At a “Moms for America” rally the day before the siege of the Capitol Building, Representative Mary Miller of Illinois was seen speaking to the group about the integrity of the Constitution and questioning the legitimacy of the past election. As she spoke, she went on to say “Each generation has the responsibility to teach and train the next generation,”. A video shows Miller saying “You know, if we win a few elections, we’re still gonna be losing unless we win the hearts and minds of our children. This is the battle. Hitler was right on one thing. He said, ‘Whoever has the youth has the future.” She then mentioned how there is an “importance of guarding” the youth from propaganda and incorrect influences. Having only been elected this past November, the freshman congress member has already received widespread backlash, as well as calls to step down by other representatives of Illinois. Republican representative of Illinois Adam Kinzinger called her comments “garbage”, Chairman of the Illinois Republican Party Tim Schneider called it “disgusting”, and democrats from Illinois called for her to resign.
The citation of Hitler is a concerning act no matter what the content of the quote; debatably dismissible actions like this build-up to the frightening prevalence of alt-right sentiments creeping into republican normality. This can be traced all the way back to 2017, when the Charlottesville “Unite the Right” rally raised controversy when President Trump initially refused to condemn the gathering and white supremacists attending. It can also be seen during the presidential debates of 2020 when asked repeatedly by mediator Chris Wallace to condemn violence by white supremacy, only to tell the Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by”.
People have become desensitized to highly problematic speech and behaviour, to the point where some can defend a legislator for deeming the most gruesome dictator in history correct about anything. To the point where people chanting “Heads on Pikes” outside the capitol building doesn’t warrant a stronger police response. To the point where when Twitter begins removing Nazi content from their platform, prominent Republicans complain of losing their follower base, openly admitting that they represent dangerous people within the country.
It should not be this difficult to rid the United States of hateful groups. It should not be unsurprising to see white protesters walk into the Capitol relatively unharmed, while peaceful violin vigils for unarmed victims of police brutality are met with violence and tear gas.
As has been the phrase most repeated throughout the past four years: This is not normal.