Far be it from me to say this as someone who rolls his eyes when a fraternity “fiesta” with sombreros and margaritas is attacked for so-called “cultural appropriation,” but sometimes the “appropriation” of a term rises to a level considerably more serious than undergraduate “microagressions” — and such an instance is the use of the term “Resistance” by people in opposition, violent and otherwise, to Donald Trump and his administration.
They are, of course, comparing themselves to the French Resistance of World War II. Not only is this the most self-aggrandizing form of “cultural appropriation” imaginable, it is also — not even by inference, but directly and insultingly — anti-Semitic. It trivializes the unspeakable horror Jews and millions of others went through then.
The original “Résistance” began in June 1940 when Nazi Germany defeated France and took over that country, installing a puppet government (Vichy). This, on the face of it, makes any comparison to the presidency of Donald Trump, who was duly elected, absurd, but let’s add just a few facts. At the outset, mid-1940, buildings throughout France were renamed, books were banned, art was stolen and taken to Germany, and people disappeared. (A number of Germans and Austrians had escaped to France in the 1930s. Too bad for them.) Further, in October of that year, under the statut des Juifs, Jews were forbidden to practice the professions — law, medicine, etc. — and Jewish-owned businesses were confiscated and placed under “Aryan” control. The Jews were also banned from public places such as cinemas, museums and parks and only allowed to ride on the last carriage of the Paris metro. Mandatory armbands followed shortly thereafter.
Has any of that — anything remotely like that — happened here under the new administration?
Of course, things in France then got a lot worse fast:
The Drancy camp [near Paris] was designed to hold 700 people, but at its peak held more than 7,000. There is documented evidence and testimony recounting the brutality of the French guards in Drancy and the harsh conditions imposed on the inmates. For example, upon their arrival, small children were immediately separated from their parents for deportation to the death camps.
On 6 April 1944, SS First Lieutenant Klaus Barbie raided a children’s home in Izieu, France, where Jewish children had been hidden. Barbie arrested everyone present, all 44 children and 7 adult staff members. The next day, the Gestapo transported the arrestees to Drancy. From there, all the children and staff were deported to Auschwitz. None of them survived.
Many French Jewish intellectuals and artists were held in Drancy, including Max Jacob (who died there), Tristan Bernard, and the choreographer René Blum. Of the 75,000 Jews whom French and German authorities deported from France, more than 67,000 were sent directly from Drancy to Auschwitz.
As most literate people know — well, some anyway — it didn’t get better from there. In all this there were brave people like the legendary Maquis guerrilla fighters who battled the Nazis in rural France as well as numerous collaborators who, hopefully, are rotting in Hell. This real “Resistance” — this life-and-death struggle between good and evil — was going on all over the Continent while the ghastly “Final Solution” played out in the background.
Marcel Ophuls’ The Sorrow and the Pity is an extraordinary film about what went on in France then. A dramatic account of the Jewish partisans fighting in the woods of Italy can be found in Primo Levi’s remarkable novel If Not Now, When?
There are many other European and American books, plays, and films about this period. But the snowflakes, old and young, marching against Trump under the banner of the “Resistance” seem not to have read or seen them or, if they have, digested the message. What is there about Trump or what he is doing that brooks any sort of comparison to the Nazi period and World War II, when an estimated 50 to 80 million people died? Why is it that the likes of Snoop Dogg feel this man must be assassinated? Why is Barbra Streisand gaining weight? Have all these people had a collective lobotomy?
In a way, yes. Their brains have been fried by their own delusions. They are searching for a justification of their own existences, a way to feel superior and guilt-free for their own lives which are a thousand times better and luckier than almost anyone in the history of the human race. Rather than feeling grateful, rather than merely opposing some or even all of Trump’s policies, they despise and demonize him so that they can feel somehow victimized. (See, we’ve got it bad. We have to deal with Goering… er, Trump…. More truffles on the pasta, Wolfgang.) This describes not just multi-millionaires like Snoop and Barbra — who have undoubtedly only gotten richer from the stock market since Trump was elected — but millions of people from the soi-disant feminist who parades around in a pussy hat while disdaining the true fighter for women Ayaan Hirsi Ali to the wannabe anarchists smashing windows who wouldn’t know Kropotkin from a Quarter Pounder with Cheese.
There is nothing more “Me Generation, ” more — sorry for the self-promotion but it’s accurate — morally narcissistic than this, yes, lobotomized behavior. It’s all acting out, from top to bottom, by people who haven’t, in their wildest imaginations, faced real adversity, let alone a situation that would merit a true resistance. Heaven help them if they do. Résistance, my fat patootie!
Roger L. Simon is an award-winning novelist, Academy Award-nominated screenwriter and co-founder of PJ Media. His latest book is I Know Best: How Moral Narcissism Is Destroying Our Republic, If It Hasn’t Already. Follow him on Twitter @rogerlsimon.