White Fascism

Fascism is a form of radical, right-wing, authoritarian ultra-nationalism, characterized by dictatorial power, forcible suppression of opposition, and strong regimentation of society and of the economy, which came to prominence in early 20th-century Europe.

White nationalism is a type of nationalism or pan-nationalism which espouses the belief that white people are a race and seeks to develop and maintain a white national identity. Its proponents identify with and are attached to the concept of a white nation.

Of late, it’s been called ‘white nationalism’, and it is that, but it is so much more than that.  It truly is fascism, for it is supported by authoritarian dictators and wanna-be dictators, and it is spreading.  Donald Trump denies that it is a growing problem, and also that he has anything to do with it, but the truth is that he is the personification of white fascism.  Even the New Zealand mosque shooter, Brenton Tarrant, cited Trump as a part of his ‘inspiration’.

Let’s take a look at just two of the many manifestations of the ever-growing white fascist movement.

Corinne Terrone was a school teacher in the Hamden, Connecticut school district. Last Friday she was shopping with her two children at a ShopRite supermarket in East Haven.  There is a video recording of what transpired when she confronted an African-American couple who were also shopping for groceries.  I choose not to post the video here, for it is disgustingly vulgar, however here is a brief synopsis of what happened:corinne-terrone.jpgThe video begins with Terrone screaming, “…I will. Don’t you dare talk to me like that in front of my children motherfucker.” A few words are inaudible until she’s heard saying “they’re fucking ni**ers in East Haven, that’s why.”

The man to whom she was directing her rage can be seen heading toward Terrone as people he’s with hope to calm him down, saying, “Don’t do it.” But Terrone yells, “put your hands on me. Come on. Come on,” and then points her phone close to his face as if to record. Another man attempts to get between them when the first man pushed the phone out of her hand and walks away.

But Terrone hurries after him shouting, “Oh you motherfuc*er, you motherfuc*er. That’s why there’s ni**ers in East Haven.” And when a person who appears to be a store employee comes toward her Terrone yells: “Fu*k you, ni**er.”

Terrone comes at the couple and spits at them. Twice.

Keep in mind that Ms. Terrone was a school teacher who has a role in building ideas in the minds of our nation’s young people, our future.  Ms. Terrone is a white fascist.  The East Haven police department is considering criminal charges, but the victims of her attack have chosen not to come forward, at least for the moment.  The Hamden Superintendent of schools responded with a public statement condemning Ms. Terrone’s actions and notifying her that an investigation is pending.  Ms. Terrone thereby tendered her resignation.  The school superintendent also reported the incident to the Connecticut Department of Children and Families, since her two children were with her and were exposed to her horrid language and behaviour. The town’s mayor also issued a public statement condemning Ms. Terrone’s behaviour.

Just one woman, you say?  Just one incident?  No big deal?  According to the FBI, hate crime numbers jumped more than 17 percent in 2017, and that may be a low figure.  Now is it a bigger deal?  Consider the incident involving Jill Cronenberger who was eating at Tampico Mexican Restaurant in Parkersburg, West Virginia last month.  Cronenberger happened to overhear the restaurant’s owner, Sergio Budar, speaking Spanish.  Seems logical in a Mexican restaurant, owned by a Mexican-American man, yes?  But, apparently Cronenberger failed to see the logic and immediately lashed out at Mr. Budar.

“I lived in California for 20 years. English is our first language, so you need to speak English.  Get the fu*k out of my country.”

When Mr. Budar tried to reason with her, explained that he is a U.S. citizen, and even told her he was sorry she was upset, she came back with “Will you shut the fu*k up!”  Ms. Cronenberger is a white fascist.  The man who was with her merely hung his head and apologized for her behaviour, saying that she was “just a friend”.

Mr. Budar showed remarkable restraint and at the end of Cronenberger’s tirade, he simply said that he would pay for her meal and asked her to please leave.  And then …

“I got raped by illegal aliens and you want me to be nice to you? You’re a rapist. You’re rapists!”

