“The Wave” In Trump’s America

The Wave

The Wave is a short TV film that aired on ABC in 1981. It’s based on the true story of a teacher named, Ron Jones and his Third Wave experiment in a history class in Palo Alto, California.

A Valuable Lesson

I had never heard of “The Wave” until I stumbled upon a comment made on a Facebook video. 

In the video, a teacher has told everyone in the class to take notes during a movie. A few minutes into the film, the teacher calls out one student for not taking notes.

His classmates defend him, saying that he had in fact been taking notes. The teacher tells the students that if anyone wants to speak up for this student, they have to stand up and defend him.

A few utter some words in defiance, but ultimately, no one stands up. The student gets sent to the principal’s office.

It turns out that they were reading the Diary of Anne Frank and the teacher wanted the students to see how easy it was for a group of people to not stand up for someone.

The video, based on a true story, made the message even more poignant.

While scrolling through the comments, I saw someone mention something about a teacher who did something similar, but much more radical, which led me to learn about “The Wave.”

The Wave

The Wave
The novelization of the TV movie “The Wave,” a fictionalized account of the “Third Wave.”

I watched the 44-minute film on YouTube and found it both fascinating and terrifying. 

In the mid-1960s, Ron Jones was teaching his history class about the Holocaust.

He discovered that many students couldn’t grasp why the German’s were easily influenced by the Nazi’s.

Hoping to help them understand, Jones began what he believed to be a valuable lesson in experiential learning. 

Jones informed his students of a new movement, called, The Wave. He proclaimed that the movement was about strength through discipline and community. 

Lesson plans included a salute, a slogan, and a police force. Soon almost the entire school is participating in The Wave, and people who refuse to be a part of the movement pose a threat.

Jones realizes that he has been carried away by his experiment and that The Wave has gotten out of hand.

He tells the students that the movement has expanded nationwide and that the national leader would be addressing them on television. The students gather and eagerly watch the blank TV screens ahead of them.

As they begin to grow restless, Jones pulls the screen behind him to reveal that the leader is Adolf Hitler.

The students are overcome with shame and disbelief for willingly participating in the movement.

The Wave” In Trump’s America

While “The Wave” is dated, it’s scary how it remains both telling and haunting of our current times. People are committing hate crimes in the name of Trump, just like how those students were attacking those who opposed The Wave.

Trump and his administration are trying to shut down everyone who doesn’t agree with them or their policies.

This is seen in the film when the students who are part of the movement begin to feel threatened by newspaper articles calling out The Wave for being fascist.

The Wave

History Repeating Itself

“Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.” -George Santayana

The Third Wave experiment proves how easy it is for history to repeat itself when people don’t have a firm and definite understanding of why certain events transpired.
Through an unconventional method, the students in the film learn how the German people fell for Hitler. They realize that it wasn’t that some German people didn’t know what was going on, they were scared to speak against the regime. The same way people were scared to oppose The Wave.

The Rise of Trump

Trump supporters would rather have minorities lose all of their rights to feel safe in this “Great America.”

These people felt helpless. They felt a loss of control in their lives under Obama’s presidency, which gave rise to the adoration of Trump.

Here was a man who was promising to fix this divided nation and “Make America Great Again.”

Trump once claimed that he could shoot someone and not lose voters. Nothing he says or does will make his supporters turn their backs on him until his policies begin to affect them.

Trump is running the country with an exploitation of fear and fear mongering.

He is stoking those worries that his supporters have and using it to his advantage. They blindly follow someone who is tarnishing the reputation and goodwill of the United States.

Like what Washington Post columnist and the host of CNN’s GPS, Fareed Zakaria stated, “Trump wants to turn off that lamp on the statue of liberty.”

Is it not Trump who has inspired this new “lower case kkk,” as Aziz Ansari calls them. These people feel that they have regained the power they felt was long lost. Is it not Trump who is dividing our nation?

United We Stand

We must be vigilant in this “Great America” that Trump and his possies are trying to create. Around 2.6 million people joined the Women’s March around the globe.

But the protests have not ceased. People continue to protest against these inhumane policies that Trump is enacting.

Together, a nation that Trump and his supporters believe is divided has unified against him.

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