Admittedly, I have probably watched way too many movies over the course of my life, especially my earlier years. Many of them, over and over to the point where I had scenes, shots and lines memorized verbatim.
Whenever I have a moment of realization, the scene in Pulp Fiction where Bruce Willis’ character (Butch Coolidge) meets John Travolta (as Vincent Vega) in a bar always comes to mind. His expression is perfect, and it’s a great panning shot that really emphasizes a sense of realization for the character.
So I always think of this shot when it occurs to me how deeply complicit the Republican party is with Trump, his fascism, and the many possible connections he has with Russia, and all that they may entail. Whether or not Trump bears any consequences for colluding with Russia depends more on how many people help him, how many do nothing, and how many let him slide, than on whether he actually is guilty of something or not, in my opinion. There is way too much smoke there, for the situation to be free of wrongdoing.
The most recent example that points to a GOP cover up is the vote on Tuesday of the House Judiciary Committee to keep information on Trump’s possible ties to Russia, as well as potential ethics violations, a secret. Every chance they get, Republicans continue to place party before country, even when the implications of the Trump presidency involving Russia are massive.
I was watching this classic bit from the late, great George Carlin the other day and it dawned on me that he’s basically describing the modern-day Republican party.
I have long maintained that if you’re not a very wealthy person and still vote GOP, you are a fool. But the party and its supporters, under the Trump administration, are also taking blatant hypocrisy to a whole new level. For example, whining about “unprecedented obstruction” after they did the same thing for 8 years under Obama. They break the full-of-shit meter constantly.
Add to that the religious fanatics and supposed “Christians” who are just fine and dandy with a man like Trump in the White House, and you have the modern-day GOP.
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
For the first time in American presidential campaign history, Republican candidates Donald Trump and Ted Cruz participated in a televised “Yo Mama” contest, which was broadcast live on CNN and Fox News Channel Saturday, March 26.
Tensions on the campaign trail have become intense between the two GOP front-runners in recent weeks, and the two have been engaged in a war of words on social media in recent days. A SuperPAC supporting Cruz posted a nude picture of Trump’s wife, Melania Trump, earlier in the week, but Cruz denied any involvement. Still, it drew the ire of Trump, who later Tweeted a picture disparaging Cruz’s wife Heidi’s looks. On Friday, the National Enquirer ran a story accusing Cruz of numerous extramarital affairs, which Cruz has categorically denied and attributed as being generated by Trump’s campaign.
This set a heated tone for the evening’s contest, which began with a coin toss to determine which candidate would start the exchange. While there were no moderators, Trump won the toss, and came out firing with an attack on Cruz’s mother’s eyes.
“Yo mama’s so cross-eyed, she thought her only child was a twin”
Trump’s words emitted “oohs” and laughter from the raucous crowd, which had enjoyed cocktails prior to the start of the contest. Cruz came back firing with an observation about Trump’s mother’s posture.
“Yo mama’s so hunchbacked, she hits her head on speed bumps” said Cruz.
Trump looked unfazed by the remark, and the exchange continued to the delight of the audience.
After the contest concluded, most pundits expressed an opinion that Trump had come out on top. This was highlighted by the final barb from Trump at the end of the nearly 30 minute exchange, which resulted in chants of “Trump! Trump! Trump!” from the crowd and a standing ovation, with several members of the audience performing hand gestures which had to be cut-away from during the live broadcast:
“Yo mama such a slut, that Foursquare has made her vagina a place to ‘check in'”
At the end of the debate, Trump and Cruz refused to shake hands, and Cruz appeared to utter expletives as he marched off stage. A camera crew caught up with him minutes later, and asked him if he would entertain the idea of a pay-per-view penis-measurement competition. While at first laughing it off, Cruz stated “well, our campaign managers have expressed an interest in a pissing contest, which I would prefer…But if that can’t happen, maybe we can talk.”
Donald Trump photo attribution: By Michael Vadon [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Ted Cruz photo attribution: Gage Skidmore [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
While this may be true, unfortunately the GOP is still strong enough to do a hell of a lot of damage and obstruct progress. In order to increase their chances of being elected, they will resort to restricting voting rights and their tradition of pitting the middle-class against immigrants and minorities.
The Republican Party must re-invent itself if they ever want to have someone in the White House, though. Their base is dwindling slowly and their mindset is becoming outdated by the day.