I guess it’s not a coincidence that I’ve decided to try restarting my blog on the day that *gulp* Donald Trump is sworn in as President. We really are heading into an unknown area in the history of our country. When George W. Bush was sworn in, it wasn’t nice, but he was – more or less – predictable. With Trump, it’s hard to know how things will really play out.
Things immediately didn’t take a great start with his inauguration speech which essentially said that American was on fire as well as having a callout to Neo-Nazis and just generally having a very fascist and authoritarian feeling to it – from stark nationalism to “law and order.”
This reminds me of that famous quote, which is actually misattributed to Sinclair Lewis, although there is evidence it was inspired by some of the things he wrote. There are also a couple of variations, but I think I like this one best, written by James Waterman Wise, Jr. in 1936:
If fascism comes…it will probably be wrapped up in the American flag and heralded as a plea for liberty and preservation of the constitution.
Of course, in the 1930s they predicted fascism would show up riding the wave of patriotism, nationalism, and populism because that’s exactly how it rose in Europe. Indeed, these are pretty defining characteristics of it – along with anti-immigration and/or other ethno-centric attitudes and – as I noted above – the whole “law and order” shtick, which of course Trump and his supporters often share as well.
The attempts to discredit the mainstream media while propping up blogs and other media that have sworn fealty to him, as well as the not so cloaked threats against protest and dissent just add to the fascist and authoritarian playbook that Trump is playing by.
The cherry on the cake to all this being that Trump reportedly wanted tanks and missiles in his inaugural parade, reminiscent of strongman, authoritarian governments.
At this point you have to be pretty much blind, willfully ignorant, or actually on board with Trump’s authoritarian fascism to not see and be alarmed by the blatant and obvious parallels to the rise of fascism in Europe in the 1930s. And this is what we’re going to be fighting against for the next four years.