Trump ardent supporters hate many of the epitaphs hurled at them. They don’t want anybody calling them members of a political cult. They do not like being framed as racists, bigots, White Supremacists, Alt-righters, or even yes, one of Clinton's "deplorables".
Nor do Trump critics appreciate being called "haters" or suffering from Trump Derangement Syndrome. Nor are we thrilled when we’re called traitors.
Then, there are the historical comparisons.
Trump loyalists turn red with anger when someone brings up Hitler. Democrats and liberals recoil when the names of Stalin or "Che" Guevara are raised, either. All of us want to be considered independent thinkers, willing to buck the crowd, to be herdsmen, not sheep. We express our disdain when we are being accused of being victims of propaganda.
Yet, in our American politics, we see some frightening trends. Our friends are raising hateful slogans into our public discussions in the media and on Twitter and Facebook.
We don’t like it, nor do they when we bring up the topics. We all deplore the acidity rancor of today’s political environment, but we do know that some issues simply need to be discussed, even if it hurts.
I have always refrained the best I could from claiming that Trump supporters were cultists or bringing up Germany. I always try to state the boundaries of my comparisons. I often say that my reference is prior to Hitler becoming Chancellor. I surely disclaim that I am making any Holocaust comparisons. I don't appreciate if somebody labels my criticisms as socialist or if somebody calls me a Trump hater or claim that I have TDS.
Yet, I don't quite understand some of the warnings we are witnessing in our society. I feel that we do need to heed these yellow lights of caution, to halt the red glow of disaster. So how do we accomplish this, so we become historical repeats? If the goal truly is to understand differences, to make sure we do not cause irreparable future harm, isn't there a way for us to respectfully engage? I believe the answer is "yes". If the object is to learn, not to hurt others, then I feel we an obligation to broach these sensitive topics without repudiation.
I believe it is a legitimate discussion to question why the Democratic Party has suddenly moved further left, that the leading candidate, a Democratic Socialist, is possibly going to symbolize the party. Thus, would it be wrong for conservatives to ask Americans to look at facts that exist in our society to determine if we are following the route of Venezuela or the former Soviet Union?
We can’t hide from our past. We must use it as guideposts.
For example, many of us want to maintain historical monuments in our communities that we consider to be offensive symbols. We don't want to glorify the horrors they represent, but we do want them to be tools of education. Hiding from history only results in our repeating the errors of yesterday.
If we intend to educate, to understand, or to resolve, are references to those tabooed topics, rightfully verboten?
Screaming that a frequent Trump detractor is a Trump hater, is a way to hurt or to embarrass. Claiming that a poster is suffering from TDS is a harsh put-down, but it provides little value to the discussion. Labeling a Trump supporter as a Nazi, a fascist, or a cultist demeans those that might support this President, but nothing more.
Yet, historical comparisons are essential.
We must understand the reasons the Democratic Party is ignoring signs that are making comparisons to Venezuela or the Soviet Union possible. We must understand the impact of Trump’s negating facts, calling the media FAKE NEWS, citing political opponents as traitors, and the risks of giving him inordinate powers. There absolutely are historical parallels to pre-totalitarian Germany. Berating those trying to understand lessons from the past will morph them as the future
If the apparent purpose of the label or the historical inquiry is to insult the opposition, then, the epitaphs have no place. But, legitimately comparing the past to the present, even if the linkage hurts, should not prevent the discussion. Not comparing present and past trends are an insult to our history.
Hiding comparisons is cowardice and harmful. All of us must face realities. We must admit their existence.