Trump's racist campaign ad will look and sound familiar to students of history.

In the immediate wake of Donald Trump’s horrific TV ad today, which juxtaposes footage of Luis Bracamontes, an illegal immigrant completely unrepentant for murdering two policemen, with the so-called “migrant caravan,” I thought of this quote by Anne Frank:

“The war isn’t even over, and already there’s dissension and Jews are regarded as lesser beings. Oh, it’s sad, very sad that the old adage has been confirmed for the umpteenth time: "What one Christian does is his own responsibility, what one Jew does reflects on all Jews."

Anne Frank

I would advise anyone even remotely persuaded by Trump’s propaganda to play a game of Mad Libs: Bigotry Edition.

How to play: Take this quote, written by a victim of the Holocaust, replace the word “Jew” with “Illegal Immigrant,” and then ask yourself: is this ad participating in the same line of thinking that facilitated the murder of six million people?


Because that’s what Trump is doing, here. He shows one illegal immigrant—a glee-filled sociopath—and immediately cuts to a crowd. The camera follows the crowd at a distance, from behind, so the viewer sees only the backs of heads. No one has a face. These are not individuals with their own unique histories, differences, and inner worlds, but herd animals, an insect swarm, the zombie horde: they exist en masse. The behavior of one, is the behavior of all.

In film, special effects editors create enormous crowd scenes through a technique called “crowd duplication,” in which they film a handful of extras, and essentially “cut and paste” until the few transform to multitudes, filling the frame.

It’s an apt metaphor for what Trump attempts here—the camera gives us a lingering close-up of one terrifying person, and then quickly cuts to a raucous crowd, leaving the viewer to reflexively “cut-and-paste” the one face we are given—Luis Bracamontes, conveniently adorned with a devil’s goatee—over and over.

What’s more, the crowd appears to be a happy one—we hear cheerful hollers, the repeated blast of an air horn. But this comes right on the heels of Bracamontes, smiling unrelentingly as he brags about his crimes—in this context, their glee reads as menace. Clearly, their joy and Bracamontes’s are meant to share the same source: a psychotic pride in their capacity for evil. And just to add an extra layer of xenophobic flavor, their cheers are mingled with the sound of tribal drums.

What one illegal immigrant does, this ad tells us, reflects on all illegal immigrants.

How does Trump square “honoring” 11 people who died at the hands of an antisemite, with an ad that capitalizes on the same kind of thinking?

In the mind of their murderer, Joyce Fienberg, Richard Gottfried, Rose Mallinger, Jerry Rabinowitz, Cecil Rosenthal, David Rosenthal, Bernice Simon, Sylvan Simon, Daniel Stein, Melvin Wax, and Irving Younger were not individuals. They were “Jews.” Interchangeable figures in a faceless crowd. A bogeyman he cut-and-paste and cut-and-paste until they filled the screen.

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Courtesy of Macy's

In many ways, 18-year-old Idaho native, Hank Cazier, is like any other teenager you've met. He loves chocolate, pop music, and playing games with his family. He has lofty dreams of modeling for a major clothing company one day. But one thing that sets him apart may also jeopardize his future is his recent battle against a brain tumor.

Cazier was diagnosed in 2015. When he had surgery to remove the tumor, he received trauma to his brain and lost some of his motor functionality. He's been in physical, occupational, and speech therapy ever since. The experience impacted Cazier's confidence and self-esteem, so he's been looking for a way to build himself back up again.

"I wanted to do something that helped me look forward to the future," he says.

Enter Make-A-Wish, a nonprofit organization that grants wishes for children battling critical illnesses, providing them a chance to make the impossible possible. The organization partnered with Macy's to raise awareness and help make those wishes a reality. The hope is that the "wish effect" will improve their quality of life and empower them with the strength they need to overcome these illnesses and look towards the future. That was a particularly big deal for Cazier, who had been feeling like so many of his wishes weren't going to be possible because of his critical illness.

"In the beginning, it was hard to accept that it would be improbable for me to accomplish my previous goals because my illness took away so many of my physical abilities," says Cazier. His wish of becoming a model also seemed out of reach.

But Macy's and Make-A-Wish didn't see it like that. Once they learned about Cazier's wish, they knew he had to make it come true by inviting him to be part of the magical Macy's holiday shoot in New York.

Courtesy of Macy's

Make-A-Wish can't fulfill children's wishes without the generosity of donors and partners like Macy's. In fact, since 2003, Macy's has given more than $122 million to Make-A-Wish and impacted the lives of more than 2.9 million people.

Cazier's wish experience was beyond what he could've imagined, and it filled him with so much joy and confidence. "It is like waking up and discovering that you have super powers. It feels amazing!" he exclaims.

One of the best parts about the day for him was the kindness everyone who helped make it happen showed him.

"The employees of Macy's and Make-A-Wish made me feel welcome, warm, and cared for," he says. "I am truly grateful that even though they were busy doing their jobs, they were able to show kindness and compassion towards me in all of the little details."

He also got to spend part of the shoot outdoors, which, as someone who loves climbing, hiking, and scuba-diving but has trouble doing those activities now, was very welcome.

Courtesy of Macy's

Overall, Cazier feels he grew a lot during his modeling wish and is now emboldened to work towards a better quality of life. "I want to acquire skills that help me continue to improve in these circumstances," he says.

You can change the lives of more kids like Cazier just by writing a letter to Santa and dropping it in the big red letterbox at Macy's (you can also write and submit one online). For every letter received before Dec. 24, 2019, Macy's will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish, up to $1 million. By writing a letter to Santa, you can help a child replace fear with confidence, sadness with joy, and anxiety with hope.

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