The people have gone mad. There really is no other way to explain it.

Why else would they vote for an individual or party which has declared itself to be fascists while wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross?

Can they not see that the riots in the streets at the nation’s capital repudiates the rhetoric of “God and country”? Can they not hear how their words villainize a minoritized group so the violence visited upon them can be justified?

The people have fallen under the sway of a charismatic leader who they believe is like them, who says out loud what they are thinking – and to hell with political correctness.

Claiming he is anointed by God, they are bewitched with promises of making their country great again, a country which centers and privileges their whiteness and their Christian faith, a country which is not afraid to eliminate the vermin which supposedly hates them, hates their country and hates their faith.

So, on Election Day, they came out and voted for evil, they voted for the “big lie,” they voted for paranoia conspiracy theories and alternative facts rather than for reality and verifiable facts.

During the 1932 parliamentary election, their vote made hatred a motivating force in the Reichstag. Never winning the popular vote himself, Adolf Hitler was nonetheless appointed Chancellor of Germany.

Using democratic structures, he gained enough power to then weaken and dismantle those same structures. He was able to impose dictatorial fascist rule the following year because this is what the people wanted; this is how their vote was translated.

Their hatred for the disenfranchised minority in their country – Jews – was so great that they willingly looked the other way as they were being victimized and slaughtered.

Yes, the people have developed temporary insanity – or have they? For years, I always wondered how a people – good, God-fearing people – could be duped into participating in such terrorizing horror?

How can an educated people, proclaimed by earlier philosophers like Hegel as being the apex of civilization participate, engage in such primitive, barbaric and savage practices?

Could it be that this was not some aberration? That participation was more complex than simply being beguiled by a stable genius. That maybe eurocentrism really is primitive, barbaric and savage.

Since the Second World War, Adolf Hitler’s name has become synonymous with the personification of evil. If Dante was writing his Inferno today, I have no doubt he would place Hitler in the mouth of Satan at the lowest level of Hell.

I do not question Hitler’s ignorance and hatred, his antisemitism, his hyper-glorification of whiteness. Still, I wonder if making him the personification of evil for our times is a move to excuse, ignore and deflect from the evil which motivated so many to cast their votes for his party.

Those who voted for Nazism are complicit with evil, we like to say. But when we make one person, along with a small cadre of sycophants, the blemished scapegoats which carry the sins of the people, then the rest of society can be absolved of their own evil; they can be excused as ignorant unwilling accomplices.

I instead argue that they are more than simply complicit with evil; they are giving their own evil free range.

The success of the political party which pedaled lies and gaslighted their opponents as unpatriotic was made possible because enough citizens voted for them.

Proud boys put on Brown Shirts to intimidate their perceived enemies, oath keepers touted the ideals of fascism so that good law-abiding Christians could shake their heads in feigned disgust, secretly grateful someone was bloodying their hands so that their unearned power, privilege and profits could be kept secured.

I argue that voters for known liars and lawbreakers gave in to their baser instincts, choosing to believe conspiracies which led them to participate in the evil of dismantling their own Republic, the evil of slaughtering their perceived enemies of the state.

No doubt there is the evil of sociopaths like Hitler, and all other antichrists before and since. But there is also the evil of everyday citizens, what Hannah Arendt called the “banality of evil,” not just those who made the trains run on time, but those who voted for their white privilege, their self-interest.

These were business leaders who gave to worthwhile charities but nonetheless underestimated a person who failed in business because they thought they could control him. Cookie-cooking grandmas who supported a narcissist who told them that only he could fix what was wrong with society.

Hard working fathers who ignored the demonizing of a minority group, insisting Gestapo lives matter too, because of the promise of lower taxes and future prosperity. Seasoned politicians who knew better, but nonetheless held their noses and supported a person who never held political office because it was politically expedient.

And then there are those who chose not to vote because the alternative candidates were not ideologically pure or perfect, or they dismissed all politicians as being the same, or they didn’t think their vote would matter, or they planned a picnic at the park for election day.

And finally, there are church folk. Those commissioned to stand in solidarity with the least of these, who chose instead to follow the party proclaiming “family values.” This last group – regardless of their faith tradition – was probably the most evil of all, especially those who called themselves Christians.

They blasphemed the God of love in whom they proclaimed belief when they provided the procurers of hate with the necessary votes to win – a hatred which normalized and legitimized feeding ovens with the children of minoritized groups, their perceived enemies, the reason they thought their country was falling short of greatness.

Yes, people suffer when good Christians remain silent in the face of persecution. But they suffer more when these “good” Christians, embracing personal piety and claiming to be born-again or Spirit-filled, cast their vote for evil, thus revealing their true nature and their apostasy, their rejection of the gospel message of love, the call to put others first.

God save us from these Christians – then and now.

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