In an event unprecedented in modern American political life, Donald Trump asked the audience at a recent rally to raise their arms and swear to vote for him in an upcoming election. It's unwise, generally, to make too many comparisons between the actions of any modern American politician and the notorious Adolf Hitler. But in this case, I think some reflection, at least, is warranted. Asking people to perform this sort of solemn act is extremely dangerous. What if, between the time these people make their solemn pledge, and they go into the voting booth, Trump commits some dreadful crime? He kills a child driving drunk. He is indicted for murder or grand larceny. Are those people still expected to honor their pledge - and vote for a known criminal? As someone who has studied, extensively, the history of the Second World War; the pledge of personal allegiance to Adolf Hitler - as opposed to the nation of Germany, or its Constitution - was incredibly damaging to the officers of the German armed forces. No matter how disastrous Hitler's actions. No matter how horrendous his crimes. The Colonels and Generals of Nazi Germany felt morally and intellectually unable to act in any way to stop or impede Hitler as he drove their country and its people into the abyss. We don't do that in the United States. Officers and troops of our armed forces pledge Allegiance to the United States. They swear to uphold the Constitution. They swear to obey all lawful orders. But they are not bound to the personal individual officers in the chain of command, up to and including the Commander in Chief. So if the General commanding their Brigade, or the President in the White House, is lawfully deprived of their office - then there is no problem in them disobeying their orders. Maybe Trump thinks his "pledge" was a joke. A harmless piece of political theater. But its not. Pledges of Allegiance are not things to be taken lightly. If you swear to do something - be it tell the truth in a legal case, or take an oath of citizenship - its something you should take extremely seriously. For Trump to inflict that burden on his supporters tells us a great deal of the ultimate contempt he feels for them - and the traditions and laws of the country he wishes to lead.