Recently at the suggestion of a friend, I read a spy novel that takes place in Germany in 1939, David Downing’s Zoo Station. In addition to being a right good read, it paints a rather nasty picture of life in Germany, especially for Jews and non-Nazis. Making towns Judenfrei, free from Jews reminds us of the current rhetoric of the more vocal and extreme of the presidential candidates. In Dana Milbank’s column in the Washington Post on Dec 19, 2015 — https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/trump-brings-bigots-out-of-hiding/2015/12/18/8a02e4ac-a587-11e5-9c4e-be37f66848bb_story.html — there are some vivid examples of the kinds of hate in the US that are eerily similar to that in Zoo Station. This is not a new fear. See Philip Roth’s The Plot Against America — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Plot_Against_America — and Sinclair Lewis’s It Can’t Happen Here — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/It_Can%27t_Happen_Here.
To anyone to the left of Ghengis Khan and with a shred more conscience should be very concerned with the popularity of some of the candidates, particularly Donald Trump and Ted Cruz.
There’s been so much written about this, that it’s not clear that there’s a lot more to offer except a warning that this is not something to be laughed off as a slight disturbance from the lunatic fringe. A large number of people apparently like the message and are willing to act on it. In a country in which the number of gun deaths is about the same this year as the number of automobile related deaths, that’s a scary thought.