I was watching an old Twilight Zone episode from 1963 written by Rod Serling called “He’s Alive”. A young Dennis Hopper was playing a guy dressed in a brown shirt uniform talking on a street corner. His fearmongering and hate-filled speech aren’t getting through to the small cluster of people jeering him until the spirit of Adolph Hitler hires on as a consultant.
The problem here is Serling had it wrong. His first mistake was that the neo-Nazi types and general garden variety of bigots and racists of today aren’t dressed in brown shirts and holding street corner rallies. They’re on radio and TV and speaking from a podium at political debates and campaign stops, and on the floors of Congress. They’re not dressed in brown shirt uniforms either. They could be wearing 3-piece suits, power dresses, in shirt sleeve with or without a tie, or in a sweater vest.
They’re clean cut white men, blonde and or brunette ex-beauty queens wearing too much make-up, fat, balding or bearded men—one of who thankfully is no longer with us, probably writing speech copy for Hitler to give to his clients.
Serling’s second mistake was that Hitler couldn’t connect with most Americans. Overtly bigoted and racist speak doesn’t play well in Iowa or Ohio or Michigan or Virginia or New Jersey or the cosmopolitan parts of Georgia or most places in America. Hitler didn’t know from codespeak or dog whistles. He didn’t understand that to reach into the hearts and minds of religious America, you have to invoke the names of God and Jesus Christ. He wouldn’t have understood that Republican men and a few Republican women see the female species as a threat to be subdued and controlled. But although he was fixated on Jews, he would have grasped immediately the right wing hatred and fear of Hispanics and Muslims. And a black President of the United States. Those he could have worked with.
To make himself palatable to Americans, the spirit of Adolph Hitler would have to have remake his image into that of a family man. The spirit of Eva Braun would be at his side along with the spirits of two young children who might be demons in disguise. And he’d have to lose that Austrian accent.
But who knows? Maybe the spirit of Hitler exists in his full Nazi brown-shirted glory and his providing consulting services to right wing media and their political candidates. He’s a spirit—how would any of those guys know who he was advising? But there’s always a telltale clue.
When a Republican candidate raises his hand to wave at the crowd, is the arm bent or is it fully extended outward and above his shoulder—kind of like a salute? Let’s watch those videos again.