Sound familiar?

trump-face“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.” – Donald Trump, 16 June 2015

These are but two of hundreds of examples of this sort of behaviour in the past few months.  Friends, it almost feels as if we are living in the pre-civil rights days.  It almost feels as if we are living in Germany in the 1930s.  Now, I have been mocked for making Trump/Hitler comparisons, but I stand by my assessment.  We have a demagogic person at the helm who is a white fascist, who has denigrated quite literally people of every other ethnicity or religion in the nation.  He has taken upon himself power that was never intended for the president.  He has bypassed Congress and made a shamble of the system of checks and balances.  He has locked Hispanic children in cages, far away from their parents.  How many steps are there between a ‘detention camp’ and a ‘concentration camp’? And worst of all, he has in essence said to those who feel ethnically superior, that it is “okay” to be a racist, that it is okay to hurt anybody who doesn’t fit the WASP mold.

There seem to be a hell of a lot of people in this world today who believe they are better than others simply because they have pale skin, or because they claim to be “Christian”, or because they chose to love somebody of the opposite sex, or … you name it, there’s an ‘ism’ for it.  What makes these people tick, what makes them believe that they are superior?  I don’t know, but I do know that the leader of this nation is feeding them, encouraging them, and on his shoulders must lie a portion of the blame.  Donald Trump is not alone in his white fascist ways … there are many around the globe, and I would call most of the evangelical leaders in the U.S. white fascists, for they send the message of hate and supremacy, rather than the message of love and peace.

Hate crime is rising, not only in the U.S., but around the globe.  We simply must put a stop to it soon, else we will destroy ourselves.  We must carefully choose leaders who open their arms to people of every race, colour, religion, and gender.  We must choose leaders who will unite, not divide.  And we must choose leaders who are capable of moderate speech, who do not incite their citizens to violent acts.

Just a few … just a small group, says Trump.  Judge for yourself

It Can’t Happen Here …

sinclair lewis.jpgA few days ago, Robert Vella commented on one of my posts that those who think I am over-dramatizing my take on Trump & Co., might be well-advised to read Sinclair Lewis’ It Can’t Happen Here.  Why hadn’t I thought of that comparison?  It has been around 50 years since I read the book, although I do remember the general premise.  Still, I went to Wikipedia for a brief synopsis, and I thought it apropos to share with you what I found:

“It Can’t Happen Here is a semi-satirical 1935 political novel by American author Sinclair Lewis, and a 1936 play adapted from the novel by Lewis and John C. Moffitt.  Published during the rise of fascism in Europe, the novel describes the rise of Berzelius “Buzz” Windrip, a demagogue who is elected President of the United States, after fomenting fear and promising drastic economic and social reforms while promoting a return to patriotism and “traditional” values.”

Anything in that paragraph sound familiar?

“In 1936 Senator Berzelius “Buzz” Windrip, a charismatic and power-hungry politician, wins the election as President of the United States on a populist platform, promising to restore the country to prosperity and greatness …”

Power-hungry … populist platform … promising prosperity … greatness …

“Though having previously foreshadowed some authoritarian measures in order to reorganize the United States government, Windrip rapidly outlaws dissent, incarcerates political enemies in concentration camps, and trains and arms a paramilitary force called the Minute Men, who terrorize citizens and enforce the policies of Windrip and his “corporatist” regime. One of his first acts as president is to eliminate the influence of the United States Congress, which draws the ire of many citizens as well as the legislators themselves. The Minute Men respond to protests against Windrip’s decisions harshly, attacking demonstrators with bayonets. In addition to these actions, Windrip’s administration, known as the “Corpo” government, curtails women’s and minority rights, and eliminates individual states by subdividing the country into administrative sectors. The government of these sectors is managed by “Corpo” authorities, usually prominent businessmen or Minute Men officers.”

