The Good Guys vs the Bad Guys

I grew up with a very clear picture of what a Nazi was. They were bad guys with German accents who wore small hats and army uniforms and were often being punched in the face by Indiana Jones. They were scary and aggressive but got repaid for their Nazism by getting killed by and sucked into the Ark of the Covenant. When Nazis did make the mistake of being on American soil, they were being run off a bridge by Elwood and Jake Blues. I knew just who they were and one thing was absolutely clear: they were the bad guys, and we were the good guys.

What happened in Charlottesville was a horrible situation rife with eerie aspects. To see Nazism this open in the U.S. is disgusting. To see an open white supremacist praise Donald Trump was right up there in its current day dystopian aspect as well. To watch someone drive a car into people was indescribably horrifying. Then, the president, the guy who is supposed to be our leader and the guy who can’t seem to stop himself from calling out actors, musicians, reality TV stars, and models, to see him actively not call out Nazis and then literally run away from questions on the events of the day, was like a scene in a Philip K. Dick book.

It didn’t stop there. His supporters condemned counter protesters, did their little what about…? argument (the only argumentative arrow his supporters have in their argument quiver), and then his white house did what they always seem to do when the president speaks: they spent the day telling us what he “obviously” meant.

But the eeriest aspect was the Nazis themselves. See, when I think of Nazis, I think of angry, aggressive, malignant white people getting punched in the face by Indiana Jones. But those guys at the Nazi rally looked like a bunch of IT guys on their lunch break. They looked like the guy who sits at the desk next to me who eats chocolate ice cream likes it’s a full contact sport. They looked like the dorky administrator in my building who always leaves the size stickers on his pants and can’t grow a good beard. They looked like normal dudes. They looked like me.

The only differences between the Nazis at that rally and the neighbor who waved at me with a genuine smile 30 minutes ago from his John Deere tracker were that the Nazis wore glaring crinkled angry brows, their fur was bristled, and the carried tiki torches. And this, probably (hopefully) like you, depressed and demoralized the hell out of me.

The only thing that restored my faith in humanity is that a lot of the good guys looked like me too. The Good Guys. The priests, teachers, college kids, and local townspeople who stood up to the Nazis, these modern day monsters. And if you have any question as to who the good guys are and who they bad guys are in this situation, then maybe you need a punch in the face from Indiana Jones.

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