Thursday, December 10, 2015
Henry Ford and Donald Trump
Donald Trump is not the first rich guy to try to lead his country over a cliff.
Eighty years ago there was Henry Ford.
Also rich. Also famous. Also an object of fascination.
Which he used as a platform to spew his vicious anti-Semitism. He blamed the Jews for World War I, for all wars. And for controlling the press, and Hollywood.
As bad as it is to be a fan of Hitler, Ford was worse.
Hitler was a fan of his—Henry Ford is the only American mentioned in Mein Kampf.
“You can tell Herr Ford that I am a great admirer of his,” Hitler once said. “I shall do my best to put his theories into practice in Germany. ... I regard Henry Ford as my inspiration.”
And he did. Hitler was grateful to Ford. In 1938, Nazi Germany awarded Ford the Grand Cross of the German Eagle, which Ford accepted. The medal was displayed at his museum at Greenfield Village. I saw it.
Now Donald Trump, the 2015 Henry Ford, tells us that our enemies are Muslims. He fans the real fear in our hearts, put there by terror attacks by Muslim fanatics. And in doing that, he does the bidding of terrorists, because they commit these acts as a way to drive a wedge between Islam and the modernizing force of the West. Donald Trump is a pawn of ISIS as much as if he showed up in a cave fingering a Kalashnikov.
Many Republicans seem to be fooled, to their permanent shame. Trump is an embarrassment that won't soon wash off. Then again, they're just being true to form. The GOP has long been the party that would take this country back to the white-dominated, Christian-centric country they imagine it once was.
Even though it was never that way.
Trump speaks to fear and ignorance and prejudice. And the fearful and ignorant and prejudiced love him for it.
But this is America, still, and we who are not fearful, not ignorant, not prejudiced, can speak too.
What should we say?
I know what I'd like to say. Something simple, forceful, and direct. Something like:
Fuck you, Donald Trump.
Because I'll be damned if Trump represents my country, a beautiful land where people are free to believe, free to worship, free to speak. Where the narrow tribalism that wrecks so much of the world has no place. Where we judge people by their own words and actions, and not by the actions of some other members of their religious or racial group. Trump's words and actions have already done much to damage our country, to encourage and inspire our foes. White nativists, normally so scorned and marginalized, love Trump, because they know that a man who would bar all Muslims would burn all Jews. A man who says Mexicans are rapists would say blacks are lazy. He is capable of anything.
Up to now, decent people have tried to ignore Trump's rantings because he's a clown, a sideshow. Hitler was a clown, too. Right up to the time he wasn't. And Henry Ford was his helper and inspiration. We must not tolerate Donald Trump, our present day Henry Ford, long enough for him to become more serious than he already is. This has gone on too long already.
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Greenfield Village(Ford museum) is an interesting place to visit as is the Edison lab there.ReplyDelete
Yes, Ford was a snake in more ways than one-a lecherer and anti-labor along with the aforementioned problems.
Kaiser Wilhelm was another anti-Semite that had to strut for WW1 to quench his arrogance and insecurity. And who had to suffer for it? Too bad they didn't hang him when he ran to the Netherlands. He didn't respect his other royal cousins much either. Trump is a cross between Wilhelm and Adolph. Sure, we must be leary of a few Muslims or those hiding behind it, but he goes to another extreme. Now the other Republicans are denouncing him. Didn't I say that he would say something one day that might ruin him? The old saying is "give 'em enough rope." Well he's getting there.
Let's remember that Germany used chemical warfare on the troops in WW1 and look what happened in WW2. Now their economy is the one of the best in Europe. Maybe it's Germans we should fear even these days. (wink)
Ghost, why don't you move to another nation then? Vacationing in Siberia might be a start. America has stood for a lot more than what you claim. Perhaps a shrink can help you with your negative thinking.
Trump is more like Mussolini than Hitler.Delete
Trump struts around like Mussolini & constantly makes jokes, just like Benito.
Plus Trump isn't an anti-Semite as he still likes his daughter, who converted to marry her Orthodox Jewish husband.
