For a long time, I was hesitant to use Hitler comparisons when debating about Trump. In short, because it has become such a cliché and it serves to negate one’s argument (Godwin’s Law.) But also because no matter how horrible or despicable Trump is, until he has taken actions such as Hitler, the comparison becomes flawed. Someone like Hitler evokes such an emotional and visceral response due to the atrocious events of the Holocaust, that comparing someone in our current society to him still sounds like a stretch.
BUT, with that said, I have no doubt that Donald Trump is a fascist, and would become Hitler-esque if he could. The following short video provides a summary of all of the ways Trump embodies fascism and how the current political climate is conducive to it. While it was made before Trump won election, the ideas still apply:
The thing that scares me these days is the realization that someone like Hitler could happen again, as much as we would like to think it won’t. In fact, thinking that it can’t happen is a big part of why it could. The battle against the growth of fascism in our country becomes spread across several fronts, and it can be exhausting. There is the need to pressure representatives in Washington to oppose and fight Trump’s policies. There are protests that must happen, as well as boycotts and other forms of civil disobedience on the part of citizens. Remaining vocal in opposing Trump and everything he is bringing to America is of utmost importance and is one of the easiest things we can do – do NOT stop expressing outrage and disgust at what Trump is doing and what his supporters represent – even if it means losing friends or family connections. We simply can’t afford to remain silent right now.
The more abstract and difficult layer to fighting the rise of fascism here in the United States involves the current state of news and information, as well as the level of ignorance of so many citizens. Trump has his followers believing that anything that comes out of “mainstream media” is a lie or “fake news.” Which opens the door to basically limitless manipulation potential for Trump and his administration. They are able to put out bald-faced lies, and if they do it often enough, it actually becomes truth for Trump supporters. Conversely, those same people can easily be convinced that information to the contrary of what Trump’s administration says is untrue and invalid. We have seen this happen already. A recent poll suggested that over 40% of Trump supporters believe his baseless claim that there were 3 million illegal votes cast (in an election that he won.) That is simply a lie that Trump made up, and since he has such sway over his supporters, they believe it without any evidence or supporting information. Scary stuff.
I think the situation is basically hopeless for most of Trump’s ardent followers, in terms of trying to convince them of the many ways Trump’s actions and policies are problematic. When you have people supporting an administration that says facts are debatable and that they are simply presenting “alternative facts,” those people are obviously too far gone to bother reasoning or debating with. The key, then, simply becomes having more people who are opposed to Trump show up at the polls on election day than Trump supporters, as well as ensuring that the younger generation has the tools and information necessary to see the myriad ways Trump is unacceptable as POTUS. We must not let the lies and misinformation become the accepted norm. Whenever Trump lies, we need to call him on it and not let words become redefined or euphemisms (such as “alternative facts”) become commonplace. State and local level elections become crucial. Gerrymandering and voter suppression are two enemies of democracy that must be fought vigorously. Our elected representatives in Congress need to know that we are watching them, and that we expect them to vigorously oppose Trump’s agenda. If they don’t, we need to throw our support towards someone to replace them. We need to stay engaged as progressives, united against the common enemy of Trump and the GOP. We absolutely cannot afford to become cynical or apathetic, lest we allow this great nation to be completely taken over by fascist anti-patriots.
We just need to stay engaged, alert and active. There are times when it might seem insurmountable or hopeless, but we can’t allow despair to fill our hearts and minds. We need to remember that Trump does NOT have a mandate, and that a majority of Americans agree with liberal positions on most, if not all, major issues. There are more of us than them. He is a minority-elected president that was able to get through due to questionable circumstances and the antiquated electoral college system. Let’s never stop treating him as such.
Trump photo: Gage Skidmore [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Like many others, I had reservations about using this image for a meme, as I don’t want to disrespect this boy’s death.
But then I thought, it is even more disrespectful for people to ignore and shut out this child’s death and the many others like him. People need to see what is going on to give context to Trump’s shameful policy of blocking refugees from certain countries and giving Christians “priority.”
