Allan S. Mirken, circa 1972

My dad fought in World War II, but didn’t talk about it much. As a doctor with the army in the Pacific, I’m sure he saw lots of things he didn’t want to remember. But he did tell me one thing that’s stuck with me vividly: “I was p***ed off they sent me to the Pacific. I wanted to go to Europe and kill Nazis.”

That’s no surprise. Though not observant, my dad’s family was Jewish. I can’t even imagine what it must have been like to be thousands of miles away, seeing what the Nazis were doing to Jews in Europe, and be unable to do anything about it.

What, I wonder, would he make of mobs of modern Nazis marching in the streets of Charlottesville – and, it seems, literally committing murder? And what would he make of the president of the United States putting out carefully-worded statements that conspicuously failed to call out white nationalists or Nazis but instead talked about “this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence, on many sides” (emphasis added) – and whose later versions still reeked of “both-sides-ism”?  I think I know. (Finally, on Monday, the president managed to utter the words “racist violence” in a scripted statement that felt like what it was — a forced response to ferocious criticism all weekend).

Allan S. Mirken was a lifelong Republican, a conservative who proudly voted for Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan. He would be ashamed and embarrassed by the man now leading his party and occupying the oval office.

Bruce Mirken is Greenlining’s Media Relations Director. Follow Bruce Mirken on Twitter.