Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Life in the Fascist Lane

Like most Americans, I did not vote for Donald Trump. And like most, I am dismayed by a system that, through the electoral college, would elevate a manifestly unqualified, transparently corrupt caricature to the presidency.

Dismayed, and appalled. But not all that surprised.

I think the looming Trump presidency — this clear and present danger — is so unacceptable, that the spontaneous demonstrations erupting in cities around the country in the election aftermath may represent the beginnings of genuine resistance. Like Trump’s campaign, it signals something unprecedented in the United States.

Trump’s inability to see these demonstrations for what they are is consistent with everything we know. “Professional protesters, incited by the media, are protesting,” he whined in a poorly-worded tweet, from the insulated heights of Trump Tower. “Very unfair!”

Totally predictable. Can’t wait for that million women march.

During the primary season, a fascism expert named Robert Paxton said he was reluctant to label Trump a fascist. “It’s almost the most powerful epithet you can use,” he said. “I guess child molester might be a little more powerful, but not much.” (I keep hearing about Trump raping a thirteen-year-old, but a lawsuit was dropped a second time just before the election. Perhaps he has restricted his sexual molestation to adult women?)

Paxton reluctantly used the f-word in discussing the President-elect. Trump’s make-America-great-again slogan “sounds exactly like the fascist movements” from the first half of the Twentieth Century, he said, and his xenophobia “is directly out of a fascist’s recipe book...he even looks like Mussolini in the way he sticks his lower jaw out, and also the bluster, the skill at sensing the mood of the crowd, the skillful use of media.”

So there is plenty to be frightened of.

We have a known sexual predator and misogynist, a racist authoritarian, a climate change denier, and a shallow, narcissistic fool about to assume the presidency. I’ve thought for a long time that Trump doesn’t really care all that much about the presidency. For him, its validation, a trophy. This is a man, after all, who puts his name on everything, and has had a string of trophy wives.

In spite of signs that Trump is already betraying some of his campaign promises, the worst, I’m sure, is yet to come. Of course it is.

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