ADOLF HITLER

Hitler belongs in history books, not on bus ads

 

The Washington Post

I would like my D6 bus without a side of Hitler, please.

Twenty Metro buses are crisscrossing the nation’s capital with Das Führer on their sides for the next month thanks to an incendiary, anti-Muslim ad campaign by the American Freedom Defense Initiative.

The westbound D6 featured a PNC Bank ad early Monday. Whew. But Shanna Dick is ready for Hitler’s face if it ever appears on that route.

“I just want to draw a big crucifix over his face, so I don’t have to look at it,” said Dick, 44. “Two wrongs don’t make a right. Hell isn’t big enough for him. And the side of a city bus isn’t the right place for that kind of evil, either.”

Adolf Hitler is a little too present these days.

There’s the video parody showing Hitler denouncing the Affordable Care Act, there’s the Hitler goldfish, the Angela Merkel Hitler mustache shadow picture and the ever-present last resort on Capitol Hill when a politician runs out of hyperbole.

Hillary Rodham Clinton, Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and John McCain, R-Ariz., —among many others — have recently compared Vladimir Putin to Hitler for his saber-rattling in Ukraine.

But we’ve also seen Hitler invoked by critics of Walmart, the Common Core education standards, President Obama, former president George W. Bush, union opponents, the American Humanist Association and tax equality.

Let’s be clear: Adolf Hitler orchestrated the deaths of millions of people. A new way to do math is not the Holocaust.

And constant comparisons to Hitler will eventually dull and deaden the association with pure evil. Like yelling fire in the theater, if another Third Reich ever begins rising, we'll all be too numb to notice.

The ad on the buses says: “Islamic Jew-Hatred: It’s in the Quran.” It shows a photo of Hitler meeting with Haj Amin al-Husseini, a Palestinian nationalist who was an ally of the Third Reich and is described in the ad as “the leader of the Muslim world.”

The ad calls for an end to racism by ending U.S. aid to Islamic countries. And the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority can’t do a thing about it.

The last time Pam Geller, the head of the conservative institute that placed the ads, bought space for another anti-Islam screed in 2012, the transit agency tried to get rid of the ads that called Muslims savages. But the First Amendment — and a federal judge — said too bad. The ads are free speech.

Geller said she has received hundreds of emails supporting the bus ads.

“The image of Hitler and the Muslim world’s most influential leader demonstrates most vividly the whitewash and scrubbing of history. I used the image precisely because people are unaware of these facts, and because they need to know them,” she said.

Many more ads are planned on buses across the nation.

A Washington schoolteacher, Debbie Polhemus, covered those ads with hundreds of sticky notes. Oh, Debbie! Can you help us again? Shanna will join you, I’m sure, with her crucifixes.

There is no doubt that insensitive, harsh, graphic and inflammatory ads can do more harm than good.

It’s a controversy that pops up every couple of years. In 2012, it was an ad against the Affordable Care Act that said “Go to hell Barack.”

In 2009, there were the anti-gay ads fighting same-sex marriage voting. (Oops, that failed.)

Imagine being stuck behind Operation Rescue’s “Truth Truck,” a vehicle plastered with huge photos of bloody, mangled and decapitated fetuses when you’re stuck in traffic getting your children to soccer practice. Lovely. Thanks for giving my kids nightmares for years, people who claim to want to save children.

And how about a day when you’re stuck behind a “Love Your Butt” colonoscopy ad?

Really, what ends up happening with much of that ad space is that it becomes a paid forum for age-old wars.

The Muslims take advertising aim at the Jews, the Jews advertise right back. The atheists buy a bunch of ads at Christmas, the Catholics buy more. It’s pretty lucrative. If cats and dogs had cash, Metro would have enough money to finish the Silver Line on time and begin building a gold one.

But with the First Amendment comes responsibility. And shrill use of our freedom to speak is nothing but abuse, especially when it comes to invoking Hitler.

Hitler should be featured prominently in history books and Holocaust museums.

But not on my D6.

© 2014, The Washington Post

Read more Other Views stories from the Miami Herald

  • SYRIA

    Turning our backs on atrocities

    For every dissident and defector I’ve encountered, there is a moment when observation begins to feel like complicity — when remaining a bystander involves culpability.

  •  
MCT

    MIDTERM ELECTIONS

    Time for voters to come to their senses

    The boys and girls of Congress are returning from summer camp — er, Capitol Hill — to their real homes where they will 1) raise money and plead to be returned to camp; 2) stress how much they hate the nation’s political polarization; and 3) pledge never to compromise their beliefs.

  • CONGRESS

    Senators earn an ‘A’ for sexual assault bill

    Sen. Marco Rubio doesn’t have much time for Democrats. But he does have two daughters. And so it was that Wednesday morning, he found himself standing in solidarity with a bipartisan group of senators that included Democrats Kirsten Gillibrand and Claire McCaskill as they announced legislation to curb the scourge of sexual assault on U.S. campuses.

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category