Hyperbole is the use of exaggeration as a rhetorical device or figure of speech. It may be used to evoke strong feelings or to create a strong impression, but is not meant to be taken literally.
Hitler is an iconic historical figure and Americans use hyperbolic comparisons to Hitler/Nazism every day to make a point, as Hank William’s Jr. did and as many others have done for this or other reasons, such as comedy. (See Jerry Seinfeld’s hilarious “Soup Nazi” skit.)
The comparison is used to mean that someone is extremely strict, inflexible or without empathy for others. Normally, people don’t get upset with this common usage, but somehow they they do become very upset when it is applied to Obama. The issue is not whether Obama is literally “Hitler,” but that there are some parallels to Nazism as a belief system in his background. It may be hyperbole, but it is hyperbole with a valid point. We hope that he does not become another Hitler.
The question is why do people think this commonly-used rhetorical device is okay to use everyday, but is way out of bounds when applied to Obama? It seems that many are so upset, when Obama is compared to Hitler, because they may have to recognize that there is a kernel of truth to the comparison and it makes them extremely uncomfortable to think that the President may somehow be Nazi-like in character.
In Obama’s case, there is more than just a speck of truth to the comparison. He has shown a willingness to use totalitarian methods, trampling on the Constitution and usurping the powers of other branches of Government.
There have always been two branches to the black liberation movement. Obama is not from the non-violent branch represented by Martin Luther King, Jr. and Booker T. Washington. Obama is from the much more racially militant Black Nationalist tradition of Malcolm X, Elijah Muhammad and Louis Farrakhan. After Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated, the more absolutist Black Nationalist branch moved to the fore.
The founder of the black nationalist mass movement in the late 1910’s was Marcus Garvey. Garvey met with the KKK in the 1920’s and began cooperation with them. He mandated that black nationalist groups should emulate white nationalist groups, such as the KKK and the Nazis and wrote that some day the black race would have their own black “Hitler.” (See “Selected Writings of Marcus Garvey,” edited by Bob Blaisdell, Dover Publication, Inc., Mineola, New York (2004), preface viii-x and pages 74-82 entitled “Hon. Marcus Garvey Tells of Interview with the Klu Klux Klan.”)
Since that time there has been a history of meetings and cooperation between black and white nationalists. In a reverse sense, the racial concept of Black Liberation Theology has some striking parallels to the racial concept of Nazism. You can learn more about this history at this link.
Obama may not be responsible for the death of 40-50 million people, but the hyperbolic comparison of Obama to Hitler does have some truth to it. The public needs to be educated about the fact that there are real parallels to Nazism in Obama’s religious background of Black Liberation Theology and Black Nationalism.
That some become angry when this comparison is made is just evidence that use of this so-called rhetorical device is effective. The comparison should be used more until people can no longer deny that there is truth to it. There should be no apologies made for speaking the truth.