Los Angeles Councilwoman Janice Hahn has an eye on the position of lieutenant governor. In an effort to make her displeasure heard over the recent Arizona immigration law, she called for an Arizona boycott, citing memories of Nazi Germany. Oops.
Janice Hahn for California Lieutenant Governor
Los Angeles Councilwoman Hahn has her eye on the lieutenant governorship, but faces stiff competition from San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom. Releasing a video of a bumbling Newsom admitting that “For the life of me, I don’t know“(1) when asked what the lieutenant governor does, she sets the tone for a contentious campaign.
Councilwoman Hahn Urges Arizona Boycott
With the state’s media paying attention to Councilwoman Hahn, she uses the hotly debated Arizona immigration law as a springboard to call for an Arizona boycott. In fact, Ms. Hahn introduced a resolution on April 27th(2) that would cause the City of Los Angeles to officially undertake a full-scale Arizona boycott.
Her reasoning is simple: she opposes the Arizona immigration law because it a) requires immigrants to carry immigration papers and b) permits police officers to ask immigrants about their status. With illegal immigration in Arizona rampant, she nevertheless laments the measures as harsh, being quoted by the Telegraph(3) as stating “When people are asked to show their papers it brings back memories of Nazi Germany.”
Historical Faux Pas Sets Stage for Media Lambasting of Hahn
It is noteworthy that Janice Hahn is only 58 years young and a native of Long Beach, California. As such, her memories of Nazi Germany are questionable. Not surprisingly, KABC talk radio host John Phillips(4) questioned Councilwoman Hahn on her Nazi Germany memories and in particular on her understanding of how many people Adolf Hitler killed. Embarrassingly, Councilwoman Hahn was unable to answer.
The Problem with Historical Analogies, Nazi Germany and the Arizona Immigration Law
As a native German, my family actually has memories of Nazi Germany. With my maternal grandfather perishing in a concentration camp in the last days of the war, I must confess that the willy-nilly commentating that has Councilwoman Hahn (and others like her) compare anyone they fail to agree with to Adolf Hitler, Nazi Germany or Nazis in general is not only historically untenable but intellectually cheap.
Adding insult to injury, her inability to answer a simple question about the Holocaust actually underscores the dangers of likening anything or anyone to Nazi Germany: it cheapens the lives lost, the individual tragedies and also the heroes who stood up and fought. There is nothing Nazi-like in the Arizona immigration law.
If being asked for identification bothers Councilwoman Hahn, then every airport and sobriety checkpoint in the United States must be a hotbed for Nazism.
(1)Janice Hahn 2010. “Janice Hahn Campaign Releases Youtube Video of Gavin Newsom Talking About Lt. Governor” (accessed April 30, 2010)
(2)Janice Hahn 2010. “Councilwoman Hahn Calls for Boycott of State of Arizona” (accessed April 30, 2010)
(3)Telegraph. “Arizona faces boycott by Americans over controversial immigration law” (accessed April 30, 2010)
(4)KABC Radio. “The John Phillips Show” (accessed April 30, 2010)