This is awful, but I suspect we’re missing the point:
The Republican nominee for Congress for Ohio’s 9th District, Rich Iott, played a Nazi for years as part of a re-enactment group, reveals the Atlantic’s Joshua Green. Iott was involved in a group that calls itself Wiking, “devoted to re-enacting the exploits of an actual Nazi division, the 5th SS Panzer Division Wiking, which fought mainly on the Eastern Front during World War II,” details Green. All mention of Iott has been scrubbed from the Wiking Web site. Iott insists that’s because he left the group, which he allegedly joined “as a father-son bonding thing,” three years ago. It’s unclear how long he participated in the group, although his name appears in rosters dating back to 2003. Iott acknowledged he was part of the group but insists it was about interest in World War II history and shouldn’t be seen as a sign that he agrees with the Nazi ideals. While Iott tried to liken his curious activity to Civil War re-enactments, the group takes a strangely sanitized view of the Nazis and barely mentions their atrocities, including the murder of European Jews. “Whatever worry” Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur “may have had about reelection, I think that’s over now,” writes Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo.
Odd; I think that Civil War re-enactments tend to take a strangely sanitized view of the Confederates and barely mention their atrocities, including mass treason and the waging of a war of in defense of the idea that white people should be able to own black people. In this sense, I think that Iott is 100% correct in comparing World War II and Civil War re-enactments. I won’t complain if he gets nailed on this, but this seems to be an area in which expunging the idea of American Exceptionalism is entirely sensible.