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:
- Support Impeach Trump Now.
- Pressure members of congress into standing up to Trump. Go to their town hall meetings, write, email, sign petitions, protest, march.
- Support politicians that will stand up to Trump and his enablers. Run for office if you can.
- 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”.
- Pressure companies into standing up to Trump and not advertising in right wing propaganda media.
- Boycott companies that support Trump.
- 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.