On Our Authoritarian Drift

Suppose Donald J. Trump is re-elected for another term this coming November.  What will this mean for America?  What and who will come after Donald J. Trump completes his second term, assuming of course he peacefully leaves office?

I fully expect he will be acquitted by this Senate; more about that later.

I’m just thinking about four years into the future.  What kind of candidate will the thoroughly transformed GOP nominate in 2024?  What affect will these years have on our children?

 Let’s put it this way. You are born in Germany to middle class parents in 1920. By the time you are in your teens Adolph Hitler is in power and the Weimar Republic has been swept away. As a teen it all seems perfectly normal to you. You join the Hitler Youth and are eventually drafted into the army. You are a patriot. You grow up in the Reich.

How does one resist in the environment one has grown up in? Indeed how does one even conceive of resistance? My grandson was born the night Trump was elected. That is the danger we face. How to resist? 

We are currently in the midst of Trump’s kabuki impeachment “trial” with no hope that 67 members of this Senate will remove him from office.  It is all a “hoax,” the telephone call was “perfect,” and he did “nothing wrong.”

This week, Representative Adam Schiff gave a historic speech summarizing the case against the President.  Even Lindsay Graham congratulated him on his presentation.

Trump immediately tweeted that Schiff was a “sleazebag.”  Now this is a serious case of the pot calling the kettle black,  If ANY pol can be called a sleaze bag it is dyed blond Don. The President accepts no criticism – none – and habitually endeavors to cast his political opponents as the “other.”

The Honorable Adam Schiff, member of the House of Representatives is not worthy of respect.   He is a sleazebag.  Once “otherness” takes root, the unimaginable becomes possible.  Ask the Jews.

While working openly with the odious Mitch McConnell to get the “trial” over with, a “close assciate” of  the President was quoted as saying that any Republican who voted against White House wishes would have his or her “head on a pike.”

Can there be any doubt that his President is an authoritarian to the core?  A Putin wannabe?

Let’s assume that the next election is very close and Donald loses in the electoral college by a few votes in key states.  Do you honestly believe he will leave office quietly?

Nah.  Expect his army of lawyers to contest every vote.  The election is a “fraud” because “millions of undocumented immigrants voted!”

If Trump is re-elected will the next decade see the emergence and institution of a uniquely American type of fascism?

I know.  Some of you are thinking “There you go again Toritto!”  Another hysterical leftie screaming “fascism.” Yes I know.  Using the word “fascism” to describe our current situation brands me a “hysterical liberal.”  Indeed, I recognize that America is very different from the historical fascist Italy and Nazi Germany.

Italy was a weak state, certainly militarily, and had been undergoing serious strife between labor and capital in the years immediately preceding Mussolini’s takeover. .Germany was a much stronger state, obviously, in the military, economic and cultural sense, but Hitler’s aim was also to become the world’s greatest power, even if starting from a position much stronger than Italy’s.

America, when it started going down the fascist road (which many would say coincided with the termination of the Cold War), was already the world’s undisputed dominant power, arguably stronger than any empires ever were, in relative terms, at their peak.  The American right has been whining over  “grievances” (against internal and external abusers) in a nation of unparalleled strength. That is a remarkable deviance from past fascist models.

“Modern capitalism has a tendency to fall into the fascist style from time to time, and maybe this became inevitable for us once the Soviet Union fell and there was no ideological check on American capitalism.   Europe had been trending strongly toward global cosmopolitanism, which might have ended up being a transitional stage toward worldwide democratic socialism. But America, in resurrecting an imaginary global Islamic enemy (an enemy which can not possibly defeat this country) for the past 20 years has probably done irrevocable damage to the global cosmopolitan agenda.”

After the last Presidential election  urban liberals spoke humorously with a smirk. as if we all share their upper class urban backgrounds.  Culture matters. In fact, in politics, it’s all that matters. That’s why pollsters know who you’re voting for by the music you listen to, the neighborhood you live in and a thousand other elements that have nothing to do with whether or not you read or listen to the news.  Pollsters knw how you will vote by the news you listen to,

Hillary and her supporters blamed the poor for her disastrous defeat.  Not the urban poor.  Her supporters blamed hillbillies, rednecks, trailer trash, the prep-school code for poor people. The upper class urban liberals blamed the rural poor.  How, we asked, could they vote for someone so opposed to their own interests?”

As if we always had their interests at heart.  Or indeed know what their interests are.

