I am a small fish in a very large pond when it comes to politics and faith. I'm a Christian, but also a Democrat. I understand that there are plenty out there; the issue isn't about rising up in solidarity, after all. But there are far fewer politically liberal Christians in the crowds I run with than there are Conservatives. As such, I occasionally find myself in a discussion (or rather, on the receiving end of a firing squad bent on annihilating any traces of crazy leftness lurking in my ideology) about politics. Admittedly, these discussions (or ambushes) are few and far between because I'm certainly not one to tout my political savvy whilst simultaneously crouching and waiting to pounce my ideas on some unsuspecting Repub. However, in the handful of times that it has come up, especially recently, what's invoked by the 'other side' is an argument that I've yet been able to counter, despite its obvious holes in logic and massive margin of error. Jon Meacham wrote a thoughtful article in this week's Newsweek titled, "Hitler and Health Care Don't Mix." In it, he was able to articulately and fairly refute what so many have fallen back upon as their one-two punch in a discussion about politics. Here are a few quotes:
[Regarding the banality of evil] "...We are in danger of turning evil itself into a triviality when we draw on the images of Hitler's Germany to make political points in debates that are in no way comparable to the terrors of Nazism.""Given the enormity of the evil perpetrated by Nazi Germany, it seems reasonable to suggest a moratorium on the deployment of Third Reich imagery and language in domestic political conflicts that, while important, fall immeasurably short of Hitler's territorial ambitions and his Final Solution."His final thought is this: "...The example of Hitler should not be invoked lightly or often. In this case, less is more; to deploy nazi imagery as a matter of course diminishes one of humankind's most potent lessons of its meaning and its power."
Well stated, sir. I'm all for the healthy discussion of opposing viewpoints, but when the tactics of argument rely on the tired tropes of recalling a horrific period in history and then flouting its gravity by drawing cheap comparisons, I'll agree with Meacham that "The summer of 2009 has not been our finest hour on this front."