Letter: Trump is an American fascist
Over the last week and a half, the discussion of the American election has loomed over everyone. The conversation has transcended all barriers—be they personal, ideological, racial, sexual, or even linguistic. Everyone is asking the same question: How could this have happened?
My own American passport has begun to feel much heavier. At first, I got the expected condescension and rolling eyes from Canadians in the wake of yet another American snafu. Then something changed, and those rolling eyes began looking into mine with pity. The realization began to dawn that Trump really isn’t like anything that’s come before—he doesn’t have the manners of Romney, honour of McCain, or even the earnestness of Bush. He is a uniquely American breed of fascist.
Ordinarily, to call a person fascist is less an observation of belief or character than a roundabout way of saying “I disagree with you.” Call a man a fascist, and it could mean anything from Nazism to communism to libertarianism. The dictionary refers to fascism as a system of centralized power built upon violent suppression of opposition, aggressive nationalism, xenophobia, and a preference of militaristic capitalism. Trump checks every box on fascist bingo and doesn’t even need to use the “free” square.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Central Intelligence Agency and others have been unsure about cozying up to the new president, who not only has expressed support for mass surveillance, but would be more than willing to use it for both political and personal reasons. The man has openly boasted about using the powers of the FBI against political rivals. All the gestapo-ish mechanisms that have been assembled quietly since 2001 under both presidents are to finally be let off the leash.
We cannot count on the remaining systems of checks and balances. The Republican-controlled congress will kowtow to anyone wrapped in Republican red, a rubber-stamp congress that will forsake conscience and decency for the sake of the party. If Trump appoints a like-minded judge to the Supreme Court (taking control of the third and final branch of government), this could limit women’s access to abortion, along with other problematic interpretations. The man has no interest in playing president—what he wants is the power of emperor, and with the tools so idly given to him, he may so act without impunity.
In America, Trump is already being rationalized, and reconciliation is being offered like two passionate sports teams making up after a game. Politics is not a sport for one to indulge in and then abandon until next season, it is the election of those that control the law and the economy. Trump’s core appeal was to the voters who were dissatisfied and disenfranchised with the establishment. Apathy and amnesia are the refuge of the cowards who cannot accept responsibility for what they or their friends have done.
To compromise is to dignify Trump as “the new president,” both within and without America. Within hours of the election results, Trudeau’s congratulatory and conciliatory attitude seemed eerily similar to Neville Chamberlain, and I do not want to remind the reader how that British Prime Minister finished his career. Collaboration with those who act against social democracy and humanism are traitors to those ideals, and have no place in honest society.
In 1787, Benjamin Franklin told an observer that what he and the delegates at the constitutional convention had created was “a republic, if you can keep it.” His thesis was that every experiment in democracy throughout history has failed for the same reason: the corruption of the people. Someone much later said that “no one ever lost money betting against the intelligence of the American public,” and in the new age of reactionary populism it’s truer than ever.
The very character that makes Americans so vibrant, a distrust of authority, has cannibalized our politics into a playground for authoritarianism. To accept Trump is to embrace savagery and barbarism, and to normalize him is to surrender.