I think it’s a shame that our country would turn away refugees, when it is known that doing so can very well be a death sentence. It reflects a fundamental selfishness, as well as a deadly cowardice. We are supposed to be the “home of the brave.” Not so much, anymore, I guess.
I don’t understand how people can be proud of any of this.
I think it’s safe to say that this country is divided right now. The campaign and election of Donald Trump, AKA President Pussy Grabber, to the highest office in the nation, has brought about a ton of lost Facebook “friends” for a lot of people, increased family infighting, and a daily onslaught of bitter back and forth and arguments on the internet between decent Americans and the Trump supporters who have poisoned the well of this great land. For a person like myself, who already has an inclination to engage in political discussions online, it’s not as noticeable of a shift. But for the average person, I think there has been a yuge increase in this type of adversity and discord.
This has all brought up the old debate about whether politics should get in the way of friendships, and whether people can retain their relationships even if they strongly disagree in that arena. I have seen memes floating around which self-declare that (the meme creator) is capable of disagreeing with others, without losing or sacrificing their friendship. While I think it is generally true that people should be able to “agree to disagree,” I think that what we have seen with the Trump campaign, and now presidency, has far transcended the boundaries of “normal” political discourse and engagement.
I probably don’t need to go through the laundry list of reasons why POTUS Pee-Pee is categorically unfit for the presidency at this point. We have all seen and heard what Trump and his cult of followers have brought to the table. He has cultivated and encouraged outright bigotry and racism, toxic xenophobia, degradation of women and the disabled, and advocated violence against those who oppose him. He invited a foreign government to interfere with our presidential election, and suggested that perhaps “2nd Amendment people” could do something about his presidential opponent. He is probably the most polarizing political figure in modern U.S. history. With Trump, things go beyond mundane disagreements such as how much of a social safety net we should have, or how much foreign aid we should give to any given ally. Instead, things have become about having or not having fundamental decency as human beings.
On top of all of this, Trump’s administration has been shameless in their “gaslighting” and blatant lies to the American public. Things that are obvious and documented, such as the relatively unimpressive attendance at Trump’s inauguration, are being called into question by Kellyanne Conway and crew as “alternative facts” as they attempt to promote an alternate reality for their delusional horde to believe in. It was the same when Trump mocked a disabled reporter. He later denied it, even though it’s on tape, and there are actually people who insist that the controversy was all a result of “biased media.” Not to mention all of the times Trump has been recorded saying something, only to later flat-out deny saying it. Or the recent revelation that Trump has no intention of releasing his taxes, even though he had promised that he would – and, to add insult to injury – Trump incorrectly speaks for the American public and says that they are not interested in them. The sad thing is, Trump’s remaining defenders are perfectly okay with being deceived this openly. They apparently don’t mind being psychologically manipulated by Trump and his administration.
When it comes to expressing opinions online, I actually think it is everybody’s civic duty to be vocal in opposing things like blatant and dehumanizing bigotry, hate and degradation. So much so, that people end up losing friends, if need be. Because remaining silent only serves to enable those that seek to strip away our rights, freedoms and dignity. Resistance starts with vocalizing opposition. Things like racism should be something that we frown upon, and there should be a consequence felt by those who choose to fill their hearts with hate. The way I see it, the kinds of people that would have an issue with me voicing opposition to those things, I honestly don’t want or need in my life. I have “lost” a few “friends” on Facebook since the campaign season started, which had happened only once before (that I had noticed.) But I don’t really feel any “loss” – rather, I feel like I am being the person I was meant to be, without resistance or static from individuals that have revealed themselves to be morally and ethically contemptible. I have also chosen to unfollow a few people because I was just tired of seeing their asinine pro-Trump bullshit. I simply don’t need that kind of ugliness or negativity in my life, and I think the world throws enough of that at me as it is.
