Conservatives are going to new extremes to demonize the teenagers who helped organize the March for Our Lives — now, they’re comparing Parkland student and shooting survivor David Hogg to Hitler.
Hitler comparisons in politics are nothing new. The infamous Godwin’s Law dictates that the longer people talk about a topic, the more likely they’ll make a comparison to Hitler. But this time, those parallels are being directed at a teenager who survived a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that killed 17 people.
Minnesota Republican Rep. Mary Franson compared Hogg, 17, to the Hitler Youth in a series of now-deleted Facebook posts on Saturday. The posts came the same day that the March for Our Lives protests brought thousands of people to their state capitals and Washington, D.C., to demand stricter guns laws.
Franson’s first post was a shared personal status that called Hogg “Supreme Leader Hogg,” a nod to Hitler's Führer, according to the Hill, which referenced screenshots taken by the Douglas County Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party. Franson criticized the protesters again in a post later that evening. In her third post, she shared a photo of the Hitler Youth wearing swastikas and added an Adolf Hitler quote:
“These boys and girls enter our organizations [at] ten years of age, and often for the first time get a little fresh air; after four years of the Young Folk they go on to the Hitler Youth, where we have them for another four years … And even if they are still not complete National Socialists, they go to Labor Service and are smoothed out there for another six, seven months … And whatever class consciousness or social status might still be left … the Wehrmacht [German armed forces] will take care of that.”
In the third post, Franson didn’t specifically reference Hogg or the March for Our Lives, but some people, including Parkland survivors, made the connection. Franson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
But Franson isn’t the conservative likening Hogg to Hitler.
Hogg, whose speech at the March for Our Lives rally was strikingly political, ended his speech by thrusting his fist into the air. The move was likely a symbol of solidarity, support, and resistance — much like what the Industrial Workers of the World, the Black Panthers and even Donald Trump have used.
But that didn’t stop Anthony Testaverde, a longtime aide to Republican New York State Sen. Martiny Golden, from posting a photo on Saturday of Hogg with his fist raised alongside a photo of Hitler raising his hand in the Sieg Heil Hitler salute. The second comparison shows Hogg with a black mourning band on his arm next to a photo of a Nazi soldier with a swastika band on his arm, according to the New York Post.
Golden said the posts had been removed and that he doesn’t agree with them in a statement provided to the Post. But he didn’t say if he would be firing Testaverde. Golden did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Right-wing media outlets like Breitbart, The Daily Wire, and Infowars have all latched onto the claim that Hogg’s fist in the air was a Nazi salute. Infowars went so far as to call Hogg the “propagandist-in-chief” and named the March for Our Lives a “‘Hitler Youth’” invasion of Washington.”
The idea has also spread to other right-wing personalities and Trump supporters.
This isn’t the first time Hogg has dealt with these issues. He was at the center of a conspiracy theory that the Parkland students were, in fact, paid actors. He also continues to battle a conspiracy theory right now over whether or not he was at the school at the time of the shooting. He was.
Another Parkland survivor and activist, Emma González, has also become the target for conservatives. An Iowa representative mocked her choice to wear a patch of the Cuban flag, and a fake video of her is spreading in far right internet circles that shows her ripping up the U.S. Constitution.
Cover image: David Hogg, a survivor of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., speaks during the "March for Our Lives" rally in support of gun control in Washington, Saturday, March 24, 2018. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)