Fascism - noun fas·cism \ˈfa-ˌshi-zəm - a political philosophy, movement, or regime (as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition.
One of the worst message frames I heard during the Bush administration was that it was fascist. It diluted the meaning of the word. It was clear that, as bad of a President as he was, President Bush was no fascist. Just one look at real fascist states, and you could tell the word didn’t fit.
We are now on the doorstep of fascism, with recent polling showing that we are perilously close to stepping through the threshold.
1. Donald Trump is running on a nationalist slogan of “America First.” And if people miss him saying it, he likes to underline it, by repeating it twice in a row, sometimes even three times in a row, in his speeches, so no one can miss it. “America First,” of course, is the same slogan used by 1930s American isolationists who sought a pact with Adolf Hitler. The movement, then, was rife with anti-Semitism, even branding Winston Churchill as a “half-Jew.” It isn’t coincidental that Trump is running on it.
2. Donald Trump has a pattern of calling out specific reporters to his rallies, as being “unfair” to him. The result? Reporters like Katy Tur of NBC have been subjected to death threats and harassment to the point that Secret Service needed to protect her from Trump’s mob, in a clear intimidation tactic, aimed at silencing any kind of criticism or opposition.
3. Reporters are not the only ones being intimidated. Right now, the Trump intimidation squad is threatening opposition voters with an illegal “poll watching” program.
4. Trump’s transition chief, Governor Christie, has already told people, in private, that Trump plans to seek power to purge all levels of government of non-loyalists.
5. Sensing the coming ability in a Trump administration to use their authority to crush people they do not like, politically, rogue FBI agents tried to base an investigation of the Clinton Foundation on an error-riddled book backed by Trump campaign CEO Steve Bannon, until higher ups at the FBI and the Department of Justice ordered them to knock it off. Now, those same agents are placing false stories with gullible FOX News reporters that an indictment is coming in the case, even though the case was shut down and the FBI, nor the Department of Justice, could indict anyway, without a Grand Jury. It is a sign that government agents know their time to engage in domestic political intimidation and smearing, is near.
6. Donald Trump has, classically, made certain races and religions enemies of the state, stating quite often, “you either have a country or you don’t,” when it comes to Mexicans, or Muslim refugees fleeing sectarian violence. He has placed nation above religious freedom, saying we should be spying on mosques, because if we do not, terrorism will “eat our country alive,” and, most infamously, he has called for a religious test to even enter the country.
7. Like all classic fascist leaders, Donald Trump cites an amorphous “elite” conspiracy in global banking and media that is conspiring to hold working people back, and that he is there to wield power to destroy them for the people rooted in America. Trump’s words are not at all far from Hitler, in that respect. It creates a clear line of social fragmentation, leveraging economic frustration to create a new enemy that is not defined, and can be anyone he wants it to be, at any time.
“Democracy is on the ballot.” ― President Barack Obama
Democracy, or fascism. The names say Clinton and Trump, but this is no longer about the people running. This is about a fork in the road for history.
Democracy or the American Fascist State.
That is the choice.