I always come back to this picture that I saw a while back, during the campaign. It sums up why I don’t have any respect for the most ardent Trump supporters, which by now is pretty much anyone still standing by him.
These “forgotten people” (as they have come to be known) don’t give a rat’s ass about anybody but themselves. Why should anyone give them any respect? They spend all their time pledging allegiance to politicians and individuals that feel completely comfortable and content attacking and denigrating anyone that isn’t white, male and straight (or females that are inexplicably bound to them.) Sure, there are some minorities who for some silly reason support Trump, but they all subscribe to the white male patriarchal ideal of American culture. They bring no actual argument or thought process to the table – it’s “woe is me, immigrants take our jobs, blah blah blah, cry cry cry.” And it inevitably becomes deflected into “Obama this, Hillary that…” It’s pathetic. I have had countless arguments with Trump supporters online, and I have concluded that, at this point, they are unreachable. There is no point. I mean, when you have people who proclaim that they are proud to be “deplorable,” how are you supposed to reason with them? The level of discourse from almost all Trump supporters I now encounter daily amounts to little more than trolling. It’s “neener neener neener, we won, you lost, get over it.” No substance, no philosophical basis (other than “hey, we’re assholes”) and lately, not even acknowledgement of basic facts that can be seen and heard by our own eyes and ears (think “alternative facts.”)
I hope people on the right realize that this is far from over. They can expect what they have seen recently, with the historic women’s marches around the world, and then some, to continue as long as a despicable man-baby who was put into office through a questionable election is in power.
Like millions of Americans who have been crestfallen by President-Elect Pussy-Grabber’s election win last month, I have done a lot of reflecting about what the hell exactly happened over the past 20 or so months that led to the travesty of the United States electing the worst presidential candidate in modern history, and probably ever, to the highest office in the land.
As with most other things, I don’t think the answer is any one thing. But for me, it boils down to an American society filled with misinformed and willfully ignorant people, that were okay with racism, xenophobia, misogyny and a general lack of decency, as long as it offered catharsis for their anger over losing ground in the American culture wars during the last few decades and returning to an era of heterosexual white male patriarchal dominance, especially in a symbolic sense. This is why Trump is seemingly invulnerable to the normal trappings which would have doomed any other presidential candidate. Trump’s supporters didn’t care so much about what Trump did, but more what he stood for in their eyes. And this is why I think that, even as Trump breaks more and more campaign promises, he will still have his cult of followers standing by him.
On social media I have seen a lot of angry Hillary supporters pointing the finger for her loss since November 8th. One of the targets has been the mainstream broadcast media, which has been faulted for normalizing Trump’s bigotry and glossing over the many glaring and legitimate reasons he should not be president. While I ultimately fault voters for their bad decisions, I do think there is validity to the frustration that many people felt with the reporting done by news outlets like CNN and the other major networks. Like many other people, I think members of the media simply didn’t take Trump seriously as a candidate, and this was reflected in their coverage. They got caught up in the clown show, which was good for ratings, and forgot to treat Trump as a legitimate, fascistic threat to our society and democracy.
Another target of liberal ire has been Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. There are many Democrats who think that the issues Bernie raised while he campaigned against Hillary, such as her ties to Wall Street, did lasting damage to how voters perceived her, even though he ultimately did support Clinton. I think this is really unfair, and fails to see the reality that many voters already believed the negative perceptions that they had about Hillary, due to years of attacks put out by the likes of right-wing propaganda pushers such as Fox News, and would have thought the same way even if Bernie had never campaigned against her. This is compounded, no doubt, by deep-rooted sexist double standards about how American society views and receives women in high-power positions of authority. And it didn’t help that broadcast media offered such a disproportionate amount of coverage about Hillary’s “damn emails.”
