"I’ve never done this before. Can I have a pledge? A swearing? Raise your right hand. I do solemnly swear that I, no matter how I feel, no matter what the conditions, if there's hurricanes or whatever - that's good enough - will vote on or before the 12th for Donald J. Trump for president."
- Donald Trump, rally, Orlando, Florida, March 5, 2016
"I swear: I will be faithful and obedient to the leader of the German empire and people, Adolf Hitler, to observe the law, and to conscientiously fulfil my official duties, so help me God!"
- Nazi Germany civil servant oath, 1934-1945
Yes, you should be scared. Very scared. But not only by Trump.
In an editorial entitled "Democracy’s Disintegration in Turkey," The New York Times would have us know:
"If there was any doubt about why the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan seized the newspaper Zaman last week, consider this: Within 48 hours after the takeover, the paper began publishing pro-Erdogan propaganda.
. . . .
This crackdown is merely the latest of Mr. Erdogan’s increasingly authoritarian moves, which have included imprisoning critics, sidelining the military and reigniting war on Kurdish separatists. He now controls much of the media and has made Turkey a leader among countries that jail journalists. Along with his campaign to wipe out a free press, his government’s prosecutors have opened nearly 2,000 cases against Turks in the last 18 months for insulting Mr. Erdogan, which is a crime.
. . . .
It is unsettling that the United States and Europe have responded so meekly to Mr. Erdogan’s trampling of a free press. The Obama administration said the move against Zaman was 'troubling.' "
"Unsettling"? "Troubling"? It goes without saying that the Times fails to mention how Obama named Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan as one of his best overseas friends in 2012.
And then there was the news out of Oberlin College. As reported by Perry Chiaramontein in a Fox News article entitled "Oberlin trustees fire back at school, crackpot prof":
"Trustees and alumni at a prestigious Ohio college are turning up the heat on the school administration, which has so far taken no action against a nutty professor who believes Jews were behind 9/11 and the Charlie Hebdo terror attack in France.
The Board of Trustees at Oberlin College demanded answers in a statement posted on the school's own website, with Chairman Clyde McGregor blasting 'rhetoric and composition' Professor Joy Karega for anti-Semitic online postings.
'These postings are anti-Semitic and abhorrent,' McGregor said in the statement. 'We deplore anti-Semitism and all other forms of bigotry. They have no place at Oberlin."
Oberlin's president, Marvin Krislov, had previously defended Karega's right to publish such trash:
"I am a practicing Jew, grandson of an Orthodox rabbi. Members of our family were murdered in the Holocaust. As someone who has studied history, I cannot comprehend how any person could or would question its existence, its horrors, and the evil which caused it. I feel the same way about anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. Regardless of the reason for spreading these materials, they cause pain for many people—members of our community and beyond.
I am also the son of a tenured faculty member at a large research university. My father instilled in me a strong belief in academic freedom. I believe, as the American Association of University Professors says, that academic freedom is 'the indispensable quality of institutions of higher education' because it encourages free inquiry, promotes the expansion of knowledge, and creates an environment in which learning and research can flourish."
You see, bigotry, at least against Jews, allows learning and research to flourish. How very "progressive" of you, Krislov! However, even Roger (Iran is "not totalitarian") Cohen yesterday acknowledged in a Times op-ed entitled "An Anti-Semitism of the Left" that "nothing can justify the odious 'anti-Semitic anti-Zionism' . . . seeping into British and American campuses."
All of which brings me to David Brooks's latest New York Times op-ed entitled "It’s Not Too Late!" Praying for a "Marco Rubio miracle in Florida" and asking that the field be cleared for John Kasich in Ohio, Brooks writes:
"If the G.O.P. is going to survive as a decent and viable national party, it can’t cling to the fading orthodoxy Cruz represents. But it can’t shift to ugly Trumpian nationalism, either. It has to find a third alternative: limited but energetic use of government to expand mobility and widen openness and opportunity. That is what Kasich, Rubio, Paul Ryan and others are stumbling toward."
But can Rubio and Kasich behave like big boys and strike a deal? I doubt it.
The situation is grim, but not only on the right, and those in the center are being squeezed like never before. Does it remind you of the Weimar Republic before Hitler came to power? It darn well should.