The rapid fire way in which we have been bombarded with news for the past few weeks has made it very easy to miss stories or just glance at them in passing as you move on to a larger story.
The Trump administration released a statement last week to commemorate International Holocaust Remembrance Day. In that statement, there was no mention of the Jewish people and the atrocities done to them.
Surely this was just an oversight. Yet another sign of incompetence from the new administration. Um, no.
Then, on Saturday, the White House said that Jews had been omitted from the statement on purpose because other victims also suffered and died in the Holocaust, an explanation that seemed to minimize the effects of a genocide that killed two-thirds of the Jewish population of Europe. Sen. Tim Kaine called it “Holocaust denial.”
They purposely left any mention of Jews out of their statement. They meant to do it. But wait, there’s more! Not only did they omit any mention of the 6 million Jews that were murdered, the Trump administration went ahead and blocked the State Department statement which did specifically mention Jews. I repeat, they went out of their way to not mention Jews.
Why? Why in the world would any sane world leader do this? What possible explanation would make sense? What could justify this? Well, nothing really. There is no valid justification. Then why did they do it? Because it’s yet another dog whistle to those supporters of theirs on the extreme, far right, who are indeed anti-Semitic haters.
If you just read that and immediately think I’m just another liberal who is calling all Trump supporters racist and anti-Semitic, let me stop you right there. I’m not doing that. However, I’m also not going to pretend that there aren’t people out there like this or that those people aren’t all very happy to support Trump. And what’s particularly disturbing to me is when regular Trump supporters, who are not racist bigoted, anti-Semites, refuse to acknowledge what is happening here. Again, I’m not saying that you’re racist, etc. I am calling you out for not acknowledging the dog whistling that is going on.
Why does this even matter? Among many other reasons, it’s this:
When the guy who constantly blows the anti-Semitic dog whistle wins the presidency, it gives license to the haters to crawl out of the woodwork and spread the hate. It matters. Bigly.
Rush’s “Red Sector A” is probably the best-known Holocaust rock song. It appeared on the band’s 1984 smash album Grace Under Pressure. The seeds for this harrowing rocker were planted by the liberation of lead-singer Geddy Lee’s mother from the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp: “I hear the sound of gunfire at the prison gate / Are the liberators here? / Do I hope or do I fear? / For my father and my brother, it’s too late / But I must help my mother stand up straight.”