In 1933, the German Parliament building, the Reichstag, burned to the ground. Newly elected Hitler declared the fire to be a communist conspiracy and used the event to round up and imprison communists, including elected members of parliament. He became dictator within a month of the fire.
Hitler described the fire as ‘a beacon from heaven’.
“You are now witnessing the beginning of a great epoch in German history…This fire is the beginning,” Hitler told a news reporter at the scene.
I dreamed that I saw a nuclear bomb detonate on the near horizon. I shared this with a friend who told me that she, too, had dreams of nuclear blasts. And the question arises for me: how will Trump fan our fears so that he can consolidate his power?
Clearly he feels powerless. But how far will he go? Will he suspend civil rights? He’s already started. His justice department has removed LGBT folks from civil rights protections. An amicus brief filed by the U.S Justice Dept. in July with the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit in New York runs contrary to the position of Obama’s Justice Department as well as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Both expanded the view that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which bans employment discrimination on the basis of sex, also applies to sexual orientation.
The implications extend well beyond employment law. Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, a powerful weapon against discrimination, is generally interpreted in sync with rulings on the employment discrimination law. That’s how the Obama administration justified its efforts to enforce bathroom and locker room equity for transgender students.
First they came for the gays. But since I wasn’t gay or lesbian or bisexual or transgender and have some ambivalence about them anyway. So I didn’t speak up.
And now states are emboldened in Trump’s wake: Missouri passed a law that women can be fired for using birth control, confining them to low level jobs that don’t require continuity.
Then they came for the women, but I am not a woman or am uncomfortable with the changing roles of women, so I said nothing.
What might Trump conspire to commit that could concretize his power? He undoubtedly feels constrained by the limits of the power of the presidency. Hitler called the Reichstag Fire a ‘sign from God’. Trump surrounds himself with sycophantic religious ‘leaders’ who come close to hailing him as the Messiah. Very close.
Will North Korea be his Reichstag Fire? Pay attention, folks.