USA versus Trump

I’ve rarely posted about politics on this blog. In an old, rare exception, I defended the modern Italian right from the accusation of being fascist or inclined towards fascism while simultaneously accusing Italian political institutions of lacking proper checks and balances (in part as a heritage from the fascist regime). I left Italy hoping to find a more mature and functioning democracy. It is with great horror that I see Americans repeating old Italian mistakes. The US is sliding towards fascism and I wonder whether its democratic institutions will survive. Sad!

We are living in an extraordinary time and I feel a responsibility to do my part to save my country. (I became a US citizen in 2010.)

As others have noted, popular vote loser Donald Trump fits the classic profile of a psychopath. He cares about nothing but himself, enjoys hurting others, does not respect institutions or the law, is deeply delusional, has no ability to understand complex topics, can hardly control his behavior, and has severe cognitive and emotional deficits. He is also an overt racist, xenophobe, and misogynist. His main advisor, Steve Bannon, is a fascist and a white supremacist who believes we need to experience a third world war so as to create a new world order. The immigration ban Bannon and Trump gave us exemplifies their strategy: using the patently preposterous excuse of national security, the ban appears aimed to cause pain to innocent people, mostly Muslims, in hopes of provoking conflict and terrorist attacks on the US that will allow Trump to claim even more power and lead us towards dictatorship and war. (Obviously they are not making all of this explicit.)

Needless to say, dictatorship and war go hand in hand: the first rule of the tyrant is to redirect his population’s discontent towards foreigners, and then to grab power in order to fight against the foreigners. Trump has already done plenty of that, and it’s just the beginning. More executive orders and accusations against foreigners will come, and probably terrorist attacks, followed by requests to Congress for more power to Trump through legislation. And almost certainly one or more larger scale wars. (We are already involved in several wars, of course.)

The institutions that should check and balance the President are Congress, the Judiciary, and the Media.

Congress is controlled by Republicans. Unfortunately, Republicans are giving no indication that they will stand up to our aspiring dictator. They seem to either be ok with what Trump is doing or think they can manage him so as to get what they want.

Democrats have little power and even less spine, with few exceptions, so there’s little they can or will do to stop this train wreck.

Luckily, the US Courts are relatively independent. Yet Trump will probably succeed in appointing ultra-right-wing and fascist-jokester Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court seat Republicans stole from President Barack Obama. If Trump appoints enough such judges to the Supreme Court, the Supreme Court itself–and the whole Judiciary with it–might well turn into a rubber stamp for his regime.

The US media landscape is in a sorry state. During the campaign, they gave Trump free coverage worth billions of dollars–a major enabling factor in his election. Some of the mainstream media are speaking truth to power and calling a lie a lie, at least for the time being, but they face decreasing revenue and are subject to retaliation from Trump and his minions. Meanwhile, the huge right wing propaganda machine Republicans have built over the decades is in full gear promoting “fake news” and “alternative facts,” and attempting to normalize what should never be acceptable.

This is the time that will test our character as a nation. Are we going to let our institutions devolve into a murderous fascist regime or are we going to preserve our democracy and its values of openness and decency? In a few years we are going to look back and we’ll see which path we took.

Given this tragic situation, any American who cares about our country must resist and fight back–regardless of their political preferences and affiliation. This is not about being Democrat, Republican, or Independent. It’s about being American versus enabling Trump’s fascist regime. There is much that we can do:

  1. Support Impeach Trump Now.
  2. Pressure members of congress into standing up to Trump. Go to their town hall meetings, write, email, sign petitions, protest, march.
  3. Support politicians that will stand up to Trump and his enablers. Run for office if you can.
  4. Support independent, genuine journalism by paying for at least one subscription and letting the media know we want them to stand for facts and against “fake news” and “alternative facts”.
  5. Pressure companies into standing up to Trump and not advertising in right wing propaganda media.
  6. Boycott companies that support Trump.
  7. Communicate that you are resisting Trump and you stand up for what’s right.

This is what I can think of. Please add other practical suggestions in the comments.

