Kraft said she did not see any Nazi flags, adding, “You know, somebody could have come and been the plant to be there with one.” In viewing about 100 photos from the two rallies, I did not see a Nazi flag. It doesn’t mean it didn’t exist; it just wasn’t evident in the photos.
And then it escalated. “If there was a Nazi flag let me tell you exactly what that would mean,” said Kraft, who later gave a painfully convoluted answer to a question about racial justice. “Nazi represents Hitler; Hitler was a dictator, one man dictating to his country and trying to dictate to the world what needs to happen. Gov. Inslee is acting like a dictator.”
Which seems to be a bit of a stretch. Like a “Donald Trump is a stable genius” kind of stretch. It is one thing to oversee the murder of 6 million Jewish people; it is quite another to order the closing of businesses in an effort to protect public health.
You see, it used to be that there was at least one thing this nation could agree on. We always have had differences of opinion, but it was nearly unanimous that Nazis are bad. To be clear, Kraft did not say they were good; but in providing a tortured analogy that compares a sitting governor to Hitler, she ever so slightly diminished the horror of the Holocaust.
All of that became a bigger issue the following night, when President Trump bypassed an opportunity to condemn white supremacists during the presidential debate. “Proud Boys, stand back and stand by,” he said instead, which sounded like a call to arms.
Of course, this is a president who has defended Confederate statues, defended the Confederate flag, and said of a white supremacy protest and counter-protest that there “were very fine people, on both sides.”
Trump long has employed racist dog whistles, and in desperation for reelection he now is blaring them through a bullhorn. We expect it of him.
But it seems the rest of us can do better. And it seems that we must acknowledge the rise of white nationalism in this country, with deplorables feeling emboldened by an president who panders to them.
Using a mention of a Nazi flag to say Inslee is acting like a dictator only escalates our discord.