From the Washington Post, in what should be a front-page story everywhere, one akin to a dictator's personal loyalty oath:
For two decades, the commander in chief has doled out distinguished-looking coins as personal mementos. Now, the presidential "challenge coin" has undergone a Trumpian transformation.
The presidential seal has been replaced by an eagle bearing President Trump’s signature. The eagle’s head faces right, not left, as on the seal. The 13 arrows representing the original states have disappeared. And the national motto, "E pluribus unum" … is gone. Instead, both sides of the coin feature Trump’s campaign slogan, "Make America Great Again."
The changes don’t stop there. In addition to his signature, Trump’s name appears three times on the coin.
Heil to the usurpation of country and exaltation of servility to one man, one Leader, one Führer.
Roughly a third of the nation endorses this slop, which isn't far from the minority percentage that endorsed it four score and four years ago in central Europe. Ich schwöre: Ich werde dem Führer des Deutschen Reiches und Volkes Adolf Hitler treu und gehorsam sein, die Gesetze beachten, und meine Amtspflichten gewissenhaft erfüllen, so wahr mir Gott helfe. I pledge to follow the leader and Make Germany Great Again, so help me God. I'll swallow any state propaganda and attack any state-approved scapegoat and I'll cherish the articulated rot of Frau Huckabee Sanders, Minister of Truth, and I'll forever genuflect to the high orange-coifed orangutan of Earth's particular plane of the apes — our obedient nation of rib-scratchers.
I shall always remember the day when, over copious red wine at a local bistro, I expressed my enduring bafflement, to a professor of modern European history and friend, over how it was that an eminently civilized nation such as Germany could have journeyed so far to the dark side. My professor friend's straightforward response — and that's what made it unforgettable — was, "Well, what do you mean? Hitler bamboozled millions, he then was appointed (because of his parliamentary control, via a coalition) to high office, and then he locked down dictatorial control. Simple as that."
This had always failed to satisfy my curiosity and wonder; just how did a highly cultured nation come to embrace a philistine of the lowest order and his entire gang of criminal misfits — how did millions not see what depths of depravity they were in for; how did they manage to watch and accept, day after day, the wretched descent of their fatherland into an infamy so sickeningly profound? I had tried imagining the daily tick-tock of self-annihilation, Germany's metronomic plunge into unprecedented degradation, but I was always unsuccessful. Herr Hitler's rise remained unfathomable, as was his country's precipitous dive.
I was always unsuccessful. Until now. Because as an object lesson the selfsame disgrace is taking place right before our eyes: the loud, vocal, controlling minority, the assorted distortions of democracy, the official propaganda disseminated daily, the quotidian brayings of an unbalanced demagogue, the chipping away at institutional norms, the transmutation of highest office into a den of personal and political iniquity. And we, the collective who know better — workers both blue and white-collared, the uniformed, the scapegoated, the literati, the business-minded, the sane media, the intelligentsia, the people's sober representatives — are tolerating the wannabe dictator's insufferable erosions of human decency and law.
He'll be checked, in time. The elections of 2018 and 2020 will halt and reverse the Far-Right Demagogue & Party's slide into otherwise irreversible national disgrace. But, just as generations have asked how civilized Germany could have countenanced barbaric fascism for so long, so too will generations henceforth ask: Why did decent Americans permit Trumpism to flourish for at least two nation-debasing years?
This will puzzle them, but it doesn't puzzle us. For we're watching it unfold in real time.