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.
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…
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.
“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?
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.