Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Paranoia Strikes Deep

There's somethin' happenin' here. What it is became a bit clearer to me Sunday in Amsterdam. I toured a museum dedicated to the Dutch resistance during the Nazi occupation. As I made my way through the exhibits, I noticed a few other Americans taking it in as well. I overheard one of them, a woman, make the comment "Now doesn't that sound familiar?" For a moment I paused, but then decided that her remark couldn't be about what I thought. It just could not be.

But it was. After I finished the tour, I stopped by a street-side café next door for a beer and a bite. A short while later the group of Americans that I had noticed at the museum pulled up a table at the same café within earshot. They began discussing the various exhibits at the museum and, before long, my initial suspicions were confirmed. They, the woman in particular, saw parallels between the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands and what they believe is occurring today in John Ashcroft's Amerika.

Normally when I cannot help but overhear a conversation that involves political viewpoints that I disagree with, I long for the opportunity to jump in and offer my two cents. It's all I can do to hold myself back. But today I had no such urge.

What are you going to say to people who have abandoned the realm of rational thought? People who believe that Bush is a puppet in an evil conspiracy orchestrated by either Dick Cheney, James Baker, George H. Bush, or all of them working together? People who believe that the Democrats are playing the role today that the NSB (a Dutch National Socialist Party that collaborated with the Nazis) did in the Netherlands during World War Two? People who believe that the Democratic National Convention was a frightening display of war mongering, but support John Kerry because he speaks French? People who believe that the entire world is counting on the American people to remove Bush from office? People who believe that if, by some fluke, Bush is re-elected he will be impeached early in his second term? People who believe that if Bush is re-elected the level of "national resistance" (whatever the hell that means) will escalate?

For the record, I overheard all of these loony beliefs (and more) expressed on Sunday. We're through the looking glass here people. I can almost understand ignorant lefties throwing around their "Bush is a Nazi" claptrap without really understanding just how ridiculous that comparison is. But these people had just come from a museum that graphically detailed the brutality inflicted by the occupying Nazis including:

* The Nazi attempts to takeover the Dutch trade unions and indoctrinate school children.

* The summary executions of resistance members in the dunes outside the city.

* The hundreds of thousands of Dutch men forced into what was essentially slave labor in Germany.

* The 107,000 Dutch Jews sent to concentration camps, from which only 5,000 ever emerged alive.

Yet, after having just seen displays of the true horrors of Nazism firsthand, these fools prattled on and on with their nonsensical ranting that equated the Bush administration with Hitler's regime. No specifics were offered of course. There never are. There don't have to be. Never let the facts get in the way of a good paranoid fantasy.

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