Tennessee lawmaker cites Hitler in argument that homeless should aspire to a ‘productive life’

The state lawmaker cited Adolf Hitler’s time in ‘homeless camps’ in support of a bill criminalizing camping on public property

Andrew Feinberg
Washington, DC
Thursday 14 April 2022 16:05
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Tennessee senator says homeless people should follow Hitler's example

A Tennessee state legislator justified his support for a bill targeting homeless camps on public property by citing the example of the genocidal dictator Adolf Hitler, who started the Second World War and oversaw the murder of 11 million people in the Holocaust.

On Wednesday, the Tennessee Senate voted to approve a bill outlawing soliciting or camping along highways and camping on public or state property. One of the lawmakers voting in favour of the legislation, state Senator Frank Nicely, rose to speak in support of the bill by offering his colleagues a “little history on homelessness” featuring Hitler.

He recounted how Hitler, who’d gone broke following the death of his mother after moving to Vienna to study art, was forced to live in various shelters established for Viennese homeless, including a men’s shelter on Vienna’s Meldemannstrasse which is now a retirement home.

“For two years, Hitler lived on the streets and practiced his oratory and his body language and how to connect with the masses, and then went on to lead a life that got him in the history books,” he said. “So, a lot of these people its not a dead end. They can come out of these homeless camps and have a productive life”.

Perhaps realising he’d been praising the man who is regarded by many as one of the greatest monsters of modern history, he added that Hitler’s life was in fact “a very unproductive” one.

“I’m going to have to apologize to the universe for this guy,” tweeted Tennessee state Rep Gloria Johnson, adding “not a single day passes without TN GOP embarrassing the hell out of our state”.

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