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Opinion

Marjorie Taylor Greene, Mark Ruffalo and anyone else flinging around terms like ‘holocaust’ and ‘genocide’ are cheapening tragedy

Genocides are memorable because they are, mercifully, aberrations in the modern world, yet comparisons to them in political discourse are becoming ever more common. People must stop cheapening tragedies for political gain.

Modern political discussion is turning inhumane for cheap political points. Nowadays, comparisons to past tragedies such as the Holocaust are becoming all too common thanks to the hyper-partisanship and catastrophizing of American politics.

Partisanship rots the brain. Supporting a political tribe simply because you belong to it is stifling intelligence and empathy. More and more, we’re seeing hyper-partisan individuals make ridiculous, overblown statements that they later have to retract or alter because their basic humanity and sense of perspective were completely lost. The constant wading in hyperbole is emblematic of the choice to put tribalism before free thought and losing a part of your soul in the process.

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Afraid of ‘cancelation’? Mark Ruffalo begs forgiveness after suggesting Israel is carrying out ‘genocide’ against Palestinians

Look at a couple of instances, just this week, where comparisons to genocide were thrown around willy-nilly. The first is Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor-Greene (R-Georgia) comparing wearing masks during the pandemic to being a Jew during the Second World War. The second is Avengers actor Mark Ruffalo having to apologize for accusing Israel of genocide, realizing that such a claim could be used to fuel anti-Semitism. 

So, I have a controversial suggestion, maybe it’s not a good idea to start throwing around words like genocide and holocaust when people don’t seem to have forgotten what those words actually mean. I don’t like wearing a mask in public, and I hate seeing Israel and Palestine clash, but there’s no way that the world we live in is anywhere near as bad as 1940. Invoking world-changing tragedies so lightly is disrespectful to those who suffered and lost their lives during that time. 

Stop condemning anti-Semitism. Stop it. We have been doing it for generations. So stop it. You’re not helping. If they didn’t believe us by now, that’s not our problem. Stay focused. #FreePalestine @bellahadid @GiGiHadid pic.twitter.com/xBRrU5r8lN

— Amer Zahr (@AmerZahr) May 22, 2021

The @nytimes just wrote an editorial saying anti-Semitic attacks on Jews in America are a gift to the right. Seriously, this headline just happened. pic.twitter.com/nUyoNiUiDJ

— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) May 25, 2021

Another example of this partisan madness is self described Senator Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vermont) surrogate, Amer Zahr, telling people on social media to stop condemning anti-Semitism because it will hurt the Palestinian cause. The New York Times had to amend an article that stated that attacks on Jews were “a gift to the Right.” Both of these statements are appalling because they make assumptions about current events that ultimately offer no real solutions and forget basic elements of humanity. 

In the United States, there is largely bipartisan support for Israel. They’re one of our top 30 trade partners and have been an ally since the inception of the nation. Even so, they are obviously not perfect and there’s nothing wrong with being critical of Israeli policy. The problem with looking at attacks on Jews in public as purely political point-scoring events is that you lose the humanity of the situation immediately. We all as humans should be able to recognize that it’s evil to attack someone and a special kind of evil to do so based on someone’s heritage.

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Nancy Pelosi is ‘mentally ill,’ Congresswoman Greene says, comparing House mask mandate to Holocaust

These are examples of how a hyper-partisan approach to life removes a part of your own humanity. You no longer see other people as people, but rather as obstacles between you and your political goals, or pawns to be used to achieve them. History suddenly becomes a glossary of terms that describe inhumane acts that you can use against your political opponents. People who suffer are reduced to political puppets, with each side wondering whether or not those puppets can be used against them as opposed to treating them as people who are ends in themselves, not merely means to justify political ends.

The overall point is that this hyper-partisan behavior is making us less human. Basic principles and common beliefs in life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are thrown aside in favor of playing the world’s dumbest political football game. And the worst part about it is that no matter what team you’re on, even if you win you’re still just as dumb as the other guy for playing in the first place.

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