DELAND DEMONSTRATION — White-power protesters demonstrate on State Road 15A (the truck route) in DeLand in December 2021. “The only real Americans are white,” reads one sign. Another sign bears the Nazi swastika. Writer Tom Walker advises us to put such activity in the context of history. PHOTO BY JACQUELYN LEWIS

BY TOM WALKER

Those who choose to ignore history are bound to repeat it. Eighty-one years ago, America and others fought a war to rid the world of Adolf Hitler and his quest for world domination.

Most of the veterans and citizens who witnessed that horrible time in our history are gone.

Sadly, a segment of our society is rekindling that very belief of Nazism here in our own country and our state of Florida.

I personally witnessed a demonstration of young men, all Caucasian, displaying banners with swastikas on them, as well as slogans stating only white people are American. If history serves me correctly, the only true Americans were the Native people here before the Europeans arrived.

Getting back to the reason for this letter, is that certain segments of our society are creating the very actions and beliefs we so valiantly sought to defeat 81 years ago.

Hitler had a blueprint of how he was going to accomplish his plan: A Fascist form of governing is instituted. That means a nationalistic, rigid one-party dictatorship with forcible suppression of any opposition. Sound familiar, in voter suppression?

Although Florida has three parties theoretically, only one has enough authority to control how we are to think, what is deemed correct behavior, and what speech is acceptable.

Hitler banned and burned books that were deemed subversive to his cause.

The Florida Legislature and governor banned 16 books from public schools. Legislation is in the works to ban the word “gay” in schools, even though it has more than one meaning.

Hitler rewarded informants who turned in their neighbors for any infraction of the rules. Florida’s Legislature has offered payment to those turning in teachers for such infractions.

Hitler employed the use of scapegoats as the cause of his country’s problems. Instead of the Jewish people, the previous U.S. administration cited people with dark skin and immigrants as a cause, but also to distract a blasé public from the real causes: power and greed.

Like the frog in a pot of cold water over a flame — it is complacent while the heat is slowly increased until it is too late.

Beware of men in power who have simple solutions for complex problems. Be vigilant.

— Walker, a U.S. Air Force veteran, lives in DeLeon Springs.

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