It is important to note that, even though I fervently supported Hillary Clinton against Donald Trump, she was far from my ideal candidate, and wasn’t my first choice. I wanted Bernie to get the nomination. Alas, that didn’t happen, I accepted it, and when it came down to Hillary against Mr. Sexual-Assault-Is-Okay-If-You’re-A-Celebrity, the choice was clear as day for me. I don’t like to play hindsight guessing games or dwell on “coulda, woulda, shoulda” scenarios, but I do think Bernie would have fared better against Trump, and sometimes I even wish Senator Elizabeth Warren had been in the race.
One soundbite from Warren comes to mind as a symbol of why Hillary was flawed as a candidate, or at least how she might have fared better against political “outsider” Trump. When the Wells Fargo fake-accounts scandal broke earlier this year, Elizabeth Warren laid into their CEO and others of high rank there, highlighting the hypocrisy of low-level employees losing their jobs because of the scandal, while high-ranking executives got off with few consequences. As she tore into Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf, she displayed a fire and fighting spirit on behalf of working and middle-class Americans that I think was sorely lacking with Hillary Clinton in the minds of voters. Compare that clip of Warren to Hillary proclaiming during one of the debates that she would have the big banks “cut it out” when it came to behavior and policies that led to the economic crisis of 2008. There’s just no comparison. Senator Warren and Sanders both frequently demonstrate that they have the gusto and “oomph” that I think many voters are looking for as they deal with the (justified) perception that the economic system is rigged in the favor of big banks and corporations. This is something that I think would have really helped Hillary, but too often, she came off as somewhat robotic and as if she was offering up canned responses that she or her handlers thought voters wanted to hear, rather than passion coming from the heart.
I think Democrats need to stop finger-pointing and focusing on who or what to blame for Hillary’s loss, and instead should start placing their energies into how to morph and solidify the Democratic party into what it should have been all along, but which I think has been lost in recent years – a progressive party that will fight for American workers and stop being so influenced by big corporate money and donors. Now that the disaster of a Trump presidency is upon us, progressive Americans need the Democratic party more than ever to step up and fight the inevitable Trump/GOP agenda of privatization and their overall threat to programs which help average Americans, women, people of color, the disabled and others who need someone in their corner in the fight against the corporate control and oligarchy that has come to threaten and degrade many Americans’ faith in the “American Dream.”
Now is your chance, Democrats.
Hillary Clinton photo credit: By lorie shaull (source) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Jon Stewart recently did an interview on “CBS This Morning” and was asked about his thoughts concerning the recent election of Donald Trump to the presidency. I am seeing a lot of this conversation being shared online, with a highlight on Stewart’s claims of “liberal hypocrisy” regarding viewing all Trump voters as a monolith of racists. He makes the point that a lot of people he knows that aren’t afraid of blacks, Muslims, Mexicans, etc. voted for Trump because of reasons other than his racist rhetoric, and the message is being taken that we shouldn’t call all Trump voters racist. The interview can be found here.
Well, nope! Jon Stewart is wrong on this point. I know some people want everyone to get along, and unify and settle our differences, but in my opinion he is letting Trump voters off the hook too easily. Racism is not something that exists in absolute forms – that is, it’s not a simple black and white, yes or no question. There are varying degrees of racism that people can have and display. And racism is not just defined by one’s behavior, but by the behavior they tolerate. And at the end of the day, Trump voters saw a man who disparaged Muslims, Mexicans, the disabled and women, and ran a campaign promising to register people based on their religion, or outright banning their immigration to the country. And those Trump voters said, by voting for that man – “hey, that’s okay with me.” And that is despicable, and we shouldn’t forget it.
It’s like when we had slavery. Not everyone was personally a slave owner, but the people who supported those in power who did own slaves were in their own way supporting that practice. So, by voting for Trump, people validated and supported all of his divisive rhetoric and the campaign promises he made (whether he actually fulfills all of them or not.)
I understand that people have an instinctual desire to get along with other people, and it’s easier to brush differences under the rug than to expose them and talk about them honestly. But the election of Trump is and should be viewed as an outrage. Those who voted for him displayed absolutely no respect or empathy for any of the groups he routinely disparaged. So, we’re divided. And I don’t know if it’s even possible that we can “heal” that division. But that’s reality, and we shouldn’t hide from it. Hiding from and denying reality are part of the reasons that led to a president-elect Trump in the first place.
