joined up as an act of turning his life around.
He wasn’t a bad guy or even a dumb one. He’s actually a very talented musician. He is the product of a nasty divorce in a small town where one’s dirty laundry has a tendency to go public and become a source of gossip. This lead to depression and ultimately to self medication with marijuana.
By the time I met him, he had gotten past most of that, but a high school dropout with no skills isn’t a way to make a living, so off to basic he went.
He’s been out of the military for a few years and has his GED. He moved back to the small town he came from and started a family. Work has been sporadic, economic grown in his rural town in the Midwest hasn’t been good.
He moved to Indianapolis for a while for work. He had gotten a promotion that precipitated the move, but the reality of life kept that from panning out. Rent in his small town for a place big enough for him and his kids was $300 per month. In Indy, it was $1,200. Likewise, in his small town, he had a support network. Friends and family that could help him out. Someone who could watch the kids if he had to work overtime. In Indy, it was daycare and babysitters, which cost money. The job paid more but the cost of living was radically higher and in the end the economics of it just didn’t balance out. Back home he went.
Before the election he was a honest-to-God Bernie fan.
I can tell you honestly, he’s not a Jew hater. I never heard a word of that from him before. He’s not a racist either. Not that I knew him to be.
So why the fall down the Nazi rabbit hole?
Because he’s in pain. He’s a young, white, man. He’s made some mistakes in his life but he really wants to do better for his kids. Life just keeps kicking him in the balls.
On it’s own that’s rough. Having shit rubbed in his face is worse.
He goes on social media and some worthless cunt of a human being has the audacity to remind him that he’s white and has white privilege, and that other people are more oppressed than he is.
When a run to the Wal-Mart consists of diapers, formula, and ramen because that’s all he can afford this week, he’s emotionally tapped out. Telling him that he shouldn’t complain because people don’t follow him around the store suspicious of him as a shoplifter because he is white is just pouring salt in his wounds when he can barely afford to go to the store to buy fucking diapers in the first place.
He gets the distinct impression that absolutely nobody gives a fuck about how much he is struggling, how hard it is for him in his small town, how hard is it for his small town in general, and when he is screaming in pain at the top of his lungs, the feedback he gets on Facebook is “fuck you white man.”
Bernie was going to help him (not really, but it’s what he believed). The DNC shit on him. Trump was going to help him. Now The Resistance™ is shitting on him again.
He is completely out of fucks to give about Confederate memorials or who got shot by a cop wherever because he’s too busy trying to stay employed.
So what happens next. He finds some Nazis online. Real white supremacists. Actual Jew haters. Genuine Racists. And they care about him – or at least they seem to. They show him sympathy. They understand how hard it is in small town Middle America and they don’t shit on him for being white and hoping Trump will turn his small town around and make it easier for him to find a job. It’s breath of fresh air for him.
He has his toe in the rabbit hole, and now the indoctrination begins.
Why am I saying all of this?
Because I believe he can be saved. He’s not a Nazi. The guy I palled around with when I was in college isn’t a true believer. He’s a hurting young man glomming onto something to help him. This is cult psychology to a T.
I don’t want to hate him. I believe he can be saved.
Following the aftermath of Charlottesville, I believe my friend’s experience is how we got here.
(And this is where we get political)
The reality is that this is the Weimar Republic all over again. Germany was hit with the same economic disaster that the rest of the Western World was in the 1920’s. The story of Reichsmark hyperinflation is the stuff of legend – people wall papering their homes with bank notes because the notes were worth less than wall paper.
Yes, Germany was filled with anti-Semites, pretty much all of Europe was. I am not condoning that at all. But how did the Nazi party go from the fringe to the lead of German society? A generation of Germans came of age under the Treaty of Versailles, economically broken, they were forced to suffer under the indignity of being blamed for WWI. The Nazis came along and reminded the German people that they were the victims of Jews, Communists, other untermensch. The Nazis took control under the guise of restoring dignity to the downtrodden German people. All the German people needed to do was exterminate all the non Aryans and invade Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Russia for lebensraum. There was no real solution for German suffering but the power was in finding scapegoats for German suffering and murdering them.
One of the greatest acts of policy ever put in place by any nation ever, was the Marshall Plan. This was an economic plan by the United States to rebuild Europe after WWII. It was done explicitly to prevent the rise of another Naziesque group by helping the German people and preserving their dignity.
At the same time, the Allied nations held the Nuremberg Trials and executed a shitload of Nazis.
What’s the parallel here. There are real Nazis. There are real white supremacists. There are true believers who are filled with hate, to know the racists conspiracies are true. They are vile and dangerous and are the reason I stockpile guns and ammo.
For ever one of them, there are five, ten, a hundred downtrodden white guys who just want a job that isn’t shit with an income that will do more than get them ramen and diapers, and listens to them when they say “my life is hard” and doesn’t shoot back with “fuck you and your white privilege.”
I truly, honestly, believe that they can be brought around. They are lashing out in pain and anger. Condemn the Nazi attitude but help the people and they will stop being Nazis. Double down on them and they will become entrenched and irredeemable.
I know it’s difficult to say “I want to help a Nazi” but to dismiss the countless people who through suffering were driven to Nazism is only going to fracture us more.
We have to acknowledge that inside the chanting and ranting and racist posting there are legitimate grievances. Those grievances must be separated from the racist bullshit that goes along with it, and addressed in a serious way.
Yes, you are suffering economically. Yes, you small town has not recovered from the recession. No, it’s not the fault of Jewish bankers and Zionist Communists.
Simply dismissing EVERYTHING they have to say because Nazi will only drive them further over the edge.
Believe me. When it comes to shooting true, dyed in the wool, Nazis, I’m on board
For the wide swath of angry, hurting, beaten down white men tempted to extremism, we need Marshall Plan for America. We need to turn Weimar America around before the extreme ideologies harden and a tiny fringe movement has enough people to try and become a Fourth Reich.
I’d much rather help a friend through crisis now than have to shoot him in the face later.