Something happened last weekend in the good old USA that called to mind the Ceremonial march of German troops on the Champs Elysee when the Nazis invaded Paris in 1940. Except this advance was by Americans in Newnan, Georgia, dressed in the vintage brownshirt uniform with swastika armbands. The only thing missing was the Nazi salutes to the Fuhrer. Are we back to that? How can this be?

Shock and awe

A mere generation after Hitler's regime sickened the world with its systematic persecution and murder of six million Jews, including a million children, it's back with a parade – as if in triumph - with white nationalists that the Southern Poverty Law Center tags a hate group.

Newnan police chief Douglas Meadows told the press he felt relief that the rally didn't turn violent. How low the bar for human behavior has become. No mention of the emulation of the brownshirt – the most brutal arm of the old German regime. Wait, there's more. Shortly before the Neo-Nazi rally in Georgia, the prestigious Echo Music Prize, Germany's version of the Grammy's, bestowed this year's honor on a rap album that spouted anti-Semitic lyrics. And the rappers have 1.4 million followers on Instagram.

The past is prologue

Not that bigotry in the arts hadn't raised its monstrous head before. I'm thinking of painter Edgar Degas, who preceded Hitler by some two decades, famously saying, “I detest them, those Jews!

An abominable race that ought to be shut up in ghettos.” But something is different now. Is it the president? According to the website of the National Policy Institute (the white-supremacists devoted to European-descent Americans), Trump's nationalistic rhetoric and immigration policies give them impetus. Is that why the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) in New York reports a 57 percent leap in anti-Semitic incidents in the US in the past year?

How else to account for the reported total of 1,986 incidents countrywide in 2017 – said to be the biggest jump since ADL started nearly 40 years ago.

Changing culture

Again, is it Trump? Do his incivilities psyche up hate? Surely his defense of the Neo-Nazi marchers in Charlottesville as “very fine people” emboldened them. He also seems to talk the language of the alt-right when he laments the “changing culture” that is bent on removing statuary of general Robert E.

Lee. He even compares the Confederate leader to our founding fathers (He may have a point. Early American leaders owned slaves). Certainly, Trump must have warmed the hearts of the Neo-Nazis during his run-up to his election when he tweeted a Hilary Clinton slam that was first seen on a white supremacist website. What you saw was an image of the six-pointed Star of David sitting on top of a pile of money. And the hits keep coming. Newsweek has reported that since the Charlottesville march of white supremacists chanting “Jews will not replace us,” attacks have increased in number.