Photo credit: Defense Dept. photo by Air Force Tech. Sgt. Adam M. Stump [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
I felt it the other day. I think it was the day after Trump’s election to the presidency, which sent shock waves throughout America and the rest of the world. But I felt it. It was something that I have to try hard not to let grow into fruition. It was the beginnings of hate.
Often I have taken a look at the world, filled with war and conflict, and asked myself the question in the abstract – how and why can humans be so cruel to each other? How do people get to the point where they are willing to commit murder against other people on a mass scale, as in war?
It begins with dehumanization. It starts with not seeing other people as human beings, and rather, something lesser than what you are and therefore, not deserving of the full respect that you might offer someone else. And I feel that, on both sides, Trump’s ascendance to the presidency of the United States has opened the floodgates and legitimized hate and dehumanization.
Whatever Trump ends up trying to do policy-wise, it can’t be argued that he ran a campaign that fed upon, stoked anger against, and debased “the others,” whether it be immigrants (Mexican or Muslim,) disabled people, women or gays. We saw a rise in hate crimes during Trump’s campaign, and since election night, an even more noticeable spike. This is because people have become emboldened by his legitimization of dehumanization and bullying. If he can be president, with all of his shameful behavior and rhetoric, people start to feel less inhibited and more validated in their own misguided anger and bullying instincts.
Even before Trump won, as I followed his campaign and through all of his despicable behavior and words, I asked myself – do I hate this man? And the answer was – absolutely. I despise Trump. It’s not a pleasant feeling, and it’s not a place I like to stay in, but it’s the truth. It’s possible that this could change, but highly unlikely. To my knowledge, Trump has only once ever uttered a half-assed “apology” for any of his disgusting antics. I might be more open to forgiving the things I can’t stand about Trump in time, but it would have to start with him publicly acknowledging the damage of his words and actions, and atoning for them.
Trump’s election repulsed me, and instantly made me realize just how many of my “fellow” country men and women are okay with all of the dehumanizing behavior that Trump stands for. Someone on Twitter put it best, as I paraphrase – “Trump’s supporters might not all be racist, but they decided that racism was not a deal-breaker.” Right away, a division started happening in my mind – Trump voters vs. non-Trump voters. And then I realized, that’s how it begins. It begins with looking at another person and seeing some aspect that makes them lesser in your mind. A thought that came to my mind was how, during war, people look at others and see “the enemy” and something to be reviled and destroyed. And that’s what was happening to me. It’s something I struggle with. Because I am extremely angry. I do think that there are some people who live in this country that are more morally and conscientiously evolved than others. And I often wish our lives didn’t have to be impacted by those that want to go backwards through decades of societal progress.
Trump’s victory reinforced the knowledge that we are seemingly irreparably divided. There have been many times in the past when I have thought that life might be better if the United States broke apart somehow. Meaning, in my case, maybe California or the West Coast could secede from the Union and become a nation in its own right. This all sounds crazy for many, but right now it is an idea that suddenly sounds desirable for a lot of people. That’s how divisive this election has become. Maybe this will fade in time, or maybe it will grow into an actual movement. We shall see. But, whatever happens, from here on out, it is clear that I will have to struggle to contain and channel my anger and loathing into something constructive. It will be a tough road, but I don’t want to become that which I despise about Trump.
Photo credit: Pixabay/PeteLinforth
The New York Times recently revealed that, due to claiming a nearly billion dollar loss in a single year in the mid 90’s, Donald Trump could theoretically have paid no taxes for the following 18 years. Since he claims to know the tax code better than anyone, and since he refuses to disclose his tax returns, it becomes very easy to believe that this is, in fact, the case. In addition, there was at least one year in the past in which it was revealed that he didn’t pay a cent.
