What I have been observing however, is the rampant division and activism shown by both Americans and Canadians pertaining to the recent election of Donald Trump. Specifically, comparisons of Trump to the (In)famous Nazi leader Adolf Hitler. So much so, that many people have come to the conclusion that they would indeed punch a Nazi, or in this case a Trump supporter, for various reasons that I even truly do not fully understand outside of the fact that Nazi's are bad.
Here are 3 reasons why punching a modern day Nazi is a bad idea and some suggestions on approaches that would not only net a better result, but essentially enact effective change.
Reason 1: Freedom of Speech
While Nazi supporters and really any group of people who publicly denounce others based on religion, political belief or the colour of their skin are annoying and uneducated, their personal beliefs are a right they hold in a Democracy. What is important to understand is that regardless of the current leader in power, the rule of law and the rights afforded to all citizens are still in place and for good reason. We have a right to voice our opinions, regardless of how stupid or hurtful they may appear. Equally as important however, is our right to counter such beliefs and enact discussion.
Over the past 3 decades, left leaning groups in both the United States and Canada have accomplished major feats in order to ensure the voice of the vulnerable and unheard has received more attention. Sadly, I would argue that what has also come from this is a total shut down of proper discussion between different parties along the political spectrum. It has become much easier for each side of the spectrum to simply apply labels to the opposing side in an effort to shut down their opinion or silence their public beliefs. This in turn, I would argue, has led to the mass protest vote witnessed in the United States with Donald Trump, while also giving rise to the far right in Europe.
Restarting the necessary discussion to allow a Democracy to thrive, is the answer to combat the ignorant and misguided support that has allowed the far-right to gain momentum. This is not achieved by fighting fire with fire, but rather with the education of those that support in this example white supremacist groups or Nazi copy cats.
Reason 2: The Truth
To compliment the first reason, it is important to remember that at the end of the day, the truth will prevail. This is where education becomes crucial, as it allows the truth to spread and also regulates the narrative of the day.
One key element of the recent American election is the rise of "Fake News." While I disagree that news can be fake, I do believe it is true to have news articles with fictitious sources or with a more personal narrative made to resemble an informed and researched argument.
If you believe that Donald Trump resembles a Nazi and that his party is not fit to lead your country, then now more than ever is the time for you to stand up and support the truth. How you do this can be reflected in your own style, but has to be a legitimate form of protest in order to allow the general public to support you. If you decide in a more embarrassing feat that you must now "Move to Canada," then I am sorry, but you have already failed.
When I hear people saying that they would move to Canada if Trump was elected, I just stop and think, why? This isn't the first time an unpopular choice was able to squeeze into power, after all in politics, the person with the most merit for leadership and change, is often times not the one who is selected, since the entire process is a gamble for power.
If you are going to move to Canada, make sure you have a good reason to do so, such as: Getting kicked out of America for protest that supports the truth or by embarrassing the current government through efforts that showcase their inability to lead. Don't just get up and run when the going gets tough, get tough and fight for the truth!
Reason 3: If you're going to throw a punch, be prepared to receive one too!
Violence in any form is something that should only be reserved for the purpose of self defense and as a last resort. No other explanation needed other than this, if for example a Nazi is choking you or is about to kill a bunch of people, then sure, punch the fucker in the face!
However, if someone is voicing their opinion, while maintaining the rule of law by not posing a direct threat to anyone, than saying you would like to punch them is far from the appropriate response to enact real change. Once that punch is landed and you have put yourself in the position to endanger that individual based on their own personal beliefs, you place yourself in a position where the state now has the authority to rain down on you. You not only lose all credibility, but also become an easy target that will be destroyed. Governments are prepared for violence, since they hold the sole authority to use it. If you rely on violence to enact change or alter the beliefs of others, you either did so impulsively or were never serious about true change. If anything, you just make a martyr out of the Nazi, who is playing by the systems rules.
Based on which generation you fall within, you do not have an obligation to fight Nazi's, most likely your grandfather or great grandfather did and that was because at the time the Nazi's posed a legitimate military threat on the world.
Your obligation today is to reinforce the value of a Democratic system and ensure that your country is inviting to all regardless of their beliefs. For it is through discussion and education that we will get anything done. If you rely on nonviolence to enact change, you are proven to be more effective in achieving it.
So, I will leave you with this, please do not stand voiceless in the face of authoritarianism. Right now, the most important thing a person can do to counter their governments choices is to ensure that the right information is being displayed to the general public and by winning hearts and minds. If the other guy is using fear and division to introduce their agenda, do not rely on their tactics to get results, utilize what is proven as a way to dismantle their attempts and ensure that people are educated enough to know where their support needs to be.
Canada and Canadians survived 10 years of Stephen Harper, America can survive Trump or if fortunate, impeach him!
Until Next Time!