There’s something seriously wrong in our country when a national media figure (yes, his site The Blaze was recently awarded the Charles Darwin prize) like Glenn Beck can put on a display honoring the Nazis with awe-inspiring sadism and we don’t bat an eye.
During Beck’s “Man on the Moon” rally, Beck rented a few rooms at the Grand America Hotel in Salt Lake City to display his “Independence Through History” exhibit.
According to Alexandra Karl — a descendant of survivors of the Holocaust who attended the exhibit — in one room, Tea Partier and rabid extremist (pardon the redundancy) David Barton contributed to Beck’s exhibit, which included sculptures of simian slaves and 18th century Bibles. Barton’s extremism has found a comfy home in the Tea wing of the GOP; Republican Mike Huckabee wanted to force us all at gunpoint to learn from David Barton.
But it’s Beck’s personal collection that is the most disturbing. From KKK robes to Hitler’s blood, Beck let his not-so-hidden, sadistic white supremacist out. Alexandra Karl detailed for the Salt Lake Tribune:
The adjoining room contained objects from Glenn Beck’s personal collection. This included a hooded KKK cape and a swastika banner which had been used at Nuremberg. Underneath was an illuminated vitrine containing a copy of Mein Kampf signed by Adolf Hitler, a stack of love letters by Hermann Göring, and a satin handkerchief browned with Hitler’s blood. Nearby was an early edition of Anne Frank’s Diary.
Ms. Karl pointed out that the survival of such memorabilia can only be achieved with help from Nazi sympathizers, “More than 70 old, most of the detritus of Germany’s Nationalsozialisten was destroyed after the war and continue to be banned to this day. The survival of such “memorabilia” can only be achieved with help from Nazi sympathizers wishing to pass on the torch.”
The writer wondered if the apathy with which her fellow citizens met this macabre display is the same kind of apathy that allowed the Nazis to mushroom out of control, “To add insult to injury, Beck’s displays were met with complete apathy by the citizens of Salt Lake City.”
This kind of “insensitivity” is actually not insensitivity at all. It is a deliberate choice to inflict pain on others. It indicates a derivation of pleasure at the hand of cruelty. It’s the calling card of a sadist.
Speaking of “insensitivity”, suffering from what Jon Stewart termed “Nazi Tourettes”, Beck has accused many people of being a Nazi, including comparing New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to a Nazi during Beck’s address to the National Rifle Association. Bloomberg is Jewish. Beck has also accused the first black President of being a Nazi, and compared Al Gore and the Peace Corp to Hilter and the Nazis. These are not the statements of a mentally well grown up.
Beck, who at one time led the Tea Party teamed up with Sister Cruel Heart Sarah Palin, has an unhealthy obsession with the Nazis. While he accuses anyone he disagrees with of actually being a Nazi, and doesn’t seem to grasp the political history behind the Nazis, at the same time he harbors a personal collection of Nazi memorabilia that is banned in the country where these atrocities happened. He chose to display Hitler’s blood near Anne Frank’s diary.
The Nazis killed over 6 million Jews in conservative estimates, and utilized systematic state-sponsored murder to kill millions of others they considered “inferior” for being disabled, Polish, gay, Romani people, etc. Many died being subjected to slave labor in concentration camps while others were murdered in mass shootings. The Nazis used extermination camps to murder millions in the gas chambers. The Nazis justified the killings, saying the Jews were life unworthy of life, “Lebensunwertes Leben”.
It’s time we just admit that the Tea Party, who cheer executions and the deaths of the uninsured, were led by greedy, parasitic and willfully ignorant egomaniacs into the pit of Hell, replete with an ugly hatred for anyone who doesn’t join in their vicious taunting.
No, the Tea Party hasn’t committed mass murder. One could argue that their beloved ALEC’s Stand Your Ground laws coupled with unregulated gun purchases and a constant dehumanizing of the “others” are creating an environment where murder is more likely, but that isn’t the same thing as systemically engaging in direct mass murder.
But they embody much of the twisted contempt for humanity that is required in order for the death of another human to be less disturbing. These are not adolescent children laughing because they are uncomfortable; these are grown ups, leading a fringe political party that has taken over one of the two major political parties in this country.
Nazi memorabilia. Dressing African Americans up in slave outfits. Dressing up in KKK capes, knowing that the KKK murders black people for no reason other than the color of their skin. Devoting energy and time to collecting Hitler’s blood. It’s all “good fun” for some people, but deeply troubling for the descendants of the victims and for anyone who understands that we must always remember history lest we repeat it.
Beck has the freedom to do this, but we as a culture have the right to shame him for it and I’d suggest, the moral duty to shame him for it.