arnold capitol riot

Arnold Schwarzenegger Compares the Capitol Riot To Kristallnacht in Stirring Video

“Wednesday was the Day of Broken Glass right here in the United States.”

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As America continues to grapple with last week’s violent insurrection attempt on the Capitol, we cannot help but draw frightening comparisons to the nazi uprising in 1930s Germany. It’s a memory that is still fresh for those who lived through World War II, which carried deep psychological damage and trauma to the generations that followed. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who was born in 1947 in Austria, was part of that generation. And in an emotional new video, the former governor of California describes firsthand the lasting impact of nazism and totalitarianism.

In the 8 minute video, Schwarzenegger compares Wednesday’s domestic terrorist attack to Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass, a violent pogrom that saw the murder of Jews and rampant destruction in Germany in 1938 carried out by SA paramilitary brownshirts, which Schwarzenegger aptly compares to the proud boys.

The action star describes his childhood in Austria and his abusive father, who was one of countless “broken men drinking away the guilt over their participation in the most evil regime in history.” Schwarzenegger goes on to describe his parents’ generation, which was made up not just of nazis, but of “people next door” who were just going along with the nazi regime, duped by a toxic blend of lies, propaganda, and intolerance.

Shwarzenegger then lays into Trump for fomenting lies and unrest, calling him “the worst president ever” and noting that “he will soon be as irrelevant as an old tweet.” He also calls out Trump’s enablers, calling them “spineless” and “complicit”, reminding them of the Teddy Roosevelt quote, “Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the president.”

Now, because this is Arnold Schwarzenegger, no address would be complete without him wielding Conan’s sword. He notes that the harder you temper and weather a sword, the stronger it becomes. “Our democracy is like this sword. The more it is tempered, the stronger it becomes.” Schwarzenegger urges the country to heal and to hold those accountable for inciting the violence.

He also urges viewers to join him in supporting President-elect Joe Biden, noting that Biden’s success is our own country’s success. Now despite the actor’s problematic past, his message is a clear and resounding call to optimism and one that is sorely needed. And while Schwarzenegger is a republican, his message crosses party lines and calls on us to unite rather than divide.

Many took to social media to celebrate Arnold’s message:

(featured image: screencap)

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Chelsea Steiner
Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.