The United States of Fascism

Columnist Olivia Rasmussen analyzes the characteristics of fascism against events that have been occurring in the United States.

What does the United States of America signify? Freedom? Prosperity? Liberty? The broken promise of the land of the free is slowly unraveling the red, white and blue stitching of our democracy. While the façade of our freedoms is still intact, the alarming turn our country has been taking under the guise of wannabe dictator Donald Trump is putting those freedoms in question.

It seems Americans either aren’t familiar with the word “fascism” or think it’s impossible for fascism to lurk its way down the throat of Lady Liberty. “Jason Stanley, a professor of philosophy at Yale University, offers one perspective on the word. He defines fascism as ‘a cult of the leader who promises national restoration in the face of humiliation brought on by supposed communists, Marxists and minorities and immigrants who are supposedly posing a threat to the character and the history of a nation.’" Let’s look at some of the characteristics of fascism per the encyclopedia Britannica:

Opposition to political and cultural liberalism

Although circumstances sometimes made accommodation to political liberalism necessary… encouraging 'divisiveness' (i.e., political pluralism), tolerating 'decadent' values, and limiting the power of the state. Fascists accused liberal 'fellow travelers' of wittingly or unwittingly abetting communism.”

Trump and his political gang of goons have repeatedly treated anti-fascist peaceful protesters as domestic terrorists and equates any trace of democratic socialism to communism (even though Trump toys with bouts of socialism like the $1,200 stimulus check we received including the anti-socialist “patriots”). The loathsome propaganda Trump oozes onto the whimpering tongues of his cult promotes hatred and divisiveness constantly.

Totalitarian ambitions

Although Hitler had not revealed the full extent of his totalitarian aims before he came to power… he attempted not only to control all political power but also to dominate many institutions and organizations that were previously independent of the state, such as courts, churches, universities, social clubs, veterans groups, sports associations, and youth groups.”

Does that sound familiar? Trump weaponizes the religious faith of his followers to brainwash them into spouting his mantras. Some evangelical Christians have morphed Jesus Christ into a greedy, self-serving idol filled with hate to better align their faulty morals to fit the description of their actual ruler and alleged savior, Donald Trump. I’m wondering if there’s another country that worships its leader like the reincarnation of Jesus Christ

Military values

Fascists favored military values such as courage, unquestioning obedience to authority, discipline, and physical strength.”

Police forces in America are being militarized to terrorize American citizens engaging in their constitutional rights. “D.C. National Guard Maj. Adam D. DeMarco told lawmakers that defense officials were searching for crowd-control technology deemed too unpredictable to use in war zones and had authorized the transfer of about 7,000 rounds of ammunition to the D.C. Armory as protests against police use of force and racial injustice roiled Washington.”

“Crowd-control technology deemed too unpredictable to use in war zones” such as “devices that could emit deafening sounds and make anyone within range feel as if their skin was on fire.” With demands for police accountability and less brutality on the rise, law enforcement has resulted to militarized tanks, weapons and officers dressed head to toe in combat gear instead. Before the blue-stained fingertips get ready to write a snide comment on this column about how “antifa” is causing all of the terror, check out this report: “The vast majority of the thousands of Black Lives Matter protests this summer have been peaceful, with more than 93% involving no serious harm to people or damage to property, according to a new report tracking political violence in the United States. But the US government has taken a 'heavy-handed approach' to the demonstrations, with authorities using force 'more often than not' when they are present, the report found.”

We are a nation that would rather unquestionably choke on the boots of law enforcement than dare to hold abusive authorities accountable for their many wrongdoings in the face of democracy and our Constitution.

While the topic of police brutality and the militarization of such could go on for pages, let’s switch “military value” gears to adorned leader Trump calling veterans “losers.”  Shouldn’t we honor those brave men and women who have fought for our freedoms to be upheld wholeheartedly, even when a leader doesn’t agree with the message? Instead, “patriotic” Americans think it’s the most bald-eagle-soaring, American-flag-waving thing to support a president who refers to veterans as “losers” and wants to strip his opposers of their rights to free speech, free press and the freedom to assemble.

Trump 8.jpg

President Donald Trump speaking Jan. 30 at Drake University's Knapp Center in Des Moines. Trump discussed the new USMCA trade agreement and hit out at his potential Democratic rivals.

Education as character building

Fascist educators emphasized character building over intellectual growth, devalued the transmission of information, inculcated blind obedience to authority, and discouraged critical and independent thinking that challenged fascist ideology.”

Trump’s cult-like followers are a perfect example of this alarming characteristic. It is astounding that the people who act like COVID-19 is a hoax and refuse to be “sheep” by selfishly not wearing a temporary mask are the same people who sheepishly follow and agree with everything Trump says, even if it’s a proven lie. Trump knows this about his base too and it’s apparent through previous comments like “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn't lose any voters, OK?” He appeals to unprofessionalism and immaturity to deviate from his corporate bigwig roots to placate his base, which further manipulates them into thinking he’s one of them.

