Archives‎ > ‎

The Gestapo Game, by Clancy Sigal | ODS

"I love the old days. You know what they used to do to guys like that when they were in a place like this? They'd be carried out on a stretcher, folks...I’d like to punch him in the face. -- Trump in Las Vegas

In London, when bored, we literary villagers used to play a sick little game called “Gestapo”.  The gist is, 
if the Nazis had conquered England and each of us was on the run and knocking on doors for help 
who among our friends, family and neighbors would give us sanctuary even at risk to themselves? 
And who might slam the door in our face?
The sickest part was having sober second thoughts that bring an unwelcome surprise.  Your cousin Jerome, 
hmm, thinking about it, I like him but he’d probably hide under the couch and pretend nobody was home.  
On the other hand Derek the shopkeeper down the street, a cold fish who rarely says good morning, 
might just prove a sturdy oak in the storm.
You don’t want to play “Gestapo”.  It could break up friendships.
It’s not so silly to fantasize after studying Trump’s audiences who love him for “telling it like it is”.  
Translated, they’re fed up with the Tolerance Game and let’s vent our poison because it feels so.o.o good.
We lefties or liberals or progs or whatever we call ourselves have a “people” problem.  Until Trump we told 
ourselves that no matter what, at rock bottom, Duh Amahrkan Peepul were democracy lovers straight out 
of a Norman Rockwell poster you could depend on in a pinch to do the right thing.
Oh, yeah? 
I wonder if he was alive today Howard Zinn might retitle his classic work Only Some 
But Maybe Not All People’s History of the United States.
I served in the military in postwar Germany and was at the Nuremberg War Crimes trial.  
Curiously, the image I came away with was not the ghastly film the prosecutors showed of Belsen corpses
or of Leni Riefsenstahl’s theatrical staging of storm troop rallies, but of prewar crowd scenes 
of perfectly ordinary German civilians, including worshipful women, going ape over Hitler heiling 
and screaming and watching passively as Nazi jackbooted security guards beat the crap 
out of the occasional brave heckler.