His election that November came as a surprise

Timothy Snyder is a history professor at Yale who wrote Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning. Which, it turns out, was prescient and a comparison that led to the suspension of a California history teacher after the election. From his Snyder’s essay¬†at Slate:

His followers had faith, of course. They had roared at his rallies and echoed his slogans. They had come out to vote, in higher numbers than expected, especially working-class men and women. Even so, the results of the election were paradoxical. The left received 1 million more votes than his party. But due to the vagaries of the electoral system he was called upon to form a government. His followers exulted, but the various right-wing elites preserved their calm. Although they had failed to keep him from power, they were sure that they could control him. He was good at convincing his followers that he was a revolutionary and convincing others that he was harmless.

Source: His election that November came as a surprise.–Slate

Snyder also has posted on his Facebook page a now widely circulated list of 20 lessons from the world’s experience with Nazism. He begins:

Americans are no wiser than the Europeans who saw democracy yield to fascism, Nazism, or communism. Our one advantage is that we might learn from their experience. Now is a good time to do so. Here are twenty lessons from the twentieth century, adapted to the circumstances of today.

Among his lessons:

7. Stand out. Someone has to. It is easy, in words and deeds, to follow along. It can feel strange to do or say something different. But without that unease, there is no freedom. And the moment you set an example, the spell of the status quo is broken, and others will follow.

Image via Wikimedia Commons; credit: Bundesarchiv, Bild 146-1990-048-29A / CC-BY-SA 3.0

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