My Debt to Hitler
I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for Hitler. My mom was a refugee from Nazi Germany. She grew up in Berlin. She fled with her family to Shanghai in ’38 and she eventually made it to the States in ’45, where she met my dad about nine years later.
So, thanks, brother Adolph! Little did you know that all your furious bluster about thousand-year reichs and master races was really just necessary historical prelude to the emergence of HIGHER THOUGHT: THE CANNABIS GAME. I bet that never even could have occurred to you, not in your wildest dreams, and I bet your dreams were pretty wild.
I’m thinking about unintended consequences tonight, and labyrinthian mysteries. Like, I have this Higher Thought card on my fridge that says “Share evidence that the universe is friendly to human beings.” (Thanks, Jill, for conceiving that great question.) The problem for me is that I can find plenty of evidence, but when I look at the world, it looks a lot to me like that story I just shared about me and Hitler. It all kind of worked out for my agenda, but not so much for the millions of people murdered and tortured by the Nazis.
I have plenty of evidence that the universe is friendly to ME, but much less evidence that it is friendly to humans in general, or even friendly at all. Life looks like pretty brutal business to me, from the only perspective I have, which is my own, which is pretty limited.
71, 72 million people voted for Trump in 2020. Are you one, by any chance?
I have heard so many compelling theories – sophisticated social and psychological analyses – of what motivated people to vote for Donald Trump this year. I have read extensive and incisive commentary on the topic of Trump voters. I have absorbed the thoughts and opinions of brilliant friends (mostly on Facebook).
But I have heard nothing yet from the source. I have not yet spoken directly with a single Trump voter and posed the question Why?
If you’re a Biden voter – that is, a fellow denizen of my own political and cultural bubble — and you want to tell me that a Trump voter wouldn’t be honest with me (as a few of my Facebook friends have asserted) and/or wouldn’t be honest with him- or herself (ditto), then my response to you is that I just want to hear what they’d say anyway. That’s a start. I would gain new information, regardless of what they tell me, because I’d actually be hearing their own words.
If you’re a Trump voter, please get in touch. I just want to ask you … and just hear you. No more than that. I have nothing to tell you and I am not out to change you. I just want to begin to understand.
If you are not a Trump voter but know one who might be willing to talk to me (or at least write me), please send them my way.
So What’s All This Got to Do with Hitler?
Not much. Maybe there is no tie-in. Perhaps these are random disconnected thoughts. If so, here’s one more:
The news pundits and pollsters reported that the coronavirus was an issue of “top concern” to voters. And the difference between the candidates’ positions was pretty stark.
Biden: Listen to the scientists; take all reasonable precautions; keep everyone as safe as possible; cooperate to protect everyone, including our most vulnerable citizens.
Trump: Ride it out. If you don’t feel like wearing a mask or keeping social distance, then don’t. Do what you feel. The strong will survive. Don’t let fear of the virus dominate you.
(I mean, he actually tweeted – after he himself had received all-star medical care — “Don’t be afraid of COVID. Don’t let it dominate your life.” That was his message to America!)
I’m just saying, the implicit attitude that the “weak” are dispensable anyway and it isn’t likely YOU who will die from the virus … that’s awfully close to “master race” mentality, isn’t it? The callousness of it? Casting basic disregard of others’ health and safety as some sort of patriotic expression of freedom and dignity??
I am flabbergasted by what I perceive as stunningly sophisticated gaslighting and insidious pitches to the darkest impulses in us all by Trump and his people.
So you know where I stand.
But then, I have dwelt in a political and cultural bubble my entire adult life. Almost by definition, there’s a lot I can’t see. Maybe I’m missing something important right now, at this loaded historical moment.
And maybe, just like with Hitler and Higher Thought, some good can come of this.
I promise, I’m not going to try and convince you of anything. Maybe you can convince me of something, I don’t know. Or at least give me something to think about that I haven’t thought of.
If you’re a Trump voter, just talk to me.
I know that these times are holding up a mirror to us all. But I can’t see into this mirror clearly.
71, 72 million people. Some of you must be very nice, as well as thoughtful. It seems a statistical impossibility that that isn’t the case.
But I’m not demanding you be nice or smart. Maybe you’re neither. Maybe I’m neither. Just tell me how you see things. That’s enough for now.
I may respectfully ask for more at another time, and you can ask me anything you want. After all, we need each other’s brilliance. Never more than right now.