Want to know more?  Read the book.  But here’s my thought.  All of us have at least one or two friends who are still supporting Trump, whether because they truly believe in his lies, honestly think something he’s doing is right, or are just too ashamed to admit they were wrong about him.  The book isn’t expensive, so I say we should each buy one in paperback to give to each of our wayward friends or family members.  And if you really need a lot of copies, you can download it for free from the Project Gutenberg, or you can download the .pdf file, also free, then email it to your friends and relatives.

I just wish I had come up with this idea a week or two before Christmas, and we could have given a copy to those ‘in need’ of reading it for Christmas!

 

Albright Speaks — We Should Listen

Madeleine Albright served as Secretary of State for four years under President Bill Clinton.  Though I have not always agreed with her positions, I have tremendous respect for her knowledge and understanding.  Today, Ms. Albright published an OpEd in the New York Times that I find astute, timely, and chillingly prescient.  Agree or don’t agree, but I think this is something each of us needs to read and ponder.

Will We Stop Trump Before It’s Too Late?

By Madeleine Albright — April 6, 2018

On April 28, 1945 — 73 years ago — Italians hung the corpse of their former dictator Benito Mussolini upside down next to a gas station in Milan. Two days later, Adolf Hitler committed suicide in his bunker beneath the streets of war-ravaged Berlin. Fascism, it appeared, was dead.

To guard against a recurrence, the survivors of war and the Holocaust joined forces to create the United Nations, forge global financial institutions and — through the Universal Declaration of Human Rights — strengthen the rule of law. In 1989, the Berlin Wall came down and the honor roll of elected governments swelled not only in Central Europe, but also Latin America, Africa and Asia. Almost everywhere, it seemed, dictators were out and democrats were in. Freedom was ascendant.

Today, we are in a new era, testing whether the democratic banner can remain aloft amid terrorism, sectarian conflicts, vulnerable borders, rogue social media and the cynical schemes of ambitious men. The answer is not self-evident. We may be encouraged that most people in most countries still want to live freely and in peace, but there is no ignoring the storm clouds that have gathered. In fact, fascism — and the tendencies that lead toward fascism — pose a more serious threat now than at any time since the end of World War II.

Warning signs include the relentless grab for more authority by governing parties in Hungary, the Philippines, Poland and Turkey — all United States allies. The raw anger that feeds fascism is evident across the Atlantic in the growth of nativist movements opposed to the idea of a united Europe, including in Germany, where the right-wing Alternative für Deutschland has emerged as the principal opposition party. The danger of despotism is on display in the Russia of Vladimir Putin — invader of Ukraine, meddler in foreign democracies, accused political assassin, brazen liar and proud son of the K.G.B. Putin has just been re-elected to a new six-year term, while in Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, a ruthless ideologue, is poised to triumph in sham balloting next month. In China, Xi Jinping has persuaded a docile National People’s Congress to lift the constitutional limit on his tenure in power.

Around the Mediterranean, the once bright promise of the Arab Spring has been betrayed by autocratic leaders, such as Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt (also just re-elected), who use security to justify the jailing of reporters and political opponents. Thanks to allies in Moscow and Tehran, the tyrant Bashar al-Assad retains his stranglehold over much of Syria. In Africa, the presidents who serve longest are often the most corrupt, multiplying the harm they inflict with each passing year. Meanwhile, the possibility that fascism will be accorded a fresh chance to strut around the world stage is enhanced by the volatile presidency of Donald Trump.

If freedom is to prevail over the many challenges to it, American leadership is urgently required. This was among the indelible lessons of the 20th century. But by what he has said, done and failed to do, Mr. Trump has steadily diminished America’s positive clout in global councils.

Instead of mobilizing international coalitions to take on world problems, he touts the doctrine of “every nation for itself” and has led America into isolated positions on trade, climate change and Middle East peace. Instead of engaging in creative diplomacy, he has insulted United States neighbors and allies, walked away from key international agreements, mocked multilateral organizations and stripped the State Department of its resources and role. Instead of standing up for the values of a free society, Mr. Trump, with his oft-vented scorn for democracy’s building blocks, has strengthened the hands of dictators. No longer need they fear United States criticism regarding human rights or civil liberties. On the contrary, they can and do point to Mr. Trump’s own words to justify their repressive actions.

