America's descent into fascism

In my Pravda.Ru article Donald Trump and the Genius of Idiocy, (08/08/2016), I discussed how the corporate-controlled media's incessant coverage of Trump's outrageous remarks were creating "the very real prospect of provoking the reverse psychology of voters. Whether Americans want to acknowledge this phenomenon or not, it often seems that the more they are warned about the drawbacks or risks of taking or supporting some form of action, the more likely they are to attempt or support it, even when it is harmful to their personal interests.  I'm not sure if this is due to the mythical 'rugged individualism' that allegedly fuels America, or if it is because of the very human instinct to resent being told what to do.  But whatever the reason, the result could be that the incessant warnings about the dangers of a Trump presidency might actually be the catalyst that creates it. . . .   [A]s the Brexit experience taught the world, polls can be inaccurate, and, in some cases, intentionally deceptive.  In other words, many prospective voters who may be hesitant to openly support Trump will have no inhibitions about doing so in the anonymity of the voting booth."

History repeats itself

Philosophers and pundits often argue that history repeats itself, and Trump's election certainly lends veracity to that conclusion.  During the 1960s, many Americans were content to support Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s civil rights protests, and Lyndon Johnson's civil rights initiatives, as long as they were confined to the American South.  But when King and other civil rights activists sought to demonstrate that virulent racism and police brutality were also prevalent in the North, and when more militant groups, like the Black Panther Party, arose to challenge the status quo, America's "silent majority" responded by not only electing "law-and-order" candidate Richard Nixon, but also by giving a significant degree of support to segregationist George Wallace.

Today the Black Lives Matter movement is protesting police brutality; gays and lesbians are demanding protection against discrimination; and Native-Americans are opposing the further desecration of their land.  In response, millions of Americans, under the pretext of wanting "change" or "making America great again," elected Trump in the hope he will demote anyone who is not white, male, and professing to be a "Christian" to second-class citizenship.

Although, at the time of this writing, the popular votes are still being counted, Trump's willingness to seize power in defiance of the will of the majority reaffirms another historical precedent - that megalomaniacal egotism trumps (no pun intended) the desire to serve the nation or its people, and often results in the neglect, and even the abuse, of the rights of the weak and powerless.

Samuel Tilden

In the 1876 presidential election, Samuel Tilden won the popular vote and was ahead in the electoral college vote.  (Note to readers-for obvious reasons, I refuse to capitalize the name of this institution).  So, in an unwritten deal to steal the presidency, now known as the Compromise of 1877, Tilden's opponent, Rutherford B. Hayes, agreed to remove federal troops, who were protecting the rights of former slaves, from the South.  The result was a maelstrom of oppression, lynching, segregation, and racial injustice that editorial cartoonist Thomas Nast once condemned as "worse than slavery."

Naturally, some will question this analogy, because Trump won the electoral college.  But the grim reality is that Trump will undoubtedly run for reelection.  How many racial, religious, and ethnic minorities will have their rights diminished or destroyed so Trump can appease the bigotry of his predominantly white, male power base?

One irony is that, in 2012, Trump vociferously denounced the electoral college when it appeared that Barack Obama might lose the popular vote, yet still win the election.  But now that Trump might be the beneficiary of the same machinations of this anachronistic institution, suddenly he doesn't find it so terrible.

Another, and perhaps even greater, irony is the original purpose of the electoral college was to prevent incompetents from obtaining the presidency.  Yet now it has evolved, as demonstrated by the "victories" of both Trump and George W. Bush, into the principal conduit for allowing incompetents into the White House. 

But perhaps the most frightening historical harbinger of what America, and the world, is now facing is the knowledge that Trump obtained a larger percentage of popular votes than Adolf Hitler, and he did so by exploiting the very same tactics-scapegoating racial, religious, and ethnic minorities; telling great lies without compunction, knowing his supporters had no interest in the truth; and exploiting emotion over reason.

If you ask most Americans, they will tell you they love their freedom.  They teach about it, give speeches about it, make movies about it, send young men and women off to kill and die on the pretext of defending it, force people to stand while they sing an anthem about it, and even threaten to kill those who refuse to do so. 

Which means the only thing they hate about freedom is the exercise of it.

As I argued in The Great Allure (Pravda.Ru, 09/22/2004), human nature is more receptive to fascism than freedom, even in allegedly "enlightened" countries like the United States.  Trump supporters pontificate about their desire to "defend the constitution."  But the only thing many of them truly care about defending are these few words:  "[T]he right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed"-words that weren't even in the original constitution, but added later.  Most of them don't give a damn about the rest of the constitution and have probably never read it, so they remain conspicuously silent about, and even support, the erosion or denial of constitutional rights to others whenever it suits their agendas.

Trump's election has clearly shown that far too many Americans embrace freedom with their words and fascism with their deeds.  Freedom, after all, requires thought, tolerance, and responsibility, which are anathema to the millions of Americans who take perverse comfort in sycophantically letting a demagogue like Trump make decisions for them. 

Critics of democracy have frequently pointed out that one of its major flaws is no matter how knowledgeable a voter may be about the issues and/or candidates, his/her vote can be canceled out by one racist, misogynistic, homophobic reprobate.

And when those reprobates are plentiful enough, you get Trump.

After the fall of the Third Reich, the world apprehensively wondered if a Fourth would ever appear.  Well, the wait is over:  It is here.

But who would have ever thought it would be born in the United States?

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Author`s name David R. Hoffman
Editor Dmitry Sudakov