I’ve arrived! Or, Why calling people Hitler is so wrong…

8 11 2011

Ooh, I’m so proud. Just in time for Movember, I’ve been equated with that most well-known of mustache wearers, Hitler. I feel honoured. After all, Obama and almost every social democrat existing has been equated (for some reason) with Hitler and fascism and communism and all that stuff, so I feel I’m in a good crowd. And, Like Mark Twain, I’ve always viewed myself as much more likely to be happy in hell than in heaven, so it’s all good.

So who equated me with Hitler? Ah, that’s the best thing. That would be my daughter, a professional psychic damage claimer, who has argued for years that she saw something scary in the woodshed that has somehow to do with me (to others, as she refuses to say anything to me, though she assured me some time ago that it wasn’t anything I did)(though obviously she has changed this view – I can only blame my occasional emails to her, which read: “Hi, how are you? Miss you and love you.” – so obviously offensive, you know?) She is, of course, vegan, and trendy and ever so wise. My favourite thing is how she tells her dad that her degree cannot be used as that would be reinforcing the lines of privilege. How helpful. I’m so glad we set aside money from my parent’s estate and saved for her to pay many thousands of dollars for her to reach this realization. I expect payback, daughter, if you deign to read this. You owe me about $30,000 in today’s money, and I could use it. If you truly abhor privilege, send it to me. And you owe some to your grandfather, too.

So, she recently equated me with Hitler. I do not see the comparison. Yes, I have a mustache, but I’m getting electrolysis. I have never sent thousands to their death, I am not vegetarian, and I don’t speak German well enough to lead a mass of acolytes. The whole thing makes me want to go out and eat veal and foie gras. And learn Russian. Maybe fight for socialism even more. Adopt homeless children.

But, although I am furious today about the “casual” remark she made to my ex, that’s not my point today.

Remembrance Day is coming up this week. And everywhere we turn we hear people being called Hitler. Does no one remember what he was? He was NOT a joke. He wasn’t a minor player. Because of him, thousands and thousands of people died, in the camps, in the trenches, in the air, on the sea. Calling people Hitler minimizes what he did, what his damage was. It is so very wrong. I’d like to ban that name from the language, like the Christians resist calling out the name of Satan.

And, scariest of all, he wasn’t unique. There are many like him, many who also cause death and disruption and hatred and genocide and bizarre battles that confound our sentient minds. Stalin, Gaddafi, warlords in Afghanistan, Africa, and South America, violent racists, misled religious leaders, conservatives trying to send women to their deaths in back street abortion clinics…evil abounds. And it should not, must not, be minimized.

Joking or name-calling is inappropriate in this time when the line between evil and despair is so thin. It’s so easy to be cynical and take the world with a sideways glance, doing nothing to improve things, relying on meaningless rants to vent fury, not voting, accusing all politicians of being invalid, vanishing from public service of any sort. Why not be creative and bring some solutions to the table? Why not take the education or knowledge or experience you have and ACT? Not destructively, not angrily, but positively?

Why not follow the philosophy of the Improv Games, which I adore? When offered an idea that you don’t agree with, instead of saying no, say “Yes, and…”

So, I’m going to respond to my miscreant daughter, and say, So, I’m like Hitler? Yes, and you have some of his tendencies, too. What shall we do about our tendencies to categorize and hate? How shall we work to prevent the dark side of ourselves from winning? We must take on ourselves and wrestle ourselves into goodness.

And daughter, I love you, and miss you. But that’s enough. Grow up.

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