At one time or another, Mr. Trump has attacked the judiciary, ridiculed the media, defended torture, condoned police brutality, urged supporters to rough up hecklers and — jokingly or not — equated mere policy disagreements with treason. He tried to undermine faith in America’s electoral process through a bogus advisory commission on voter integrity. He routinely vilifies federal law enforcement institutions. He libels immigrants and the countries from which they come. His words are so often at odds with the truth that they can appear ignorant, yet are in fact calculated to exacerbate religious, social and racial divisions. Overseas, rather than stand up to bullies, Mr. Trump appears to like bullies, and they are delighted to have him represent the American brand. If one were to draft a script chronicling fascism’s resurrection, the abdication of America’s moral leadership would make a credible first scene.

Equally alarming is the chance that Mr. Trump will set in motion events that neither he nor anyone else can control. His policy toward North Korea changes by the day and might quickly return to saber-rattling should Pyongyang prove stubborn before or during talks. His threat to withdraw from the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement could unravel a pact that has made the world safer and could undermine America’s reputation for trustworthiness at a critical moment. His support of protectionist tariffs invites retaliation from major trading partners — creating unnecessary conflicts and putting at risk millions of export-dependent jobs. The recent purge of his national security team raises new questions about the quality of advice he will receive. John Bolton starts work in the White House on Monday.

What is to be done? First, defend the truth. A free press, for example, is not the enemy of the American people; it is the protector of the American people. Second, we must reinforce the principle that no one, not even the president, is above the law. Third, we should each do our part to energize the democratic process by registering new voters, listening respectfully to those with whom we disagree, knocking on doors for favored candidates, and ignoring the cynical counsel: “There’s nothing to be done.”

I’m 80 years old, but I can still be inspired when I see young people coming together to demand the right to study without having to wear a flak jacket.

We should also reflect on the definition of greatness. Can a nation merit that label by aligning itself with dictators and autocrats, ignoring human rights, declaring open season on the environment, and disdaining the use of diplomacy at a time when virtually every serious problem requires international cooperation?

To me, greatness goes a little deeper than how much marble we put in our hotel lobbies and whether we have a Soviet-style military parade. America at its best is a place where people from a multitude of backgrounds work together to safeguard the rights and enrich the lives of all. That’s the example we have always aspired to set and the model people around the world hunger to see. And no politician, not even one in the Oval Office, should be allowed to tarnish that dream.

Grounded

Those of you who have followed Filosofa’s Word for more than a year may remember a series of posts that I re-blogged by justascottishgirl, a young woman from Scotland who, in late 2015 to mid-2016 took time from her own life to volunteer helping refugees on the Greek Isle of Kos. Her tales were often heartbreaking, but I was so impressed with what she and others were doing – giving of themselves for the cause of humanity – that I shared her story a few times in March 2016. She eventually returned to Scotland, but has now moved to the Greek Isle of Kos. She has started a new blog, titled From Greece With Love, and shares her very astute thoughts on not just the refugee crisis, but the terrible inhumane incidents taking place around the globe. I am sharing, with her permission, the first post on her new blog where she starts with a question: How does one stay grounded with all the terrible things happening around the world? She concludes with: “Stand together, show love where you find hate and don’t let fear win.” Just A Scottish Girl is an excellent writer, thinker, and humanitarian extraordinaire, and this post is well worth the read. Please take a few moments to read her words, for they reflect what most of us are thinking in these troubled times. Thank you, Scottish Girl, for all you do, for your beautiful heart, and for permission to share your thoughts and words.

From Greece With Love

All through life when times get tough, when things start to run away with us or when things start to get too much we often hear the advice “stay grounded.” We are told to “keep our feet on the ground” to balance us, to remind of something solid, something steady that can help bring us down from those dizzying heights that challenging times can take us to. But what happens when that safety net fails, when you can no longer trust the earth to keep you steady?

