UPDATE: Just when you thought babies in cages, not returning them to their families, and a two-year old in immigration court by herself was repugnant, the US Border Patrol used tear gas on the migrant caravan. In the words of Fintan O’Toole, “Babies in cages were no mistake by Trump but test-marketing for barbarism.” Trump attempted to violate the constitutional right of a free press, revoking Jim Acosta‘s press pass under dubious allegations. Welcome to fascism American style, a la Trumpism.
In the age of the greatest technological advancements in our history, mankind has decided to revert to anachronistic ways of isolationism and separatism. We are a global economy and interdependent upon each other. Ironically, the countries who went on imperial conquests in Africa, Asia, and the Americas, pillaging natural resources and making natives second class citizens in their own country in the name of colonization, now claim they are under threat of immigration. Even worse is that these same western democratic countries were pivotal in creating the migrant crisis by backing nondemocratic regimes and dictators forcing migrants to flee. The US made bedfellows with African, Central American, and South American drug lords and dictators, destabilizing those countries. And like its European counterparts, the US now claims to have an immigration crisis. There is a sort of genius to Russians using our love of social media as a weapon of mass destruction to propagate hate and fear in democratic countries. While western democracies fight over the ideology of patriotism and nationalism, Russia basks in the discord. In the end, the disease of nationalism is a virus to democracy.
“The American fascist would prefer not to use violence. His method is to poison the channels of public information.” – Henry A. Wallace former Vice President under FDR
Attacks against the press and media are attacks against democracy itself. A free press was so important to our founding fathers that in the First Amendment to the US Constitution, they expressly sought to protect a free press. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” Therefore, it should alarm all Americans when Trump and his administration calls the media the “enemy of the people.” Suppression of the media and press are hallmarks of dictatorships. Yet, at a recent Trump rally, attendees yelled profanities at a media outlook while espousing a fringe conspiracy theory. During his campaign, Trump encouraged violence among his supporters. This new visceral reaction to the media is beyond fear mongering.
Unlike any American president, Trump has insulted our allies. Ahead of the NATO summit, Trump insults American allies attacking the UK Prime Minister and German Chancellor. He did the same to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during the G7 summit. After criticizing prime minister Theresa May and London mayor Sadiq Khan, Trumps takes his “fake news” poison to Europe. His lack of etiquette and diplomacy when meeting the Queen of England showed further contempt for America’s allies. Yet, when Rod Rosenstein announced the indictment of 12 Russians for hacking the 2016 elections, instead of attacking Vladimir Putin and the Russian government, Trump attacked Obama and called the European Union (EU), which comprises a majority of American allies, a foe. Despite numerous evidence from the intelligence community about election interference by Russia in Europe and the US, Trump has steadfastly refused to acknowledge Russia’s role and instead speaks of wanting to be friends with Russia. Trump insults America’s allies, but hopes to develop a friendship with a foe that interfered with the American election process.
I wrote an article about Trumpism in comparison to Martin Niemöller’s “First They Came for the Socialists.” However, two writers explain American fascism, now Trumpism, with more historical context. Henry S. Wallace, grandson of former Vice President Henry A. Wallace, wrote American Fascism in 1944 and Today. Irish writer Fintan O’Toole recently wrote, Trial Runs for Fascism are in Full Flow. I encourage you to read both articles as they highlight the desperate times America faces. Silence and being “non-political” is being complicit with the Trump administration and its policies. As Mr. O’Toole states, “Babies in cages were no mistake by Trump but test-marketing for barbarism.”
For those still doubt America is in crisis, this is what former Vice President Henry Wallace said this of fascism in the 1940s:
The American fascists are most easily recognized by their deliberate perversion of truth and fact. Their newspapers and propaganda carefully cultivate every fissure of disunity… They claim to be super-patriots, but they would destroy every liberty guaranteed by the Constitution. They demand free enterprise, but are the spokesmen for monopoly and vested interest. Their final objective toward which all their deceit is directed is to capture political power so that, using the power of the state and the power of the market simultaneously, they may keep the common man in eternal subjection.
The past may not repeat itself, but it sure does rhyme. – Mark Twain
What history teaches is that men have never learned anything from it. – Hegel