There’s a lot at stake.
I attended a local meeting of Indivisible in which regressive Tea Party followers were scattered throughout the audience. They were kept under control by the organizers, but near the end, one comment stirred up a ferocious (and frustrated) frothing by one of the Tea Partiers — someone mentioned that Trump was building a fascist regime, which led to much indignation and insistence that no, he was nothing like Hitler.
This will happen to you, too, in conversations with Trump followers. Prepare yourself by reading Sunsara Taylor’s article, Why It’s Not Just Right, but Highly Illuminating and Very Necessary to Compare Trump to Hitler. In this instance, the Trump defender was shut down to prevent him from disrupting the meeting, but you might have to explain this situation to someone else.
First, let’s get something out of the way. History never repeats itself exactly. During Hitler’s rise, Germany was coming out of defeat in World War 1, was in the throes of a major depression, and faced a popular communist movement and broad sections of very combative and progressive working people. The U.S. ruling class does not face that situation. But it does face an international situation increasingly fraught with challenges to its geopolitical, military, and economic domination. It does face a situation in which different sections of the ruling class are sharply divided over the “legitimating norms” of society—that is, the common set of values and morality around which the society is broadly understood, held together, and cohered.
Quite a bit of this crisis flows out of the conflict between the foundational and structural character of the U.S. as a white supremacist society, and the way this has been challenged over the past 50 years—both through righteous liberation struggles and through major demographic changes, like the growing number of immigrants. And while the U.S. does not face a major depression right now, there is no work for huge sections of the working class (speaking here of the multinational U.S. working class, made up of Black, Latino, Arab, Asian, and other nationalities, as well as white), living standards and future prospects have gone significantly down for sections of the working class that do have jobs, and large sections of the middle class also face great uncertainty.
So, no, the U.S. does not face the exact circumstances of Germany; but the contradictions and problems it DOES face have proven extremely intractable. In the face of this, there have been increasingly strong fascist currents brought forward over a whole period of decades. In this situation, Trump has been able to cohere forces and come to power determined to carry out a fully fascist restructuring of society. And let us not fail to notice, Trump has already inherited—and has vowed to massively strengthen—a repressive apparatus that goes far beyond what Hitler inherited when he came to power. And, Trump—unlike Hitler—has unchecked personal control over the world’s largest nuclear arsenal and is clearly itching to use it. During a briefing, he asked three times, “If we have nuclear weapons, why can’t we use them?”
Don’t dismiss the comparison out of hand. There are differences, but also deep similarities. We are seeing a racist, nationalist regime coming to power, and you can’t ignore it by telling us that Trump doesn’t have a toothbrush mustache.
Baldwin could say exactly the same thing today, and it would be just as painfully accurate.
That’s part of the dilemma of being an American Negro; that one is a little bit colored and a little bit white, and not only in physical terms but in the head and in the heart, and there are days — this is one of them — when you wonder what your role is in this country and what your future is in it. How, precisely, are you going to reconcile yourself to your situation here and how you are going to communicate to the vast, heedless, unthinking, cruel, white majority, that you are here? And to be here means that you can’t be anywhere else.
I’m terrified at the moral apathy — the death of the heart which is happening in my country. These people have deluded themselves for so long, that they really don’t think I’m human. I base this on their conduct, not on what they say, and this means that they have become, in themselves, moral monsters. It’s a terrible indictment — I mean every word I say.
We need more of this kind of truth-telling:
Donald Trump is a proven liar. He lies often and effortlessly. He lies about the profound and the trivial. He lies to avoid guilt and invite glory. He lies when his pride is injured and when his pomposity is challenged.
Indeed, one of the greatest threats Trump poses is that he corrupts and corrodes the absoluteness of truth, facts and science.
This is the straight talk you don’t usually get in our cautious, conservative, cozy-with-evil media: you get “euphemisms like “unsubstantiated,” or “unproven,” or “baseless.”” This has to stop.
We all have to adjust to this unprecedented assault on the truth and stand ready to vigilantly defend against it, because without truth, what’s left? Our president is a pathological liar. Say it. Write it. Never become inured to it. And dispense with the terms of art to describe it. A lie by any other name portends the same.
Our president is a LIAR. Say it loud.
We must protest every step of the way, we must make it clear that Trump is intolerable. There will be a protest tonight in Washington DC, as the Trump Hotel will be surrounded.
But, like many of us, I face a dilemma. We cannot afford to travel to DC or NY on a moment’s notice. We are tied down in a web of obligations and responsibilities — for me, this is the first week of classes, and I can’t abandon the students — so we can only wish we had the freedom to express our anger.
There’s an alternative, though: act locally. The Trump regime is not going to harm only NY and DC and our reputation in foreign countries — it’s going to hit you hard right were you live. The Republicans are already trying to destroy our healthcare, and it’s going to be a blight spreading across the entire nation.
Look to see what’s happening in your community. If nothing is happening, organize something — there will be people willing to join you. Case in point: the Women’s March on Washington is taking next week, and if you can go, you should. But there are also simultaneous Sister Marches being organized everywhere. Look at this map:
Sign up for your nearest march. If there isn’t one close enough, start one yourself, even if it is just you standing in your driveway waving a sign at passing cars. You might just be the nucleus of an anti-Trump cell in your neighborhood.
I know who should have been arrested and dragged away — and it was the evil little bigot being rubber-stamped to an appointment to high office.
Sunsara Taylor is blogging from DC — read her for new developments.
Pirro is a histrionic nut-bag, and she brought on Carl Dix to argue for the legitimacy of Trump.
The most chilling thing to me was her flat declaration that Trump can carry out his agenda because
He won! We do not elect dictators. We do not simply accept heads of state who declare all kinds of dangerous nonsense simply because they carried the electoral college. Authorities must be constantly questioned and policed and kept in the bounds of responsible action by the electorate, and Trump has consistently declared his intent to violate those boundaries. That a corrupt crook and demagogue bamboozled a significant fraction of the American public does not imply that we have to allow him to destroy the country.
You can tell that O’Reilly wanted them on the show so he could wag a finger at them — He, Bill, is the final arbiter of what is right and just. But Dix and West got in some good points that O’Reilly just dismissed.
Apparently, we are not now supposed to judge a politician on the basis of what he has promised to do.
You think Trump’s slogan, Make America Great Again (#MAGA) is something wonderful and inspiring? It’s nothing new. Someone else used a version of it back in 1934.
History strikes back!