Recently I experienced a rather nasty earthquake which has left this question playing on my mind. When we live in a world of such uncertainty, how exactly do we stay grounded when we can’t even trust the ground we walk on?

But this idea of losing trust in your surroundings goes further than a shift in tectonic plates, for me personally anyway. Over…

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Idiot Of The Week – Jeffrey Lord

Idiot of the Week medalAlthough idiots surround us, seem to be coming out of the woodwork and multiplying exponentially, I have not done an Idiot of the Week post since … well … since my last one!  And that was Wayne Allyn Root on 31 May.  So, I think it’s about time, don’t you?  And as often happens, one dropped right into my lap!  I became aware of Jeffrey Lord some time ago and realized he was an idiot, but did nothing to honour him for his idiocy.  But today, that all changes!  So please welcome this week’s Idiot of the Week, Jeffrey Lord.

Lord-1.jpgJeffrey Lord, 66 years old, is a political strategist in Pennsylvania, who served as an associate political director in the administration of former United States President Ronald Reagan. He has worked as a political commentator, contributing material to CNN, The Weekly Standard, The American Spectator, National Review Online, and other mostly right-wing conservative publications. He has appeared as a guest on numerous television and radio programs. He also works as a political consultant for Quantum Communications, a Harrisburg-based political strategy firm. Since 2015, he has been a regular commentator under contract to CNN.

And now let us take a brief look at just a few of the things that qualify Jeffrey for the award …

Certainly anyone who equates Donald Trump to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., deserves this award.  One Thursday in April, Lord made a remote appearance on CNN’s New Day show:

“Think of Donald Trump as the Martin Luther King of health care. When I was a kid, President Kennedy did not want to introduce the civil rights bill because he said it wasn’t popular and he didn’t have the votes for it, et cetera. Dr. King kept putting people in the streets in harm’s way to put the pressure on so the bill would be introduced.”

Democratic activist Symone Sanders was also on the program, and I loved her response:

“You do understand that Dr. King was marching for civil rights because people that looked like me were being beaten, dogs were being sicced on them, basic human rights were being withheld from these people merely because of the color of their skin. So let’s not equate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. — humanitarian and Nobel Peace Prize winner—to the vagina-grabbing president, Donald Trump.”

In February 2015, Lord called upon the Republican Party to demand an apology from the Democratic Party for its role in promoting and defending slavery and creating the segregationist Jim Crow system:

“Will President Obama – the leader of the Democratic Party – formally apologize for his party’s role in slavery and Jim Crow? Will the Republicans now controlling both the House and Senate pass resolutions calling on the president to apologize for his party’s role in slavery and Jim Crow?”

In June 2015, Lord wrote an open letter to Debbie Wasserman Schultz, then-head of the U.S. Democratic Party, asking her to apologize for her party’s role in Indian removal, in promoting and defending slavery, in Confederate secession, and in creating segregationist Jim Crow regimes. (This guy wants everybody to apologize, doesn’t he?)

In March 2016, during Super Tuesday election night coverage on CNN, conservative commentator S. E. Cupp said she believed Trump had made to attract prejudiced voters because he had hesitated to disavow KKK member David Duke.  Lord responded that the KKK many decades earlier had supported Democrats and that the KKK was therefore left wing.

Lord-bookLord has also written a book published in January 2016 titled What America Needs: The Case for Trump. The plug on Amazon reads …

“In What America Needs, Lord makes a powerful case that Trump—often denigrated even by other Republicans as too outrageous for the White House—is actually exactly the president our country needs right now: one who will reverse the damages done during the Obama administration and do what it takes to make America great again.”