The merch and other printed propaganda plastered onto the looming souls of his cult members through truck and boat parades are cute mockery of the military parades held in North Korea.

Outside of this but in the realm of education, Trump is calling for a reeducation program to wipe out accurate historical events because it involves the grim portions of American history like slavery. “Trump decried what he said was a ‘twisted web of lies’ being taught in U.S. classrooms about systemic racism in America, calling it ‘a form of child abuse.’” Also, him banning diversity training and painting it as anti-American really instills that to him, diversity, especially racial diversity, is non-American. That’s not surprising coming from someone who is publicly supported by white nationalists. Can you guess what other leader promoted reeducation camps to manipulate history and lie to its citizens?

Scapegoating

Fascists often blamed their countries’ problems on scapegoats. Jews, Freemasons, Marxists, and immigrants were prominent among the groups that were demonized.”

Trump blames everyone else but himself: China, immigrants, Liberals and so on. His current campaign ads say he is the only one who can clean up the current mess in America, but he already is the president… of the country… that needs cleaning up…. And isn’t doing anything about it. He uses scare tactics to persuade his followers too. His juvenile inability to be responsible for his actions is a sad display of his leadership skills, or rather, lack thereof.

Sexism and misogyny

Under fascist regimes women were urged to perform their traditional gender role as wives and mothers and to bear many children for the nation.”

Sexism and misogyny is still rampant in America. A woman’s right to her own body is still being voted on by men. Immigrant women in American concentration camps are being forced into mass sterilization, which not only is a crime against humanity but should be way more of a concern to the people of this country. Is this the America you want to live in where just because someone crossed an invisible border for a better life means they should be subjected to Nazi-like practices of forced hysterectomies?

How much democracy do we really have if the current president of the United States is continuously fearmongering about rigged elections at the hands of Democrats even though his campaign benefited from the dirty work of Russian interference in the 2016 election? Is part of our democracy also a child-like president who can’t commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses this upcoming election?

The hinges of democracy are loosened more and more every day as fascist rhetoric seeps into American politics. This is our country and we must fight to ensure our rights and freedoms.

Opinion Policies

Editorials are longer opinion pieces that are written by a group of community members recruited across campus who address relevant issues on a local, national and international level. Editorials are research-based. The purpose of the Editorial Board is to promote discussion concerning relevant issues in the community while advising on possible solutions. Topics are chosen via relevancy and interests of the members, which are then discussed by the Editorial Board in order to reach a general consensus concerning the topic or issue.

Feedback policy

If you have a grievance concerning the content or argument of the Editorial Board, please contact either Opinion Editor Peyton Hamel (peyton.hamel@iowastatedaily.com) or the Editorial Board as a whole (editorialboard@iowastatedaily.com). Those wanting to respond to editorials can also submit a letter to the editor through the Iowa State Daily website or by emailing the letter to Opinion Editor Peyton Hamel (peyton.hamel@iowastatedaily.com) or Editor-in-Chief Sage Smith (sage.smith@iowastatedaily.com).

Column Policy

Columns are hyper-specific to opinion and are written by only columnists employed by the Iowa State Daily. Columnists are unique because they have a specific writing day and only publish on those writing days. Each column undergoes a thorough editing process ensuring the integrity of the writer, and their claim is maintained while remaining research-based and respectful. Columns may be submitted from community members. These are labelled as “Guest Columns.” These contain similar research-based content and need to be at least 400 words in length. The following requirements should be met: first and last name, email and relation or position to Iowa State. Emails must be tied to the submitted guest column or it will not be accepted or published. Pseudonyms are prohibited and the writer will be banned from submissions.

Read our full Opinion Policies here. Updated on 10/7/2020

(2) comments

J. T.

Hmmm, it would seem that all the comments were removed from this article. There were quite a few, most of them disagreed with the opinion article, and none that I saw violated the guidelines. Could it be that someone at the IowaStateDaily doesn't want anyone to disagree with the radical article above?

David Jackson

“I’m wondering if there’s another country that worships its leader like the reincarnation of Jesus Christ…”

-Olivia Rasmussen

Apparently Olivia has forgotten or chosen to pretend this did not occur during the Obama years. The antics from the mindless sycophants of that demagogue are part of the reason we ended up with President Trump. Now that someone running as a Republican learned how to play the same populist games as the Democrats, Democratic partisans are hysterical.

The frightening thing about this diatribe is Olivia believes herself to be the rational, independent, thinker. The one who has come to her conclusions based on facts and evidence and it’s those on the “other” side that are the irrational mob. This is the kind of cognitive dissonance that’s the result of non-stop activist gaslighting. The blatant hyperbolic fear mongering that espouses that anything and everything other than democratically elected neo-Marxists, promising to take care of everyone if only we vote them the power to institute tax rates incompatible with economic growth, control over our lives incompatible with individual rights, and race/sex/class division incompatible with equality under the law, is a form of fascism.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.