We’ve stopped laughing about Donald Trump — or, at least, the people who were privileged enough to laugh at Donald Trump to begin with have stopped. He’s not funny anymore. He’s terrifying. His supporters boggle the minds of evangelicals and social conservatives (the very same demographics handing him double-digit wins in early primaries), and he is not going to go away. If you value the American experiment and believe that we can coexist without resorting to nativism (because, for fuck’s sake, it’s not 1849) or think that "making America great again" sounds scarily like going back to a time in which America kind of sucked pretty hard, or are actually a fiscal conservative in real life and have spent the last six months breathing into a paper bag, you should oppose Donald Trump’s candidacy with every fiber in your cute little body.
And a lot of you do, and it’s understandable and natural to want to compare Trump’s brand of vacuous hatred with something, anything that can put it into context. Something that can say in one sentence, "This person is bad and I am afraid of him."
But that comparison should not be to Adolf Hitler.
Don’t compare Donald Trump, running for the White House in 2016, to Adolf Hitler, responsible for the murder of millions. Don’t whistle past the graves of millions of people in Germany, Poland, the Czech Republic, the Eastern Front — human beings who were shot to death and gassed and experimented upon because of one man’s quest for power and the nature of groupthink and evil — because you want to score a point or get a laugh.
Donald Trump’s "rise to power" is not like Hitler’s "rise to power," because Donald Trump isn’t being permitted to set up his own governmental cabinet thanks to deals made with powerful industrialists, and also it’s not freaking 1932. Donald Trump is not like Adolf Hitler because there is no human, alive or dead, who is like Adolf Hitler, a failed artist, a vegetarian who enjoyed sausage, a bad writer, an animal-rights enthusiast who tested poison on his own dog, and a fucking mass murderer on such a scale that "murderer" doesn’t even seem to adequately describe him.
To bring Donald Trump into this metaphor is to cheapen the lives taken by Hitler’s regime, and the lives lost fighting it, from the Pacific Theater to the shores of Normandy to Treblinka, where a group of incredibly brave concentration camp prisoners fought back against their captors and most died doing it.
Samuel Willenberg survived that revolt, by the way. He was one of 67 men to survive Treblinka, where more than 875,000 people were murdered in one year. He died last week at the age of 93, after spending the last 70 years speaking out against the crimes committed against his country, his family, and his friends by Hitler’s regime.
Hitler’s regime. Not Trump’s.
We can stop Donald Trump. We can vote against him, we can stop televising his rallies and giving him the free attention his body appears to use to convert oxygen into carbon dioxide, we can speak out about the fact that he’s barely qualified to hold the attention of a trained seal, let alone office. And we can stop comparing him to a man who launched our world into a global conflagration that nearly ended us all.