So, we see that Lord is not only an idiot, but one in serious need of psychiatric counseling.  But all of that simply leads up to his latest faux pas, one which has cost him his job. It happened during a back-and-forth “tweeter-sation” between Lord and Angelo Carusone, president of Media Matters for America, a progressive media watchdog organization.  It took only two small words to earn him the proverbial axe:

Lord-sieg heil tweet.png

CNN’s response was swift:  “Nazi salutes are indefensible. Jeffrey Lord is no longer with the network.” *

Later, Lord defended himself, saying that he was mocking Media Matters, which he considers to be a fascist organization, and said he has ‘no regrets’ for his words. If there is any remaining doubt in your mind that Mr. Lord is an idiot, guess who came out in support of him after his firing?  None other than America’s #1 white supremacist, Steve Bannon, who called Jeffrey to cheer him up after he was fired.

Jeffrey Lord may not be the most idiotic of all the recipients of this award, but nonetheless, he is well-deserving of it.  The difference between him and past recipients such as Steve King, Ben Carson and Kellyanne Conway, is that he is an idiot whose message is more chilling, less humorous, than the others.  And although CNN has severed ties with him, he has numerous other venues for his brand of hate, as he is still a regular columnist for the American Spectator, a conservative online publication, and others.

And so, Mr. Jeffrey Lord, for your extremist views throughout the years, and your lack of filter for your mouth, and for being an overall jerk, I hereby award you the much-coveted Idiot of the Week award.  I’m sure you will find a good spot on your office wall to hang it. Congratulation!

*  The argument will be made that Lord’s words are protected by the first amendment, and that is true … he broke no law and will not suffer legal repercussions.  However CNN is within its rights to sever the relationship based on its journalistic, moral and humanitarian standards.

Is America Tired of Democracy?

Democracy: a system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives.

Fascism: an authoritarian and nationalistic right-wing system of government and social organization.

The United States has operated as a democracy for nearly 228 years, among the longest continuous democracies in the world.  Is that nearing its logical conclusion?  Maybe.  Nations, governments, society and its members evolve over time, and the U.S. has undergone many transitions since the day the Constitution was ratified back in 1788.  The rifts between the two political parties have widened to the point that the majority in each party no longer seem to recognize their own ideology. This year’s election seems to be the proof of that.

A vast majority of the citizens of this nation are angry.  Although, under President Obama, the country has recovered from the financial crisis of 2008, GDP (Gross Domestic Product) gained 2.4% in 2015, and unemployment is at only about 5%, the nation does not feel prosperous.  The majority of people have less disposable income today than they had 20 years ago, nearly 2/3 are in debt, and the average household’s assets has shrunk by 1/3. Yet, America is among the wealthiest nations in the world.  So where is the wealth?  It is in the bank accounts and investment portfolios of that infamous ‘one-percent’, the handful of multi-millionaires and billionaires whose lives are almost completely disconnected from the rest of us. While it is true that more people are working, they are making less and paying more for goods and services, thus they do not feel as if they are ‘better off’ than two decades ago.  To add insult to injury, political candidates are funded by those in the top one-percent, thus once they are in office, they are obligated in ways that lead to laws favoring … again, the top 1%.  Thus, the people are understandably angry.

Enter this year’s remaining candidates for the highest office in the land, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump.  Hillary Clinton is seen as the ‘establishment’, status-quo, same ol’ same ol’. Her previous experience in government more than qualifies her for the job, but many seem to view that as a downside, as just a continuation of that status quo that everyone is tired of.  Enter Bernie Sanders.  In the beginning, I thought Sanders would fall by the wayside early on, simply because of the label ‘democratic-socialist’.  In years past, ‘socialism’ has been a dirty word in this country, with many mistaking it for communism.  But alas, in this world of disillusionment and desire for change, seemingly any change, many, especially younger voters, are mesmerized by Bernie’s promises to work toward narrowing the gap between the 1% and the rest of us, expanding social security, increasing wages, new rights for the disabled, lower healthcare costs, and the list goes on.  His is certainly an appealing message, his promises lure potential voters, but the problem is that much of it is pie-in-the-sky.  Higher taxes on the wealthy and more services for low and middle income families is achievable, should certainly be the goal, but it will not happen overnight, and even with that, the resources of government are, and will always be, limited.  If Sanders had been able to present a viable and reasonable plan to begin accomplishing his goals, he might well have become the next POTUS.

