Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Real Politics of the Republican Tea Party

From an article by Joshua Green in The Atlantic magazine:
Rich Iott, the Republican nominee for Congress from Ohio's 9th District, and a Tea Party favorite, who for years donned a German Waffen SS uniform and participated in Nazi re-enactments.

Rich Iott is second from the right in the photo.
There is no law that says you can play "dress up" but I would suggest that if you find it a thrill to parade around as a Nazi, you probably are not good material for being a legislator. A fascination with a murderous dictator is not a good sign for leadership to help the US get out of a perilous time when democracy has been weakened by corporate cronyism and lobbyist money.

While is is legal to strut around in a Nazi uniform and play Nazi war games pretending to belong to the Wiking division, this isn't so in Europe:
Sydnor added that re-enactments like the Wiking group's are illegal in Germany and Austria. "If you were to put on an SS uniform in Germany today, you'd be arrested."
So says Charles W. Sydnor, Jr., a retired history professor and author of "Soldiers of Destruction: The SS Death's Head Division, 1933-45," which chronicles an SS division.

Here is a relevant comment from The Atlantic article:
Rabbi Moshe Saks, of the Congregation B'nai Israel in Sylvania, Ohio, a suburb of Toledo that sits in the 9th district, disagreed. "Any kind of reenactment or glorification of Nazi Germany, to us, would be something unacceptable and certainly in poor taste, if not offensive," he said. "I think the reaction here will be very negative. And not just among the Jewish community, but the broader community."
And this:
The actual Wiking unit has a history as grisly as that of other Nazi divisions. In her book "The Death Marches of Hungarian Jews Through Austria in the Spring of 1945," Eleonore Lappin, the noted Austrian historian, writes that soldiers from the Wiking division were involved in the killing of Hungarian Jews in March and April 1945, before surrendering to American forces in Austria.
Go read the article in The Atlantic to get all the gory details and the pathetic justifications Rich Iott offers for his "hobby".

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