In fact, Trump likes his daughter so much, he wants to bang her! The Daily Show has been having a lot of fun at Trump's expense this last week on that point.
And don't forget, Jon Stewart came up for a new nickname for the Short fingered vulgarian, he called him Fuckface von Clownstick!
You make a good point, Clark, about his not hating Jews.Delete
Though I think you're out of line on that incestuous line. His daughter should have said, if you want me, I'm not converting or he should go the Reformed route at least. No wonder she's having baby after baby, on 3 now already. They are usually against birth control.
(meaning his daughter to her fiancee' at the time) I'm guessing Trump wasn't super thrilled with her decision though he might not say that in public.Delete
Clark, you are right, I'm sure Ford hired executives in the modern days.
Or Ford co. hired Jewish folks in the modern days.Delete
That was Sanford who said Jews probably work at Ford now, not Clark.Delete
Okay, there was a comment from Ghost here I responded to and now it's gone. Mr. S, perhaps you can remove that portion of my comment then.ReplyDelete
Is that a photo of an old Ford plant? where? not DearbornDelete
I'd have to remove the whole thing, and I think you make good points. Ghost was just being idiotic, and while I permit it as a later comment, I didn't want it to be the first one.Delete
To Anon: There isn't an abandoned Ford plant in Chicago, as the one at Pershing & Wabash was torn down decades ago, a fire station occupies most of the property now.Delete
But directly adjacent to that plant, was the Kimball Manufacturing plant at Pershing & Michigan which still stands & is used for record storage. Typical multi-story factory from the 1890s with a red brick exterior & a clock tower to hide the water tank.
I forget to add that Kimball made the wooden frames for the Madel Ts that were assembled next door.Delete
thanks for the info, ClarkDelete
When I've spoken of the evil mind that was ford, people have looked at me like I'm crazy. You are spot on comparing the heinous trump to him. My Catholic husband doesn't really understand why it bothers me even now that he bought a Ford car. At leasr I know he'd never vote for the orangutan.ReplyDelete
We always preferred GM anyhow. Not sure what your husband being Catholic has anything to do with why he doesn't get it about Ford.Delete
How far should a moral person be willing to go, to stop Trump? Are you implying we need to vote in the Republican Primary, for anyone but Trump??? There seems to be few if any races in the Democratic Primary, requiring responsible voters. The peril we face may demand such an extreme measure. The only bright side to a Trump presidency I can foresee is future generations would get to make and watch grade-B horror movies with titles like, "They Saved Trump's Brain", or "The Thing with Two Heads", Trump and Dr. Ben Carson?ReplyDelete
No, I'm more saying that the condemnation should be louder than it is. And if Bernie Sanders doesn't win his primaries and defeat Clinton, he needs to get out of the way. No Ralph Nader handing the election to the Republicans, again.Delete
Sanders has already said he won't run as an independent (even though that's how he's registered in the Senate), and I hope he has enough integrity to mean what he says.Delete
Trump, OTOH, has not ruled out a third-party run if he's not "treated fairly" by the Republican party. Who knows what that could possibly mean, but I hope he does run independently, and takes his yahoos with him. That would make Clinton even more of a lock than she already is.
Let us hope that Trump will go back on his word with signing that so called contract, and split the Republican party after all. Cruz might get the official nom., not that he's a prize. But then neither is Hillary. What choices we are stuck with!Delete
Yes, movies like they'd show on the Svengoolie program.ReplyDelete
The only problem in crossing over to get involved in the Republican primary is that when I did that, just so Mormon boy Romney didn't get the nomination (anyone but him) I had to declare a Repub. ballot at the polling place and then I was inundated with Republican literature at the house, etc. That required some telling off.
