Years ago Gramma was showing us an old family photo of my ancestors out at the ancestral cabin on Cooking Lake - which is actually more of a slough than a lake. Fish can live in it but the lake has cyclical die-offs and droughts. In the 30's, it was the weekend party spot for city folk wanting to get away for a day. In an old black and white photo, faded and yellow with age - the whole famn damily of the time was lined up and one lady in particular stood out - she had a great big fuggin' Swastika on a necklace! HAR HAR HAR! My mother had a friggin BIRD when she saw it too. Imagine an 1850's southern belle being told she had black ancestors - that was the kind of meltdown Mom had. Being older and a budding chit house historian I tried to explain to Mom the idea of that photo and taking it in context. Of course, the old bitch wouldn't have it and insisted on histrionic virtue signalling with a hearty kiniption for emphasis. I just laughed and shut my gob - but mulled the incident over in my slightly pickled cranium.
This is my theory of historical contextualism: you need to put yourself in that photo, at that time, and try and imagine all the memes and thought trends of the day. You have to imagine the economy and standard of living. You have to try and BE there to appreciate the Nazis and that young lady who wore that Swastika necklace.
Here in the west the dirty 30's were almost over but times weren't easy. Welfare was non-existent. People still starved to death in those days. If you had enough to eat and a roof over your head you were doing good - a lot of people didn't. Men like us still lined up at flop houses and soup kitchens and often slept under the stars, cold and hungry as we searched for work. Post WW1 Germany was an even greater mess what with the treaty of Versailles' crippling pay outs, a gutted infrastructure - and a beaten populace. Feral commies are everywhere trying to incite riots and protest. The kids are living in the street with no hope, no future. All their parents can do is hang their heads in shame. And of course, we know the rest of the story.
This is what I tried to get across to Mom. Put yourself there in Alberta, on a sunny 1930's afternoon, as you contemplate pre-WW2 Germany. The women all have the still trendy flapper look. The older ladies still have the big flowery Victorian hats like Klondike Kate wears.
In Germany - this intense, well spoken young man is clearing away 3 decades of self destructive rot and ruin embedded both in gov't and society - and getting shit done. Didjya hear about that new German fighter plane? The Messerschmitt is the fastest figher plane in the world! He's got factories going full blast - everyone is gonna have a car. Here in Alberta, only the big wigs like Uncle Bob can afford cars. The odd ones of us still have horses. Most of us walk. On the last News Reel, some young communist shit bags were rioting in Nuremburg and Adolf put an end to it! He sent in those boys with the brown shirts - and they kicked the ever loving chit out of the rabble rousers and it won't be a problem again! The broken glass and debris was being swept up and the damage was repaired the next day. Teens in the Hitler Youth are running telephone lines and competing against each other in community works. In a mere couple of years, Germany has gone from a smoldering ash heap to a world power. Can you see how a young lady out here in 1930's Alberta might be impressed with the Nazis? Before Hitler flipped his gourd and set the world on fire? What would have happened if he had had the sense to stay within his own borders and mind his own business? What if somebody like that had come to power here in Canada or the US?
I guess I can see why the leftie liberals are always seeing fascists under the bed and chitting bricks about Donald Trump. History certainly isn't repeating, but it IS rhyming. Funny how that works too - if you can put your history into context - perspective follows and allows you to view the present more clearly too. Wouldn't it be nice if the cops waded into the Ferguson riot and these other BLM chimp-outs with billy clubs, rubber bullets and attack dogs? Wouldn't it be nice to see those young men put to meaningful purpose and doing honest work and taking pride in it - instead of burning and looting? It would be awesome, right?
But what happens after America is great again? Welp - let's play that out too: when you are a leader you have a great big target on your back. Money and power corrupt. Always. America will be a big player again and the Chinese, the Soviets, the Pacific Rim countries and Europe are going to rise up to oppose us in shrinking global markets and expanding productive power. Some historians say all wars are about markets and not about politics and I think they are right. Will we go to war to protect our market share? And before the greasy hippies and elderly peaceniks start pissing and moaning - the alternative to that IS grinding poverty and hopelessness. Organizations and organisms that won't fight for their survival die. If you sit on your hands while your allies and trade partners go down - you will inevitably follow.
So many other things start to make sense too. I can see why America's socialists are paralyzed in fright over fascists - fascists are smarter, faster and far more competent than they are. Could it be that by merely getting people off the dole and back to work - we set ourselves up for a fascist revival? Let us be honest with ourselves: if we are to be great again, we are going to have to do some really shitty things to some really shitty people. Is it worth it? What's the alternative?
Will your "Make America Great Again" hat one day give your chicken-headed descendants kiniptions the way that flappers' swastika gave my mother a hissy fit?