Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Former Classmate Says I Shouldn't "get [her] started on the Nazi propaganda speech that Obama's giving to children today."

Earlier today I was mailing a package when I ran into a woman who was in one of my classes in college a few years back. We see each other every now and then, but don't know each other terribly well so one of the first things she asked was where I was working. When I told her that I was working for an organization called Working Families Win she insisted that I was "working for the wrong side." I decided to kind off brush this off because I thought it was odd that someone would think standing up for working families was "the wrong side."

To top things off she then added that I shouldn't "get [her] started on the Nazi propaganda speech that Obama's giving to children today." This one I couldn't pass up so I asked her if she had read the speech which was released yesterday on the White House website. She responded by saying that she didn't need to read the speech to know that it was just "the president's way of promoting his socialist agenda." It was at this point I realized it probably wasn't even worth pursuing the conversation much further so I simply asked how her kids were doing and then politely excused myself so I could finish my errands before heading off to work.

Now here's what I find very interesting. This woman just finished up her Master's degree in education and wants to be a teacher, but she doesn't even know that there is a difference between the Nazis and Socialists. In my opinion this simply reinforces that the Republicans are just interested in trying to make everyone think Obama is evil but don't actually have an intelligent reason for why they adamantly oppose every single policy that he's put forward. Secondly, she's received a fair amount of formal education but the right wing's talking points have worked so well with her that she's not even willing to read a speech to see if the talking points have any truth to them. This is perhaps the more troubling part because it illustrates how so many people get their news from the soundbites that they hear on TV and oftentimes don't have the time and/or desire to do their own independent research.

So now I want to hear from you. What do you think I should take away from this experience and has anyone had something similar happen to them lately?


  1. I hear it all the time. So many people believe the chain e-mail going around on health care and parrot the statements there that are blantantly false. We are now being subject to the tyranny of the minority because these nuts yell the loudest and are the meanest and good people don't want to confront them.

    On another topic, my father escaped Nazi Germany in 1937. Most of my family did not. To even suggest that giving health care to the downtrodden compares in any way to the group responsible for the slaughter of 6 million innocent people pisses me off to the highest degree. Belitting the Holocaust shows how little respect these people have for anyone or anything.

  2. I agree with Anonymous 12:01. I had family members perish in Nazi concentration camps. At the same time, my father was a GI. Because he was fluent in German, Russian, Polish, and Yiddish, he was assigned to the Military Police, where he guarded German prisoners of war. Then, he was one of the first Americans into one of the camps because he had the ability to communicate with the prisoners.

    He has been haunted by what he saw there ever since.

    So, yes, I am exremely offended when people casually throw around the Nazi epithet, whether it's somebody from the right calling Obama a Nazi, or even if it's somebody from the left using that term to describe a right winger.

    Words have meanings. When you misuse them for shock value, you trivialize them and when you really need them for an accurate description of a real Nazi (and, yes, they still exist), the words won't have the same impact when it is truly needed.

    BTW, that person should not be allowed to teach in any school. Not because of her opinions. But because nobody is entitled to their own set of facts. When somebody is so closed minded that they are no longer able to recognize reality, we call them delusional. And we don't need delusional people teaching our children.