Thus we move to the sole remaining republican candidate, Donald Trump.  Trump enters the fray loudly playing on the fears and emotions of working class Americans.  Like Sanders, his is a message of narrowing the gap between the 1% and the 99%, but the message seems hypocritical when one remembers that he is one of the 1%, and that his deity is money.  He riles the masses with promises that, just like Bernie, he cannot possibly follow through with, but he is so loud and energized, so discounting of any who dare to disagree with him, that the crowds fall victim to his rhetoric. One case in point is Trump promising his voters that after he wins the election, his first official act will be to call the CEO of Ford and force him to move his auto plants from Mexico back to the United States within 48 hours, and his vow to force Apple to stop making iPhones in China. We all know that these are empty promises/threats, but it is what people want to hear, and so they believe.

Not one of the three remaining candidates has offered a viable solution to that which ails the nation under the current system of democracy. All of which leads one to wonder if, in fact, democracy is on its way out, to be replaced with a more authoritarian form of government, such as fascism. According to political scientist and historian Robert Paxton, Trump’s promises to build a wall along the Mexican border and to deny Muslims entry into the United States constitute “The use of ethnic stereotypes and exploitation of fear of foreigners [and] is directly out of the fascist’s recipe book.” He goes on to say that Trump’s campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again,” sounds exactly like the slogans of fascist movements, and adds that “a sense of victimhood is absolutely essential” to the rise of fascism, “and I think that’s very strong in America today,” particularly among the white middle class.

While Trump is running on the republican ticket, his ideology seems far-removed from that of the GOP, though much like a chameleon, the rhetoric changes based on the audience at the moment, so it is sometimes difficult to tell.  Nonetheless, when so many support a candidate who has blatantly avowed that he intends to curb the freedom of the press, has already cut gashes into freedom of speech at his rallies by having those who disagree with him physically removed and in some cases beaten, we must ask if this is in keeping with our democracy.

An article in Der Spiegel draws comparisons between Trump and WWII fascist leader, Benito Mussolini: “Trump not only resembles Mussolini in the way he sticks out his lower jaw, but also in his speech. His short, blustering sentences sound similar to those used by “Il Duce” in his speeches. Like Mussolini, Trump is masterful at handling large crowds. And even in his contempt for the establishment, he resembles the leaders of revolutionary movements in the Europe of the 1920s and 1930s. Trump isn’t leading a party but a movement, and his supporters are pledging their oath of allegiance to the candidate, not the Republicans.”  All of which makes one wonder if, perhaps, Americans are becoming tired of living under a democratic system of government and are willing to sacrifice certain of their freedoms in exchange for a leader who would operate in a significantly more authoritarian manner.

There are other alternatives to giving up on democracy, but it will require many compromises, starting with serious conversations about the causes of dissatisfaction among the people and viable solutions, such as the wealthy being more attuned to the rest of the nation, occasionally coming out of their mansions to look around at the 99% and being willing to ‘do the right thing’.  Or being forced to, if all else fails.  “Trump’s answer to the crisis is the exclusion of others. But the correct answer should be inclusion — not just of Trump’s supporters, but also that of society’s weakest. There’s much more at stake in the United States right now than the contest between two candidates. This is a question of tolerance, pluralism and the very future of a deeply drained democracy.”  (Stark, Der Spiegel, 17 May 2016).

Our democracy may, in fact, be deeply exhausted, but I still believe it is a system that is worth fighting for. I do not know what the answers are, I do not pretend to think that any of the candidates left standing are the ‘right’ person for the job of rearranging the pieces such that the ‘American dream’ can live on for future generations. But I am not willing to trade what we have today for what Italy had 75 years ago.  Are you?