This information exposes the Trump phenomenon as a movement of bigoted anger with little in terms of justifiable substance when it comes to the basis for that anger. Trump supporters have been said to be angry about feeling shafted economically for years and believing that the system is rigged against them. Their chosen savior? The person they think can and will fix their problems? A billionaire who very well could have lived for nearly twenty years in opulence and luxury without paying anything in taxes. Donald Trump is the EMBODIMENT of the rigged economy that these people are said to be so angry about.
Who do these people think have been picking up the slack? Do they not realize that THEY have? Do they really still think it’s just great that someone like Trump can live high on the hog for years while they struggle paycheck to paycheck to make ends meet?
The Trump phenomenon, then, isn’t really about economic anger. It’s about anger, definitely…But it’s part of a culture war, being waged against gains in recent decades made by minorities, women and gay people. These people want to go back to an America where English is the only language option at ATM’s, and where black and brown people and women know and remember their place in society. They want a “strong man” to take their anger out on those fucking terrorist Muslims and border-hopping Mexicans. They don’t want an actual answer to their problems, unless it involves fucking over the “others” in some way.
In short, Trump’s popularity and the closeness of the race to this point is really because of an electoral temper-tantrum. His supporters don’t want an America of fairness and equality. They just want America to be THEIRS again.
A big emphasis that came through loud and clear from the Democratic National Convention was a consistent critique of Donald Trump’s scare-mongering and bleak vision of current-day America.
While repudiating Trump’s attempts to frighten people into voting for him as the one person who can fix America is important, Hillary Clinton needs to be careful not to make him out to be a near-mythical boogeyman who exists in a vacuum. While Trump is, in fact, trying to utilize the fear and anxiety of Americans, he isn’t the sole source of it. The apprehensions that he is exploiting are very real and have real-world catalysts.
While Bernie Sanders was running, some people noted how there was a parallel between his campaign and Trump’s – they were both positioned as the “outsider” whose followers were angry and disillusioned with the “politics as usual” that they have been forced to expect from America’s political machine, as well as feeling shafted by the 1%. There was some validity to the comparison, although Sanders and Trump couldn’t possibly be more different on myriad issues. Not to mention the key difference that Bernie Sanders is not a complete and utter asshole. But, I digress…
But the point is that many of the people Trump is appealing to are people that have faced the decimation of the middle class, while corporate America thrives, and who are justifiably worried about their job outlook and prospects. They see politicians as being bought-and-sold, without their interests in mind, while in contrast, Trump appears as though he can’t be bought. They see a GOP establishment that for years has asked them to settle for what they perceive as Republican-In-Name-Only (RINO) candidates like McCain and Romney, who lost, and a party elite that has failed to deliver on both social issues, as they see minorities gaining ground on things like gay marriage, as well as the economy as their incomes have stagnated. They are also scared by the frequent news feed of terror attacks around the globe. That fear is real and tangible. Sure, Trump may exacerbate it, but it was there before him and needs to be addressed.
There are many Trump supporters who will never, ever vote for Clinton for whatever reason. There are a ton of die-hard racists, misogynists and Islamophobes whose minds have been subverted by Fox News and the right-wing media machine for years. Those people are a lost cause. What I’m referring to are the people who are open to voting for Clinton, but who (in some ways justifiably) see her as a status-quo, “business as usual” candidate. If Bernie’s popularity showed us anything, it’s that millions of Americans are truly fed up with what has been coming out of Washington for decades. They just aren’t buying it anymore. Clinton needs to work on somehow convincing those voters that she hears their anxieties, that she sees their anger, and that she feels their apprehension about the issues that affect their daily lives. She needs to remember that Trump is merely a symptom of a larger problem, and she should work to try to validate the emotions of the voting populace rather than give off the impression that once Trump is out of the picture, everything will be rosy and hopeful. Because it won’t.
Hillary Clinton photo credit: By lorie shaull (source) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons