Linguist, scholar, and political commentator Noam Chomsky offered a sobering comparison between the rise of Donald Trump and Adolf Hitler at the 20th anniversary of "Democracy Now!" in Manhattan, New York.
Chomsky, who was born in 1928, witnessed the Nazis envelop Europe during his childhood. In his speech to "Democracy Now!," a radio and television news organization dedicated to elevating stories unheard on mainstream media, he compared watching Trump's presidential election to the infamous Nuremberg rallies of Nazi Germany.
"I’m old enough to have been able to listen to Hitler’s speeches, the Nuremberg rallies," said Chomsky to the crowd of over 2,300 people, "not understanding the words, but the tone and the reaction of the crowd was enough to leave indelible memories. And watching those [election] results come in did arouse some pretty unpleasant memories, along with what is happening in Europe now, which, in many ways, is pretty frightening, as well."
The Nuremberg rallies were yearly gatherings under Hitler's reign full of speeches and propaganda designed to promote the Nazi message. As we see people publicly espousing Nazi values, a proliferation of vandalism with swastikas, and countless hate crimes since Trump's election, it is frightening to contemplate such an apt comparison.
In a discussion with activist, actor, and singer Harry Belafonte, and Amy Goodman of "Democracy Now!," Chomsky offered some hope in the face of the neo-Nazism and fascism we are already seeing under Trump.
"There’s been tremendous progress. That means that struggles today start from a much higher plane than they did not many years ago," Chomsky said. "There has been plenty of progress, because people, facing much harsher conditions than we do, didn’t give up. That’s an important lesson."
Chomsky said he sees hope in the next generation, who were "overwhelmingly anti-Trump and even more overwhelmingly pro-(Bernie) Sanders."
"It’s really very much in our hands," he said, "to carry us forward in this long path — long, arduous path — towards trying to create a civilized society and a decent world."
Chomsky, who not only lived through the time when Hitler terrorized Europe, but is also widely respected and highly-educated on political issues, has a special insight into the historical significance of Trump's election. Hopefully Americans would do well to stay alert to his warning, but also hold onto his message of hope and cooperation for a better, brighter future.
Banner Image Credit: Screenshot