Unalloyed xenophobic rage presents a challenge similar to one posed by habitual lying—just as it's hard to keep up with one's own falsehoods, it's difficult to remember whether shouting "Heil Hitler!" at a Jew is good or bad.
Take, for instance, this woman at a healthcare town hall sponsored by a Las Vegas radio station. After watching an Israeli immigrant to the United States praise his homeland's government-run healthcare system, she is moved to respond, "Heil Hitler!"
What does that mean? Well, it could mean "Heil Hitler, you Jew, you are a subhuman blood-sucker," a sentiment common to right-wing extremists who actively seek the violent overthrow of the federal government. Or it could mean, "By supporting government-run healthcare, sir, you may as well be shouting 'Heil Hitler,' because you are supporting Barack Obama, who is a Nazi"—a sentiment also common to right-wing extremists who actively seek the violent overthrow of the federal government. You see the problem? The feverish, paranoid snake that is contemporary right-wing political thought has begun to eat its own tail, and the swamp is full of anti-Semites and Nazi-haters who both seek the same thing—a return to the "real America."
As you can see from the look of terror that crosses this woman's face when the Israeli challenges her—"I'm a Jew! You're telling me, ‘Heil Hitler'? Shame of you!"—she appears to have briefly forgotten which one she is. In the most cosmic of ironies, she is wearing an Israeli Defense Forces t-shirt, so it's not likely that she's a rabid neo-Nazi. Still, you can see in her eyes that she is frantically checking an exhaustive catalog of political outrages in the back of her mind—which is worse, supporting healthcare reform, or yelling "Heil Hitler" at a Jew?
She quickly decides that it's the former, and tells the Israeli that, as a Jew, he should be more frightened than anyone of Obama's policies. It's about as comprehensive a tangle of our current political dynamic as we've seen—a middle-aged white woman who seems to believe that Jews are good to the extent that Israel is good because Israel kills Arabs but bad to the extent that one of them supports socialized medicine shouts "Heil Hitler" at an Israeli because Hitler was bad to the extent that he was like Obama but was also good to the extent that he was against Communist Jews. It's taxing to remember where the political lines are drawn when the only thing you care about is hating the president.
And it's like a comment thread on Red State brought to life. The woman here had probably written "Heil Hitler" into dozens of comment forms during her long, lonely nights of rage, and she clearly was shocked when she realized she'd said it in real life. "Heil Hitler!" "Let's bring an assault rifle to the next town hall!" It's a reverse TRON, and the trolls have escaped into our world.
After she tells the Israeli that he should be more afraid than anyone else of nationalized healthcare—because, just like in Israel, it's an anti-Semitic plot—she mocks him with a caustic "boo-hoo" because he complained about an $8,000 trip to the emergency room without healthcare. Jews are so cheap!
[Via Think Progress.]