That is a definite downside. I crossed over to vote for John Anderson, in the 1980 Republican Primary. The literature stopped arriving in the mail about five years ago. I'm still considered the hardcore Republican of my family.Delete
The problem with equating the odious Donald with either Henry Ford or Hitler is that both harbored deeply held views about Jews and certain other 'non-Aryans.' Hitler even buttressed his malignant ideas with a secular religion of race that supposedly explained much that had gone wrong in Germany's recent history and pointed the way to a bright, Jew-less, future. Trump seems to be the very opposite of a systematic thinker,and the very definition of an intellectual opportunist,someone who will say he believes anything that will win him an argument. That doesn't make him less dangerous. Just less predictable.ReplyDelete
And, of course, he is a Frankenstein monster largely created by the media, which has fostered the false impression that polls of probable Republican voters, about 25 percent of the voting public, make him a strong favorite of voters at large. Nate Silver gives him only about six percent of the electorate. Partly sloppy reporting. Partly because it's a good story. (Or more accurately, 'good TV.')
Yes, Hitler thought Slavic people were beneath him as well, same with non Caucasians. So true about media stories.Delete
Indeed, as NS said, there should be more outcry. But that is growing. If Himmler or Goering were alive, they would make good VP candidates for him.Delete
I'll vote for Trump when he marries an African-American woman and he has a bi-racial child. (don't hold your breath)
He'd probably think that even Italians, Greeks or Spaniards are too dark.
Great column Neil, the most unnerving thing for me about Trump is how many of my friends really think this jerkoff would be a good president. They just don't think they're racists.ReplyDelete
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I have not heard mention of a logical extension of Trump's sickening suggestion: If we need to stop Muslims from immigrating we also need to stop anyone already here from converting, or even from raising their children in the faith. Of course, we'll need a secret police force to monitor that. And we need to ask how well the Inquisition went last time it was tried.ReplyDelete
Perhaps the SS or Gestapo can clue them in.ReplyDelete
What's especially amusing, in a painful kind of way, about Trump is how certain right-wing pundits are trying to blame Obama for him. Their argument (such as it is) is that Obama has been so "polarizing" that people have no choice but to seek out a screeching clown.ReplyDelete
Of course, these people blame Obama if it rains during a ballgame.
I'm not a regular reader of the Huffington Post, but it looks like they're going on the direction NS proposes:ReplyDelete
Yes, there was a similar concern, to that column recently in the paper that said he can cause embassies to get targeted, due to his comments, etc. It has now become dangerous rhetoric.Delete
I was born in 1943. My father was totally into cars and constantly trading and buying cars of all makes, except I noticed that he never ever owned a Ford. I never asked why and he never said anything that would explain his aversion to Ford cars. I think you have just given me the explanation. JanilleReplyDelete
Or perhaps he liked GM or Chrysler corp. cars. Or he could have been pro labor, your dad, and was angry at Ford holding out the UAW for so long, longer than the others perhaps.Delete
Two things. One I can understand the aversion to buying Ford Cars. However it is sort of like anti gays who will not purchase products or services from companies who support gay rights. Henry Ford is long gone and I suspect there are Jews who work for Ford.ReplyDelete
Secondly this is probably way off tangent but I thought this was a great article and I try and link to it when ever a discussion about Trump comes up. It is pretty long but worth reading. http://dneiwert.blogspot.com/2015/11/donald-trump-may-not-be-fascist-but-he.html
Not all these things are rational decisions. I once saw a photo at the Holocaust Museum in Washington of the "staircase of death" at the BMW factory during WWII. I'm not saying I would never buy a BMW because of it -- I should be so lucky as to be able to buy a BMW. But I sure couldn't buy one without thinking of that photo.Delete
Like some wont buy Japanese cars for similar reasons. Though that thought is fading these days in society. Or some get used to one type of car and don't want to try other manufacturers brands.Delete
Not that I'm a Mohammed Ali fan but he released a statement against Trump as well, through a spokesperson.Delete
Frankly, it's surprising that no radical Muslim hasn't plugged Trump yet or tried. Not suggesting they should.
