Consider this: What if Donald Trump is exactly the egomaniac bent on becoming dictator that he appears to be? What if he even imagines himself the second coming of Hitler? In my terrified opinion, the evidence points that way.

Joe Biden recently said, “The one thing you never want to invoke is Nazi Germany, no matter what the circumstances … it is an overwhelming diversion.”

With all due respect, at this moment in time, that is exactly 100 percent wrong.

The Jews survived the Holocaust with a determination to “Never Forget” — precisely to help humanity protect against it ever happening again. To anyone.

So we have a moral imperative to speak out at the first whiff of fascism. And there’s a downright stench coming from the Trumpists — better yet, Trumpis — who, like the Nazis, rose to legitimate power by whipping up bitter racism and rabid nationalism, and by promising jobs to economically depressed workers. Truly, Hitler’s dual mottos could have been “Make Germany Great Again” and “Germany First.”

The Trumpis sure seem to be playing by the Nazi handbook, to the point of replacing one religious group for another as easy targets to persecute. Even before the Muslim ban, couldn’t you hear the drumbeats in Trump’s inauguration speech about eradicating radical Islamic terrorism “completely from the face of the earth?” Don’t you see how easily this can lead deranged minds to a “Final Solution” for the “Muslim problem?” Let me spell it out: Anyone can become radicalized when pushed far enough. And terrorism is a tactic and cannot be wiped out any more than kidnapping or mugging. So the only sure but pure-evil way to wipe out “radical Islamic terrorism” is to wipe out all Muslims. (Kind of how Duterte is “solving” the drug problem in the Philippines by killing all involved.)

Add the fact that Trump is filling the halls of power with known anti-Islam ideologues and basically inflaming the entire Muslim world … and now doesn’t the Muslim ban very much seem to be the first step down a hauntingly dark road? Eerily similar to the rollout of anti-Semitic policies in the 1930s?

The razor-thin justification for the Muslim ban is keeping the American people safe from terrorism. But the (non-alternative) facts are that, since 9/11 when we heightened security, maybe 100 to 200 Americans have been killed by Islamic terrorists on our own soil. Tragedies all — but far more hideous tragedies if we let them to be used to permit fascism in America! If we continue to swallow this propaganda, then we have absolutely started down that dark road.

Of course, as with the Nazis, the scapegoating — of Mexicans as well — is only part of the monstrous plan.

Here is the pitch-black foreshadowing of what’s in store for our inglorious future: The absurd yet nonstop denouncing of the “mainstream” media must be interpreted as propaganda aimed at obscuring the truth of horrible events yet to come. More nonsense about nonexistent voter fraud is a bare-veiled attempt to encourage voter suppression. Insulting, overruling and politicizing the judiciary is a constitutional crisis itching to happen. These attacks on the very cornerstones of democracy are revealing. Hitler hated democracy too. 

Threatening to send federal troops into Chicago and pulling federal funding for “sanctuary cities” (resistance strongholds) are nothing more than raw displays of Trumpism’s newfound power, both military and economic. The demand for blind loyalty has begun, as manifested in gag orders on regulatory agencies, telling federal employees to “get with the program” or go, and firing the acting attorney general for dissent and labeling it “betrayal.”

And then there is the deliberate and rapid march toward war, which is ultimately how the Nazis trapped everyone in their conflagration. Trump has already placed sanctions on Iran, incensed what seems like half the UN and provoked other-superpower China so much that their state media is speaking about “possible military conflict.” We’re talking World War III here, people, and Holocaust II.

My God, what do the Trumpis have to do before we stop them?

Part of their plan is to get all this chaos happening at once. Near-pure distractions like the obvious lie about inauguration crowds. Dangerous “deals with the devil” made by Republicans to retain their power with both Trump voters (abortion rights, isolationist trade policies) and corporate interests (pipelines, union-busting, financial regulations). And diabolical agenda items like continuing to stoke racism over the Mexican wall and the nominations of willing collaborators.

Overall, can Trump’s withering flurry of hasty executive orders be seen as anything other than a political blitzkrieg, a lightning-fast war designed to keep the resistance divided, scrambling and reacting, rather than seeing the all-important big picture?

The Nazis slowly tightened the vice. The Trumpis seem intent on moving much faster. Which is why it’s so crucial to nip all of it in the poisonous bud immediately … while we still can.

Indeed, the differences from the 1930s only make it all far more urgent. Because, while Hitler had to build his Reich slowly from a ravaged post-WWI Germany, look what we’ve handed to Trump: The reins to the mightiest military the world has ever seen—including armies of nukes (nukes!!) and drones. The unprecedented ability to spy on his own people. The economic capability to cause a worldwide depression. A hidden-in-plain-sight Ministry of Propaganda, fully ramped up over the last 20 years by Republicans with their own greedy agenda, and known more popularly as FOX “News.” And a political system so broken — on purpose! — that even when rational people know the truth, we can’t do anything about it.

Nearly all of the pieces are in place, which explains how Trump is able to move so fast … and how he could accelerate at any moment. Call me an alarmist, but doesn’t history itself weep that there weren’t more people sounding the alarm in Nazi Germany, before the mass extermination of the Jews and many others began, before Hitler plunged the world into the nightmare of World War II?

Some believe it’s just a massive money-grab. But that’s been happening for many years, doesn’t really explain the alt-right inner circle, and serves so many of their purposes anyway. Besides, even if it is just the world’s most diabolical and dangerous con game, don’t we have to stop it anyway?

But if there’s even a chance this is an attempted neo-Nazi takeover, if there’s even the potential it could happen, which I believe is abundantly clear now, we must act immediately. And here’s the crucial first step:

Get this message out there, right away. Make the national conversation about the larger plot and stop getting lost in the plot points. For once we clearly see the evil genius of their master plan, can we fail to stop it?

Overcome both apathy and self-interest by listening to the famous words of a pastor who spent seven years in a Nazi concentration camp:

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out —

Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out —

Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out —

Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me — and there was no one left to speak for me.

In our case, it’s first they came for the Mexicans … the Muslims … the press … the unions … the women … the sick … the famous civil rights leaders … the Democrats … the celebrities … stop me when I get to you, if it’s not too late to stop anything by then.

Journalists, you can be heroes, like Edward R. Murrow when faced with McCarthyism. Religious leaders, you have your pulpits. Celebrities, so do you. Whistleblowers, we need you desperately. Minorities, band together on core American principles. Judges, stand your legal and moral ground. Politicians, cast aside any ethical compromises you’ve made in the past, forced or voluntary. All will be forgiven if you rise up to save America and the world right now!

We all must, gently but quickly, get the Trump voters who are even now still supporting him to understand what has happened, that they’ve been put in a “bubble” of propaganda, that they’ve been bribed and deceived into electing a dangerous madman who ultimately threatens everyone’s freedom. Without popular support, this is all clearly revealed to be the raw power grab that it is.

Everyone, the time to act is immediately. While we still have so much freedom of speech. Before the vice tightens further. Before they succeed in stacking the judiciary with partisan judges, removing the final check and balance. Before the next Muslim regulation. Before the walls are built. Before the next war. Before it’s too late.

A.G. Stern is a Pasadena resident. Contact him at kevinu@pasadenaweekly.com