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4 Comments

  1. Chris Marshall

    I work in politics professionally and pursue philosophy as sort of an avocation. I recently became aware of the the work of Piccinini and I came here to check him out. I can’t say how much it means to me that he has chosen to speak out on politics as eloquently as he does here. I will certainly read more!

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  2. Jeff White

    First off, you cite notoriously biased sources from the shallow end of the political information pool. Second, there is no basis for charges of psychopathy. What is missing of course is a history of instrumental aggression, a fascination with predators, and an incapacity to feel empathy. There is no evidence of any of this in Trump, and in fact there is a great deal of evidence to the contrary on each count. In Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, there is a much better case to be made. Narcissism is not limited to Trump, either, and given a position like his before the presidency, a bit of narcissism is likely demanded. Perhaps, what appears to you to be narcissism is for a greater man simple realism about himself relative others. Steve Bannon is a fascist? Fascism is the collusion of government with corporate interests in the formation of public policy and law. No presidency – by this standard – has been more “fascist” than the past one. Financial fascism is fascism, too of course, and the past eight years left us with a TPP still in the works and fully endorsed by the past president. Trump seems to have stopped it, but the push is re-emerging with a new name. This is blatant fascism on a global scale, and if anything Trump is anti-fascist in stopping the TPP from moving forward. Also, the past eight years gave us an insurance/big pharma industry bailout in the form of Obamacare, and a financial sector bailout and ongoing subsidy in the form of the TARP, as well as the bail-out and subsidy of everything from Monsanto to GM even as these corporations move industry overseas and lobby to keep the citizens of the USA from knowing what goes in their food. Trump is showing much less a tendency toward fascism as originally conceived given his movements with big US corporations, and especially given his attitude towards some of the biggest conglomerates and their mouthpieces, many of which you cite in you rather shallow analysis above. Really, disappointing.

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  3. vicp

    I hate to disagree and sound like a Trump sympathizer but the illegal immigration problem for one; amounts to an underground shadows workforce that has been exploited for decades by wealthy people who support both political parties which is why so little enforcement has been done. The Muslim actions are disturbing and bigoted but likewise they send a message to law biding American Muslims that it is ok to know your government will support you if you “snitch” on extremists in your community. Likewise many law biding Hispanic people are the ones victimized by illegals. The heroin problem is also legitimate, and though any mention of police support for Trump surfaces the memes of “police state”, truth is it is a problem in many communities which the left ignored that fueled the Trump movement. In the end the pressure from the press and ensuing paranoia will do him in, but the press, or more specifically their corporate bosses, which effutes the altruistic behavior is just as guilty of the power hungry and delusional characteristics you assign to Trump.

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    • Jeff

      The first to seek power are often the last to deserve it. We are living in the consequences of many generations in which this has been the case, and through which those in power have helped to open the paths to power to similarly minded people. There are possible solutions, but none seem just unless the people enabled to think for themselves. The media disinformation, the cover-ups and “anonymous” sources, the demonization of Snowden and for that matter Putin and Assad, this is is all cover for movements on through other arms of the conglomerates which control these entities. We are seeing a global terraforming, with populations first brutalized through war and terrorism, occupation and invasion, then as the brutalized men and women and their traumatized children run to other nations they are accompanied by many of the brutal men, themselves, and all are demonized for the problems that they bring with them. The entire State apparatus needs to be remade, and this is possible. My first day at MU, I told the new grad student advisor that I wanted to develop philosophical and psychological models into physical models of the coordination of institutions and organizations resolved at the level of the individual constituent. Basically, we are talking about open source graphical representations of local and global economies and the power to assess consequences of different policy and resource allocations before enacting them, and to revise these in real time and towards very distant ends. A tool for direct and open democracy. We are getting there. Still, at root any tool is useless if people are unable through poor education and lack of opportunity (and mental and physical health, …) and through oppression and entrenched and resistance to employ it. Certainly, the misdirection that is the mainstream media in the USA (and around the world, more or less, is my suspicion) aims to nullify any power for the people of the USA to change the direction that entrenched interests (the intelligence community is critical here) have chosen for them, through Trump (if indeed he is a force for “change” unlike his predecessor unless we are talking access to restrooms in government buildings).

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