If you haven’t seen the recent films El Dorado: Everything the Nazis Hate and Rustin (both on Netflix), you should. Nothing could better prepare you for the impending inauguration of knuckle-dragging, arch-conservative Trump sycophant Governor-elect Jeff Landry.
El Dorado: Everything the Nazis Hate (2023) is a documentary that casts a critical eye at Nazi Germany’s persecution of queer people through the lens of the legendary nightclub, El Dorado, which was the epicenter of queer Berlin in the 1920s and 1930s. This club inspired Christopher Isherwood’s classic novel, Goodbye to Berlin (1939), which in turn was the basis for the movie Cabaret starring Liza Minelli (1972). The film examines queer figures such as Ernst Röhm, Magnus Hirschfeld, Gottfried von Cramm, Manasse Herbst, Charlotte Charlaque, and Toni Ebel, and includes poignant personal interviews with several people who survived the horror of the Third Reich.
Rustin (2023) is a dramatic film that tells the true story of civil rights activist Bayard Rustin’s (Colman Domingo) struggle to produce the historic 1963 March on Washington. The film explores Rustin’s relationship with Dr. Martin Luther King (Ami Ameen), as well as NAACP leader Roy Wilkins (Chris Rock), who initially opposed the march. Underscoring the narrative is Rustin’s homosexuality and how his enemies within and without the civil rights movement attempted to weaponize Rustin’s queerness against him. The film also references several milestones in the civil rights movement in the form of Rustin’s memories.
Both films are insightful and, although set decades ago, are extremely timely considering the current political climate. Emboldened by Trump’s election in 2016, and his appointments to the Supreme Court, right-wing extremists and Christians have finally succeeded in implementing the draconian agenda they’ve been praying for ever since Ronald Reagan legitimized them as a political force. Examples include the dismantling of public education, the repeal of Roe v. Wade, gutting the Civil Rights Act of 1964, passing anti-trans legislation, and reclaiming some of the eroding political power of the white, Christian, heteronormative patriarchy.
And as horrible as all that is, what is more disturbing is the Republican party’s embrace of authoritarianism. They’ve come out of the closet, so to speak, and revealed their true colors. All the flag-waving and praise of democracy and the importance of the rule of law was apparently all bullshit. Twenty-five years ago, they impeached Clinton because he lied in a deposition and flouted the rule of law. “Character matters,” they cried. Well, that was apparently bullshit too, considering they’ve embraced a man who is the embodiment of the seven deadly sins and has absolutely no character.
I’m no fan of Ronald Reagan, but I’m pretty sure he believed a man who brags about sexual assault and defrauds a children’s cancer charity should not be president, much less one that ignites a violent insurrection against his own government. Blue lives matter? More bullshit. Sure, blue lives matter unless you’re beating police officers to death as you storm the capital in an effort to assassinate the vice president and overturn an election.
Some may ask, how could it happen here? The parallels between Trump and Hitler are striking—same rhetoric, same prejudices, same xenophobia, same nationalism, same danger.
The popularity of the Trump cult should not surprise anyone. The Christo-fascists have always been among us, and their entire identity and worldview is based on authoritarianism. Think about it—what greater totalitarian dictator is there other than Father God? All the monotheistic religions are essentially authoritarian cults with an insane, hypocritical, maniacal leader. The late, great Christopher Hitchens likened the monotheism to a “celestial North Korea.” Sky-daddy cults.
Which brings us to the sad, pathetic figure of Jeff Landry. That this morally bankrupt, intellectual midget could get elected Governor is a testament to how successful the right has been in appealing to the worst of humanity. Never mind the fact that most people can’t be bothered to vote, the conservative ones who do are motivated by a hatred of “snowflake lib-tards.” They happily and consistently vote against their own best interests. Why? Because cretins like Trump and Landry exploit their prejudices. It’s an easy strategy, especially when you have no core ideology. If you can’t point to what you’re for, you point to what you’re against. And what are they against? Black people, queer people, women, immigrants, and just about anyone who is not a white Christian.
Trump would have never been elected President if Obama had been white. The election of a black man president was enough to unleash all the hatred and bigotry and racism that had been percolating under the surface. Now it’s out in the open—loud and proud, and Trump is its voice.
I know the arc of the moral universe is long and it bends toward justice . . . yeah, yeah, yeah. But right now, it’s bending the wrong way, and we need more people to bend it back. I’m hoping that viewing El Dorado: Everything the Nazis Hate and Rustin will motivate people to stand up against fascism. If you’re too busy or too lazy to vote, maybe you’ll find the time to watch a movie. It’s literally the least you could do.