LaRouche supporters disappoint scores of STUDENTS & FACULTY

During last year's presidential campaign, images of Barack Obama were plastered everywhere and the pictures assumed an iconic status. No matter which side of the divide one was on, Mr. Obama's face became symbolic for what seemed to augur a new era in American politics.  Today, however, nothing is sacred. A political movement spearheaded by Lyndon LaRouche has taken defacement to a new extreme. Thanks to Mr. LaRouche and company, we now have the image of Barack Obama as Barack Hussein Hitler. Don't believe it? Just walk through our school's quad and glance at the disturbing and defamatory image of the President donning a Hitler mustache. The Hitler/Nazi analogies being bandied about when speaking about our political leaders, let alone our president should give us all great pause. Dangerous and offensive as it is, the trend is not new.

Back in 2004, MoveOn.Org, a leading liberal lobbying group invited submissions for a television ad contest featuring images of then President George W. Bush. Of the 1,500 entries, there was a notorious submission in which the image of Adolf Hitler was conflated with that of Bush.  At the time, Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League said "Their lack of discretion changes the level of political discourse in America."

Well, the coarsening continues. The vexing debate over health care reform has become so inflammatory that opposition to Obama's policies, particularly health care, had led many to drag the Fuhrer back into the center of the debate. Rush Limbaugh has called Obama's plan "a Hitler-like policy." Placards at political rallies are replete with swastikas and these reprehensible images of Obama with Hitler's mustache pop up more often than not.

Quadrennial presidential candidate Lyndon LaRouche has made the Obama/Hitler comparison a mainstay of his health care opposition on college campuses everywhere, even regrettably here at SMC. Granted, Mr. LaRouche, seven times a Democratic candidate for president, ex-con and a man who has been labeled everything from a Marxist to an anti-semite to a homphobe is no paradigm of sanity.

Yet this has got to stop. Has all rationality been obliterated? Is the line between the center and the lunatic fringe unalterably blurred so as to prevent logical and reasoned debate??

Regardless of one's political leanings, all  should all be offended that the LaRouche PAC are here on our campus making casual comparisons of Obama to the man that attempted to exterminate the Jewish population of Europe.

What's more, LaRouche is exercising his first amendment right, as are many other protesters in a manner that cheapens the debate and gives a mainstream platform to outrageously offensive and utterly frightening ideas.

Sadly, more civic voices haven't been speaking up and one would think that reasonable citizens, left or right, would be louder in their condemnation. Why aren't we taking advantage of our first amendment rights? As students and citizens who don't treat totalitarian comparisons lightly and I hope that's all of us, we most certainly should.

Quick historical reminder: The Nazis put men, women and children into ovens; they murdered pregnant women by gunfire; they let human beings perish by gas in the showers and let churches go up in flames while jam-packed with people trapped inside. Invoking Hitler's name alone is not just insensitive but trivializes all those who died at the hands of the Third Reich.  It disrespects and distorts history. It shames the memory of those whose lives were so brutally taken.

This editorial is for all of us, but specifically,  the fellow student body here at SMC. We should challenge LaRouche at his own game. We should be speaking as fervently and passionately as he is. Our reason is the enemy of his ideological propaganda.

His Bill of Rights is also our Bill of Rights and we should be proud to protest against his organization and the many others who are letting fear not to mention historical ignorance shade their opinions of our current and past leaders. American Politics can be controversial indeed but Nazism it is not.

Seventy years ago, millions were slaughtered in Hitler's name. Placing former President Bush or President Obama in such company is not just irresponsible, it is downright dangerous. After all, it was ignorance and rhetoric that went unanswered which gave rise to the monstrosity that was Nazism. So raise your passion more than a few decibels and while you are at it, raise your voices too.