In Ohio’s ninth congressional district, Republican voters have nominated Rich Iott, a wealthy businessman, who has an interesting hobby: he likes to dress up as a member of the Waffen SS, which were Nazi Germany’s elite and ideologically motivated shock troops. Here is how Iott’s play-date buddies describe the Waffen SS (italics mine):
Nazi Germany had no problem in recruiting the multitudes of volunteers willing to lay down their lives to ensure a “New and Free Europe”, free of the threat of Communism. National Socialism was seen by many in Holland, Denmark, Norway, Finland, and other eastern European and Balkan countries as the protector of personal freedom and their very way of life, despite the true underlying totalitarian (and quite twisted, in most cases) nature of the movement. Regardless, thousands upon thousands of valiant men died defending their respective countries in the name of a better tomorrow. We salute these idealists; no matter how unsavory the Nazi government was, the front-line soldiers of the Waffen-SS (in particular the foreign volunteers) gave their lives for their loved ones and a basic desire to be free.
This is sounds very familiar to anyone familiar with apologists for the Confederacy.
You know, the ‘Neo-Confederates’ who claim that the Civil War wasn’t about slavery, even as the adopted Declarations of Causes of Secession begin with the issue of slavery. Well, alright, they’ll admit, it was kind of about slavery, but they were fighting for the ideal of states’ rights and their freedom
to determine if African-Americans would be chattel.
Keep in mind, Rick Iott is not just some guy off the street, he is a Republican congressional candidate. Yet what he is doing is no different from the Neo-Confederates who are welcomed into the Republican Party, if quietly. It only seems crazy because it involves Nazis, instead of secessionist slave holders. But the form of the apology is identical–and equally reprehensible.