I can’t help wondering about what the 418,500 American soldiers and civilians who gave their lives "punching Nazis" would have thought about the Mallard Fillmore comic strip this past Sunday — and how to apologize to them.
What has happened to the nation for which these women and men gave their lives fighting Nazis that a comic strip writer creates a moral equivalency between a self-proclaimed Nazi and individuals who want to punch this Nazi and thinks he is witty?
I grew up thinking of those who gave their lives "punching" Nazis as heroes. Now I read a comic strip that would call these heroes Nazis. As a German, I can attest to the fact that there is nothing good about someone who proclaims himself to be Nazi. It is a moral impossibility. Haven’t we sacrificed enough to establish this fact? Do we need another example within living memory?
Yes, I know that the term "Nazi" is too often and inappropriately applied and, as a result, has lost the horror it once conjured up. But this comic strip does not address that issue; rather it makes a self-proclaimed Nazi the target of an act of violence. This act of violence — punching someone for no other reason than his or her political philosophy — is punishable by law. As it should be. But assigning to the wishful perpetrators the characterization of ‘Nazis’, as the writer of the comic strip does, reflects his loss of a moral compass. Not all political philosophies are morally equivalent! Someone who openly and seriously proclaims to be a Nazi is either morally bankrupt and downright evil or a dangerous nut. Neither option sets an example for our children or for the world. Fighting against the spread of Nazism continues to be a moral imperative for all good women and men everywhere.
Thomas M. Bayer