By: Ivonne Rovira
Originally published at Forward Kentucky
Editor’s note: While we don’t agree with the bombastic tone of Rovira in this opinion piece, and have edited some sections, we think it’s important for both parties to beware of extremists who might seek to subvert their goals. Compromise and bipartisan were not always the dirty words they are in Washington D.C. today. Our own Mitch McConnell, as often maligned by his own party these days as the opposition, was once a cheerleader for compromise, echoing the sentiments of his political hero Henry Clay, “the Great Compromiser,” and seeking common ground across the aisle.
This was the type of unifying tone set by great Republican leaders of the past before the pernicious poison of partisanship took full root in both parties.
We think this is a worthwhile goal, and a mood and political tone that America needs to make a priority going forward, lest we become another lesson for history instead or learning from one as Rovira suggests.
Keep that in mind as you read – Jeremy
There are Republicans who think that the extremists in their party won’t be coming for them. How wrong they are! It’s already started. Now that the far right can taste victory, they really don’t need their more moderate collaborators any longer.
It’s happened before. On June 30, 1934, Adolf Hitler launched the arrests of his heretofore ally, Ernst Röhm, and Röhm’s associates; on July 2, Röhm was executed.
Hitler and his confederates Heinrich Himmler and Reinhard Heydrich assembled trumped-up charges that Röhm was a French agent intending to overthrow Hitler. Röhm was long known to be gay, but he never believed that Hitler would have him killed over it, although that became an additional charge. Röhm favored nationalizing of industry and confiscating the estates of the aristocracy — living up to the “socialism” in National Socialism — and Hitler didn’t want to deliver.
But during the day of June 30, before the Night of the Long Knives began, folks across Europe were going about their everyday lives on a fine summer day, without any idea of the horrors that awaited them. No one had any idea, not even Röhm – until he was arrested that morning.
Röhm’s misplaced trust was understandable. As Hitler’s close friend, he helped create the Stormtroopers and became their commander. His contacts in the German far right turned out the 100,000 participants for Hitler’s Germany Day in September 1923. He even raised the money that made the Nazi Party possible. But when Röhm’s Stormtroopers reached 3 million members, Hitler thought it was time to act.
Republican punditry also contains a lot of people who don’t see the danger to them coming in the nascent Nationalism movement. Once Hitler didn’t need Röhm anymore, he was discarded. Already, thinking that victory is assured, the Far Right has openly turned on the gays, Jews, and particularly the gay Jews in their midst.
Let’s start with Dave Rubin, both Jewish and gay. Once at The Young Turks, Rubin claimed to have had a change of heart and then came into a more lucrative position on the Right. (He’s now estimated to be worth $12 million.) He recently fell in with the “OK, groomer” smear — never mind that the groomer smear is most often deployed against gays and their advocates. But his fair-weather friends have turned on him for marrying a man and seeking to create a family via a surrogate. Rubin’s fellow Jew Ben Shapiro told Rubin to his face that he’d boycott Rubin’s wedding and wouldn’t even attend an anniversary party. With friends like these, Rubin doesn’t need enemies.
But Ben Shapiro shouldn’t be so smug. His so-called friends on the right don’t like him, either. The CEO of Gab — another right-wing version of Twitter — is Andrew Torba, who moonlights as a political consultant for Doug Mastriano, the extremist GOP candidate for Pennsylvania governor. On July 15, Torba said that “There’s no other path” for American than Nationalism, according to Right Wing Watch.
He then went on to say that there was no room for Jews — mentioning Rubin and Shapiro by name — in the conservative movement. He said:
“They’re not Christian. They don’t share our values. They have inverted values from us as Christians. So don’t fall for the bait. Don’t fall for the bait of Populism Inc. Don’t fall for the bait of this pseudo-conservatism, big-tent nonsense.”
On July 25, Torba, unsurprisingly, doubled down: “We don’t want people who are Jewish. We don’t want people who are, you know, nonbelievers, agnostic, whatever. This is an explicitly Christian movement because this is an explicitly Christian country. … Ben Shapiro is not welcome in the movement unless he repents and accepts Jesus Christ as his Lord and savior.”
Torba’s rant comes a year after CPAC (the Conservative Political Action Conference) canceled its hip-hop darling Young Pharoah after he called Judaism “all a complete #lie … completely made up for #political gain.” Inexplicably, Young Pharoah claimed that neither Jews or Hebrew ever existed, and that the “thieving fake Jews” stole the word Amen from the Egyptians. (I couldn’t make this stuff up.)
Ernst Röhm thought Hitler would come after other people: Jews, Gypsies, socialists, communists, anarchists, trade unionists, the intelligentsia. It never occurred to Röhm that Hitler would come for him.
Dave Rubin, über-libertarian tech billionaire Peter Thiel, journalist Glenn Greenwald, and the rest of the Log Cabin Republicans really think that they can get the homophobic juggernaut to turn around. Ben Shapiro, pretend-professor Dennis Prager, shock radio host Mark Levin, New York gubernational candidate Lee Zeldin, and other GOP Jews think they can stave off the upcoming pogrom — despite the historical precedent and the fact that parts of the GOP are awash in antisemitism.
You can always count on Marjorie Taylor Greene to say the quiet parts out loud, and she’s on a crusade — pardon the pun — on behalf of Nationalism. If she’s pushing the envelope, Nationalism — like anti-vax hysteria, the Big Lie, the “groomer” projection, book censorship, and the anti-CRT campaign — is about to go mainstream.
The sad thing is that, like Ernst Röhm, Republican gays or Jews will be surprised when the inevitable happens. They shouldn’t be.