Arnold Schwarzenegger Has Some Things To Say About Nazis, Swords, Donald Trump
This morning, action star and former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger shared a video on Twitter condemning the actions of those who stormed the Capitol last Wednesday, comparing it to Kristallnacht, or the night of broken glass, when Germans, led by Nazi storm troopers, started demolishing Jewish businesses and homes and synagogues.
My message to my fellow Americans and friends around the world following this week's attack on the Capitol. https://t.co/blOy35LWJ5— Arnold (@Arnold) 1610282700.0
Schwarzenegger explained that, having grown up in Austria, he has a certain familiarity with these sorts of people.
I grew up up in Austria. I'm very aware of Kristallnacht, or the Night of Broken Glass. It was a night of rampage against the Jews carried out in 1938 by the equivalent of the Proud Boys.
Wednesday was the Day of Broken Glass right here in the United States. The broken glass was in the windows of the United States Capitol. But the mob did not just shatter the windows of the Capitol – they shattered the ideas we took for granted.
They did not just break down the doors of the building that housed American democracy, they trampled the very principles on which our country was founded.
Now, I grew up in the ruins of a country that suffered the loss of its democracy. I was born in 1947, two years after the Second World War.
He also shared some personal experience.
Schwarzenegger's father, as you may or may not know, was an actual Nazi — a fact which came out after Schwarzenegger himself asked the Simon Wisenthal center to investigate him back in the early '90s. Gustav Schwarzenegger voluntarily applied to join the National Socialist Party in 1938, prior to Hitler annexing Austria. He joined the Sturmabteilungen — the storm troopers — in 1939, just six months after they perpetrated the actual Kristalnacht. And, later, he became a pretty severe alcoholic and ended up dying in a drunk driving accident.
In the video, Schwarzenegger tells of how his father was drunk all of the time, and would beat him and beat his mother — and how every man on his street was doing the same thing.
Growing up, I was surrounded by broken men drinking away the guilt over their participation in the most evil regime in history.
Not all of them were rabid anti-Semites or Nazis, many just went along, step-by-step, down the road. They were the people next door.
Now, I've never shared this so publicly because it is a painful memory, but my father would come home drunk once or twice a week, and he would scream and hit us and scare my mother.
I didn't hold him totally responsible because our neighbor was doing the same thing to his family, and so was the next neighbor over. I heard it with my own ears and saw it with my own eyes.
They were in physical pain from the shrapnel in their bodies and in emotional pain from what they saw or did. It all started with lies, and lies, and lies, and intolerance.
That is a horrid thing to go through. I don't even know what to say. Though I can't quite picture those who stormed the Capitol having any such guilt down the line. They're true believers. They're out there shouting "Victory or Death!" If you ask me, they're probably closer in temperament to the thousands of loyal Nazis who committed suicide in 1945 because they couldn't bear the thought of living without Hitler. Pretty sure that's who they are.
Schwarzenegger continued on, stating that Trump would be remembered as the worst President in history and also calling out the members of his own party (cause remember, he's a Republican) as cowards for their complicity in all of this.
John F. Kennedy wrote a book called "Profiles in Courage." A number of members of my own party, because of their own spinelessness, would never see their names in such a book, I guarantee you. They're complicit with those who carried the flag of self-righteous insurrection into the Capitol.
Opportunists, cowards, potato potahto.
But he ended on a hopeful note. While wielding his sword from Conan The Barbarian. Like you do.
Now you see this sword? This is Conan's sword.
Now here's the thing about swords: the more you temper a sword, the stronger it becomes. The more you pound it with a hammer and then heat it in the fire, and then thrust it into the cold water, and then pound it again, and then plunge it into the fire and the water, and the more often you do that, the stronger it becomes.
I'm not telling you all this because I want you to become an expert sword maker, but our democracy is like the steel of this sword: the more it is tempered, the stronger it becomes.
Our democracy has been tempered by wars, injustices and insurrections. I believe as shaken as we have been by results of recent days, we will now come out stronger because we now understand what can be lost.
We need reforms, of course so that this never ever happens again. We need to hold accountable the people that brought us to this unforgivable point. And we need to look past ourselves, our parties and disagreements, and put our democracy first.
Well that was just lovely and we all learned something new about swords.
I am sure that at some point in this I should have dropped a reference to Terminator, but I've actually never seen any of those movies so I cannot actually do that. So you can drop all of your own Terminator references in the comments, or whatever else, because this is now your open thread.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse