What is a peaceful Nazi?
Is it some new-aged, enlightened individual whose beliefs somehow deviate from those of traditional Nazism, an ideology founded in a violent, fascist movement that espoused racial superiority and antisemitism?
Is it one who prefers runners to jackboots, loose-fitting khakis and white polo shirts to crisp, grey Hugo Boss uniforms,and marching as a random mob over goose-stepping in military precision?
Some involved with the recent Unite the Right rally that took place in Charlottesville, VA, to protest the removal of a statue, have claimed the event was intended to be peaceful. Even though some were seen brandishing weapons or flags with swastikas, and chanted, “Jews will not replace us,” rally participants were somehow not entirely responsible for the violence that broke out against counter-protesters or the death and injuries that occurred in the process.
It should be noted not everyone who took part in the rally was a peaceful Nazi. Some were peaceful members of white nationalist organizations such as the Ku Klux Klan, as well as various militias.
Some at the rally, such as torch-wielding Ted Von Nukem, were simply enthusiastic historians wanting to preserve their heritage. Formerly Teddy Landrum, Von Nukem said the rally was not about race, but about saving “our history.” This would refer to the statue of Robert E. Lee that Charlottesville city council planned to remove. Apparently, the city no longer felt it proper to continue honouring a man who was willing to see thousands of his own countrymen die in order to preserve his right to keep people as property.
But I digress. This column isn’t about those who marched to preserve their non-specific, often mixed but supposedly predominant Anglo Saxon heritage. Well, maybe it is, the peaceful ones anyway.
Perhaps my view of Nazis is both naive and dated. You see, as a kid, I developed the perception that Nazis equated to “bad guys.” They were the grey plastic soldiers who were always causing trouble for the green. In the movies, they were the ones who, when not smoking cigarettes between their index and middle fingers (despite the anti-tobacco stance of the Third Reich), kept the good guys pinned in a trench or behind a crumbling wall, at least until the American hero of the story turned things around and helped win the day.
Nazis were also the reason my grandfathers and godfather served in the military. They’re no longer with us, but I can’t imagine they’d find the peaceful Nazi convincing. Regardless of what one is wearing, calls himself or claims to be doing, if they are waving swastikas and shouting racially oppressive slogans, or supporting those who do, they have no respect for the sacrifices made on their behalf and waive all right to the freedoms they are abusing as a result.