We don’t know the future.  If there is another significant attack on the United States or one of our close allies we can probably kiss our liberties good by.  Trump will simple say “I told you so!” We will be  “free” to go about our lives, change jobs (if we can find one), make money, move to another location, watch TMZ, be a Scientologist, buy shit, argue Coke vs. Pepsi,  write criticism on a blog – maybe.

The next major terrorist attack could easily result in the formation of Trump supporters into armed militias.  It would really be easy.  He’ll call a “Rally for America” in some state with open carry laws and tell his supporters “Bring your guns!”  Trump Second Amendment.  Trump S.A.   Right wing militias have been steadily growing over the last three years and have carried out attacks on immigrants and synagogues.

But what about non-violent “resistance” and its ability to bring change?

This old man lived through the dismantling of segregation in America, the coming of the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts.  Everyone loves to point out the effectiveness of non-violence and its ability to bring change.  Think Mahatma Gandhi and Dr, King.

Neither one of them practiced “non-violence” as we think of it today.  They practiced confrontation.  The call for non-violence is a ruse.  It is call for compliance.  Demonstrating quietly on a weekend with your friends and going home without confrontation changes nothing.

Why are there always calls for “non-violence” when the people being oppressed rise up?

“When nonviolence is preached by the representatives of the state, while the state doles out heaps of violence to its citizens, it reveals itself to be a con.”

Does that make violence right? No. But it is the natural response.  And it gets attention.

This country has made Martin Luther King into the icon of non-violence. He was nothing of the sort. At the time he was considered a “trouble maker.” Dr. King believed in confrontation – not compliance.

And the racists of the 1960s came to believe he was the better choice than Malcolm who told any white man who attacked black citizens to expect bullets in return.  He was a better choice than Bobby Seale and the Panthers who showed up on the steps of Ronald Reagan’s state capital heavily and legally armed. Civil rights came to America not with a mealy-mouth “non-violence” – it came with confrontation, busted heads and the burning of a few cities.

It is certainly the only thing fascists understand.  They use it all the time.

It seems to me however that we don’t have the stomach for that – yet.

If American authoritarian fascism comes, if the President elected after Trump’s second term is even worse than he, millions of us, unable to find a way to effectively resist in the most powerful nation the world has ever known, will disengage.  We will find our happiness in spite of impending dictatorship as tens of millions of Italians and Germans had to do.  Maybe the young, realizing that there was nothing exceptional about their country anymore will leave for Canada, Australia, New Zealand or Europe at the start of the next war and make their lives elsewhere.

We will follow our conscience and disengage from American fascism.  Without leadership it is all we can do.

In 1923, the head of the Italian Socialist Party, Giacomo Matteotti gave a rousing, impassioned speech openly defying the fascists in the Chamber of Deputies.  As he was leaving the house chamber he said to his colleagues “Now you can prepare for my funeral!”.

Matteotti stood in the way of fascist dictatorship.  His words, his pen, his activities were a daily reproach to tyranny.  He had no fear of the Fascisti; the fascists were afraid of him.

And so five of Mussolini’s “supporters” murdered him in the streets.

Mussolini would speak to the nation in  January 1924 virtually admitting responsibility as Duce of the Fascist Party and daring the nation to put him on trial.  His threat was civil war between the fascists and the army.  “Italy wants peace and quiet.  Work and calm.  I will give these things with love if possible; with force if necessary.”

The speech is considered the beginning of the dictatorship.

That is what is at stake – the future country of your children.

 

About toritto

I was born during year four of the reign of Emperor Tiberius Claudius on the outskirts of the empire in Brooklyn. I married my high school sweetheart, the girl I took to the prom and we were together for forty years until her passing in 2004. We had four kids together and buried two together. I had a successful career in Corporate America (never got rich but made a living) and traveled the world. I am currently retired in the Tampa Bay metro area and live alone. One of my daughters is close by and one within a morning’s drive. They call their pops everyday. I try to write poetry (not very well), and about family. Occasionally I will try a historical piece relating to politics. :-)
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3 Responses to On Our Authoritarian Drift

  1. Elizabeth says:

    I agree with you totally on this one. I see it happening before my very very heartbroken eyes.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. beetleypete says:

    It has been apparent to me that few younger people ever study or show any interest in History. That will be their downfall. Take your superb blog post here, Frank. How many people under 40 will read it, and think about what it says? My 30-something step-children still often ask me if I served in WW2. (I was born seven years after it ended).
    When I was talking about the film ‘1917’ recently, one of my step-daughters asked me if I was in the army during that war. And she is a mature student,( aged 31) studying at university. I laughed at first, then explained her error. She shrugged. “I am not interested in the ‘old days’, Pete”.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

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