For the longest time, only a comic book geek (such as myself) would’ve recognized the catchphrase “Hail Hydra!”.
It’s the battle cry of Hydra, the secret “world-wide subversive organization dedicated to global domination” headed by former Nazi Baron Wolfgang von Strucker and supported by the Red Skull. With the success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the catchphrase has become mainstream, thanks to its use in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, Captain America, and other movies:
Hydra comes off as pretty cartoonish in the comic books (especially the ones from the ’60s and ’70s), and while they’ve been updated to be a little less goofy in Marvel’s TV shows and movies, I always thought they were written was pretty silly and unrealistic. After all, who in the real world would be dim-witted or sociopathic enough to use “Hail [insert person or cause here]” as their battle cry?
Apparently, these guys. And the person or cause they’re hailing is the president-elect:
The photo above is a still from an excerpt from the closing speech on Saturday made by Richard Spencer, the white supremacist who coined the euphemism “alt-right” (which really means “neo-Nazi”) and who runs the deceptively benign-sounding National Policy Institute (NPI):
This speech included these quotes that wouldn’t be terribly out of place at Hydra:
- “Hail Trump, hail our people, hail victory!”
- “No one will honor us for losing gracefully. No one mourns the great crimes committed against us. For us, it is conquer or die.”
- “The mainstream media — or perhaps we should refer to them in the original German — lügenpresse.”
- “It’s not just that they are leftists and cucks. It’s not that many are genuinely stupid. One wonders if these people are people are all…or instead soulless golems animated by some dark power to repeat whatever talking point John Oliver stated the night before.”
- “To be white is to be a striver, a crusader, an explorer, and a conqueror. We build, we produce, we go upward. And we recognize the central lie of American race relations. We don’t exploit other groups. We don’t gain anything from their presence. They need us, and not the other way around.”
- “We are not meant to live in shame and weakness and disgrace. We are not meant to beg for moral validation from some of the most despicable creatures to ever populate the planet. We were meant to overcome — overcome all of this, because that is natural and normal for us!”
- “America was, until this past generation, a white country designed for ourselves and our posterity. It is our creation. It is our inheritance, and it belongs to us.”
I haven’t seen any commentary on the very last parts of the video, so let me be the first: in my (admittedly and thankfully) very limited experience with neo-Nazis, I have never seen two guys as eager to make their trademark salute as these two yobs:
The problem is that unlike Hydra, these guys aren’t comic book villains, but real ones.
…to even more frightening ones, namely rhetoric and propaganda. Here’s a Red Skull speech from the new Captain America comic book series. This issue was released in May, and although it was released a good six months before Spencer made his speech (and written before that), a lot of it sounds Spencer’s speech and some of the messaging during the election:
Seeing this speech, the installation of Steve Bannon as Chief Strategist, and many other signs, I’m reminded of this quote by Professor Halford E. Luccock, Professor at Yale University’s Divinity School from September 1938:
“When and if fascism comes to America it will not be labeled ‘made in Germany’; it will not be marked with a swastika; it will not even be called fascism; it will be called, of course, ‘Americanism’.”
I’ll close with this very apt comic from Chainsawsuit: