This week we’ve been exploring a wide range of stories that might back up science fiction writer Robert Heinlein’s prediction that we’re caught in “Crazy Years.” (Scroll down on the right side of this page for links to our earlier stories.)
TODAY, I’d like to know what you think about this question: Is it ok for a political candidate to play Nazi? Would you vote for a political candidate this November if you learned he was fond of wearing a Nazi uniform and participating in Nazi reenactments?
If you live in Ohio’s 9th District, you’ll have your chance: Rich Iott, the Republican candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives. According to a report in the Atlantic, for years Iott would don a German Waffen SS uniform and participate in these WWII reenactments. He was associated with a group called Wiking, which reenacts the exploits of an actual Panzer division. (Visit Wiking’s site here.)
Iott freely admits his involvement but says it shouldn’t matter because he doesn’t endorse Nazi ideology. Just from a purely military point of view, he admires their prowess. Quoted in the article, he says, “I’ve always been fascinated by the fact that here was a relatively small country that from a strictly military point of view accomplished incredible things. I mean, they took over most of Europe and Russia, and it really took the combined effort of the free world to defeat them. From a purely historical military point of view, that’s incredible.”
The Wiking view of history is a sanitized and romanticized view of the past, a reconstruction that distorts the facts. It reminds me of Heinlein’s novel “The Cat Who Walks Through Walls”—a story about the ever-changing nature of our impressions of history—and the human potential to manipulate and rewrite that history.
Do you agree with Iott that it’s completely fine to be a recreationist of the Nazi past?
Do you think it’s horrifying that any candidate for political office would want to recreate the Nazi past?
In Germany or Austria, it is illegal to wear a Nazi uniform—should it be outlawed here, too?
And tell us: Does this incident qualify as more evidence that we are, indeed, in the Crazy Years?
Please, add a “Comment” below.