With great interest, I read Rick Elkin’s “Guest Opinion” in the January 26 edition of The Times-Advocate. In this piece, Mr. Elkin vociferously decries what he considers the ignorance of citizens, the media and performers who “equate” President Trump with Adolph Hitler. I would like to decry Mr. Elkin’s black and white thinking.
First of all, many people I hear or read claim that our President is “like Hitler.” When others actually call our President “Hitler,” I notice that most are merely comparing the two. They are not declaring an equivalency. Contrary to what Mr. Elkin implies, most people are well-acquainted with the concepts of metaphor and simile. These literary devices imply comparison, not equivalency.
In reality, the comparison of our current president with Adolph Hitler is an apt one. According to notable scholars, his behavior, personality style and appointments resemble past and modern leaders who have successfully risen to power in a democracy, only to gradually grab absolute power for their own benefit and at the expense of the majority of citizens. Comparing Mr. Trump’s speech and actions to insidious strongmen such as Hussein, Karadzic, Erdogan and Hitler is just that: a comparison.
I see nothing wrong with comparing our current President with arguably the most iconic modern and destructive dictator in our societal consciousness. It makes the comparison particularly potent, something that is needed at this time. In other words, it catches our attention. With the precious treasure of our democracy possibly at stake, that is a good thing. I am open to the possibility that President Trump will not take our country in dangerous directions, but living in a democracy requires citizens to remain alert to the hints of danger that we are currently experiencing.
MICHAEL KARP, Valley Center
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