A Texas Republican has put himself on the hot seat for comparing Senator Bernie Sanders, who is both Jewish and a democratic socialist, to Hitler’s Nazi Party in a tweet. As ignorant of history as he is devoid of tact, this is not the first time Rep. Jason Villalba of Texas’ 114th District has been called out for his intolerance, having previously sponsored a right-to-discriminate bill aimed against LBGT Americans and tried to criminalize filming police.
This is the tweet and the shocking meme that is circulating on the far-right:
Hitler’s National Socialist German Worker’s Party, or Nazi Party, was originally a ultranationalist group which believed in giving social welfare to Aryan Germans through profit-sharing rather than traditional conceptions of socialism, and were always virulently anti-Semitic and violently opposed anything resembling Russian Bolshevism. They were the antithesis of democratic socialism, which, for the last time, has absolutely nothing to do with either Leninist Communism, Stalinist totalitarianism, German National Socialism, or Maoism, or any of the other Cold War era boogeymen that Republicans see in their nightmares.
Villalba might have been prompted to such a provocatively offensive comment because he’s facing pressure from a primary challenger in an upcoming election. In any case, it is enormously insulting to compare Bernie Sanders’ genuine desire to improve the lives of everyday Americans to a genocidal totalitarian regime. The profound ignorance is just astonishing and the message is very disturbing. As Donald Trump mutates into a proto-fascist, early-Mussolini type of cheap rabble-rouser, the number of Nazi references coming from the right-wing is alarmingly high. How desperate does one have to be to sink so low?
How long will it take it for America to shed the compulsive rejection of socialist ideas that corporate America and the Republican Party have drilled into our heads? The right makes these associations with Nazism because they are terrified that a democratic socialist like Bernie Sanders would recognize the obscene highway robbery that has taken place in our nation over the past thirty years. The money isn’t trickling down; hypercapitalism has turned on the middle class, and now the oligarchs feed off the carcass of our economic prosperity, engorged but never sated. The attacks on Bernie are just going to get worse; for the sake of our nation, it is vital that we remain informed and understand what is really being said by the media and our candidates.
Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.