Didn't know that the BMW plant used Jewish slave labor. I'm not Jewish but even if I could afford that car, I wouldn't buy it.Delete
I'd love to ignore Trump, as I always have, but it's impossible, because there aren't too many media folks ignoring his rantings. The condemnation seems pretty loud to me. Other than from whatever percentage of Republicans and free-range chicken-hawks that claim to back his xenophobic bullshit, I haven't noticed a whole lot of tolerance for him out there, either, I gotta say. Though I continue to be amazed when I see comments like Mr. Mannerino's, referring to people's actual friends who think Trump is anything other than a con artist.ReplyDelete
Regardless, TE makes a good point about the overestimation of his support, and I surely hope that Silver is right, as usual. Just 'cause Yahoos show up for his speeches doesn't mean he's anywhere close to becoming President, IMHO. It's gone on too long already because of how ridiculous the political system in this country is. 6 months of pomposity from the candidates and "horse race" coverage from the media, and we still have a ways to go before a single vote is cast. Anyway, Santorum and Huckleberry "won" the Iowa caucuses in 2012 and 2008, respectively, but that didn't send them on their way to the Oval Office.
A bracing and cathartic post from NS with an interesting historical analogy, nonetheless!
Your column should be syndicated so it gets into better distribution, as someone said yesterday.Delete
Neil, THANK YOU for running this item today. Maybe you or one of your readers could help me out with this:ReplyDelete
Every year Henry Ford sent Hitler a birthday card with a crisp $100.00 bill in it.
WTF? OK, maybe I understand the birthday card, but what's with the gelt? Seriously, when Hitler opened the card, did he call Eva up and say "Liebchen, I just got a card from Henry Ford with a $100.00 bill in it - quick, call the Geobbels and ask them out to the bierstube - I'm buying!"
I like this comment.Delete
never heard of that oneDelete
Too bad the film "Boy in the striped pajamas" wasn't around in Ford's time. He could have used a viewing.Delete
Does anyone else here think the Seinfeld comedy with the situation of making out during Schindler's List, was in poor taste?
I don't know about "anyone else", but did I think it was in poor taste? Not really. But a lot of "Seinfeld" was theoretically in poor taste. What was important to me was that it was funny and it gave no aid nor comfort to those who might have felt justified in their attitudes by such poor taste. Nobody wondered "Gee, I wonder if Jerry is a Holocaust-denier." Was "Hogan's Heroes" in poor taste? "Springtime for Hitler"? Probably, but they were satire at the expense of those being mocked. In Seinfeld's case, he wasn't mocking the movie or the actual events, he was mocking himself, IMHO.Delete
It's a movie.Delete
While I was just a kid while Hogan's Heroes was on, I recall an adult relative saying that it was in poor taste, since it made the German military look like bumbling fools, especially Klink- when in reality, the POW conditions were much worse and the German military and Nazi's were dangerous. Of course it was just a comedy but still.....of course the POW conditions were worse for those in the Japanese campsDelete
Love Seinfeld and still watch the reruns at times. But only Seinfeld and Larry David, both Jewish persons, could get away with that. If a gentile had done some of that there would have been trouble and understandably so.ReplyDelete
He's Trump light. A bit more diplomatic. It's understandable that better vetting has to take place for security purpose.ReplyDelete
Heard a Sen. Kirk ad on the radio today opining on Duckworth wanting to let too may refugees in.
Ted Cruz: GOP Presidential Candidate Outlines Plan Allowing Governors to Reject Refugees
According to Cruz, the State Refugee Security Act is designed to “protect authority of the states” by allowing governors to “opt out” of refugee programs.
Cruz is Trump light, that is.ReplyDelete
Ted Cruz is the only Republican that benefits from a Donald Trump. Depending upon future events, he may be running the best campaign response to Trump.ReplyDelete
Perhaps it was Hillary that got in Bernie's way, not the other way around. And the DNC and Wasserman got in Bernie's way too. So much for anointing Hillary. And like Rahm said recently, Dems should have talked more about economics and jobs and not social inclusion. They best remember that next time.ReplyDelete
Interesting to see this from the post election perspective.ReplyDelete
OT-it's amazing to me that Sen. M. McConnell married an Asian woman.One would think he'd be too white centric to do that.ReplyDelete
Christian centric? Is that like a crime? And that's how it usually was here in history-not saying it should only be that. Judaism was part of the American structure as well.ReplyDelete
With this snowy weather, you should not be driving downstate or anywhere too far from the house or work.ReplyDelete