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Wednesday, November 23, 2016

FOURTEEN REASONS to be ANTI-TRUMP - Part 2

Having come back around to our present-day dilemma, let us explore the remaining  reasons we should be frightened, scared, concerned and more actively vigilant about our situation following the election of 2016.  It can be summed up in one phrase: we are on the verge of forfeiting our democratic ideals and values. To be clear on what that means, here is the rest of a list of 14 characteristics that describe a fascist regime.  Let me say once again, as I have said in other posts on this Blog:  I am not accusing anyone in the Trump circle, including The Donald himself, of being a Fascist or a Nazi.  I am simply saying that certain characteristics of such a regime are present in the words and certain actions of some members of the Trump campaign, and of appointees to certain posts in his administration.  This list is not original with me. 
Professor Lawrence Britt has examined the fascist regimes of Hitler (Germany), Mussolini (Italy), Franco (Spain), Suharto (Indonesia) and several Latin American regimes. Britt found 14 defining characteristics common to each:

5. Rampant Sexism – “The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Divorce, abortion and homosexuality are suppressed and the state is represented as the ultimate guardian of the family institution.” 

Yes, and although a small percentage of women are in Congress, the appointments so far to the Trump cabinet have been exclusively male.  One thing is certain – no woman appointed to his staff will play a central role; she will mainly be involved in communication, education or human services.  OR - sent to the United Nations as ambassador.  What a smart move - Nikki Haley gets an ambassadorship, but to the entity that is held in low esteem by the Right-wing.  Exile, anyone?
 6. Controlled Mass Media – “Sometimes media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in war time, is very common.”
Censorship, or the path to it, has been evident all along in the Trump campaign.  The Press are constantly vilified at rallies and in the social media where the Donald practices his tweeting skills.  Make no mistake about it.  Donald Trump as President will continue to eschew press conferences unless he can manipulate them for his own purposes, continue to vilify media representatives, and probably establish some media base under his (or his children’s names) that will serve his anti-media agenda.
 The Huffington Post adds: ‘Trump pledged that, if elected president, he would ‘open up our libel laws so when [newspapers] write purposely negative stories … we can sue them and make lots of money.’ In other words, don’t criticize him. Ever. He also vowed that newspapers will ‘have problems.’ That’s a direct threat to a free press.”  As if to confirm such prognostication, President-elect Trump called in to his Tower certain lead news anchors and media owners to ‘discuss’ his grievances with the press and he plans more such ‘talks’ with the New York Times and others.
At this point, in the interest of some attempt at brevity, the rest of these characteristics stand on their own, with some very brief comments. 
7. Obsession with National Security – “Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses.”  Just a few words need be used to define our obsession in modern terms: Viet Nam, Iraq, Afghanistan, ‘Weapons of Mass destruction’, ‘Homeland Security,’ ‘Islamic terrorism,’ ‘the Patriot Act;’  Al-Qaeda, Taliban, ISIS, Iran’s nuclear weapon capability, and Syria. Israel is constantly touted as our closest ally and partner in the Middle East, and the Donald “trumpets” his close relationship with BiBi Netanyahu.
8. Religion and Government are Intertwined – “Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed to the government's policies or actions.”   Evangelical Christianity seems to fit the bill here, and Trump has taken every advantage offered to maintain their support.  He will move toward less separation of church and state.
9. Corporate Power is Protected – “The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite.”   Every administration does this to some extent, but Trump will make this his own special venture so that his company can be protected and enriched.  That scenario has already begun even before he is sworn in.  Rumor has it, Trump talked with Argentina’s head of state (during a phone call he was making as President-elect) about speeding up approvals so his company can continue construction of a hotel in that country.  His first budget submission will tell the story as corporate taxes are substantially reduced.
10. Labor Power is Suppressed – “Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely, or are severely suppressed.”  Anyone who follows the news even with a modicum of attention, knows that the Labor Movement has taken several malevolent hits from the Right-wing radical faction. Right-to-work laws, strike restrictions, outlawing of collective bargaining, and opposition to higher wages are just a few, but they have helped to devastate union membership.  Trump will continue this destructive trend as he has done with some of his own workers.
  11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts – “Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested. Free expression in the arts and letters is openly attacked.”
V-P elect, Mike Pence, evidently did enjoy the musical “Hamilton” recently, and even listened to the interesting words directed at him from the actor playing the lead role (albeit from the lobby on his way out).  However, Pence’s boss, D. Trump, couldn’t resist constant jabbing at the cast wanting them to apologize for ‘harassing’ Mike Pence.  Thank you, Mr. Trump for clearly demonstrating your inability to discern free (and even respectful speech) in contrast to harassment.
12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment – “Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations.”  The latter is the next step in a long series of Law and Order-type arrangements which include the phony War on Drugs (On Minorities), Stop and Frisk, stopping people (usually male) of color to harass and intimidate; pulling certain people over in their cars and searching under false pretenses, and shooting minority men if they make what police consider ‘wrong moves.”  We are apt to see the National Guard mobilized for duty in various cities.   
13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption – “Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders.”
Would the Trump family in government apply here?  Of course, it would.  Trump has already used the government and the Courts to enhance his status and position and more importantly his pocketbook.  Although this last week he lost several million in settlement with those suing Trump University, his family members receiving secret intelligence information and profiting from it while running the family business will make up for that minor setback.
14. Fraudulent Elections – “Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns against or even assassination of opposition candidates, use of legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, and manipulation of the media. Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections.”  Enough said.  2016 Election audit, anyone? (about which see: https://www.change.org/p/demand-an-audit-of-the-2016-presidential-election)
It is a disturbing thought that the very events and activities that are taking place in this country are reminiscent of the takeover of the German nation in the early 1930s.  One of the most prevalent reasons for the relative ease of that takeover was a blindness of much of the electorate to the implications of the ideology and philosophy that was eventually forced upon the people. There was some resistance, but the general population acquiesced in the loss of rights, property and fundamental values that had previously sustained them. 
We are at a similar point in our own evolution; our history.  There are pockets of resistance to Trump and his cronies among the mostly younger population, but not enough support or attention from the bulk of the adult population.  For instance, the outrageous rhetoric and anti-democratic ideals heard from the mouth of Trump or his surrogates has never been unequivocally condemned by leaders in his own Party.  In fact, leaders who refused to support him are now meeting with him and are even considering joining his administration!  Standing on principle, instead of acquiescing to further one’s own position, seems to be playing out negatively before our very eyes. 
So, here’s the point:   Our wounded democracy cannot survive this onslaught of fascist-like intrusion and power-grab.  WE MUST ACT in concert with others to learn the facts, apply strong rebuttal and protests, and act to curb the destruction that is occurring already, and that will reach its inevitable conclusion once all the pieces of this potentially-fascist regime are in place.  What can you do?
 
  • Use social media to protest
  • Sign petitions that are circulating online (go to Change.org), including: electoral college delegates changing their votes to Hillary when they gather in mid-December to vote; one urging Congress to approve Obama’s nominee to the Supreme Court before January 21; another advocating the abolishment of the Electoral College; plus one calling for an audit of the 2016 Election.
  • Boycott businesses and enterprises that support Trump or fascist ideas
  • Demonstrate in the streets
  • Join organizations that are taking a stand against TRUMP
  • Write letters to Congress and demand they stand against tyranny and bigotry
  • Write or message TRUMP himself to oppose his ideas
The point is – ignorance or non-involvement does not excuse a citizen from his or her constitutional duty and responsibility to be the government of the people, by the people and for the people. Democrats who did not vote for Hillary (see  http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/22-counties-that-help-tell-the-story-of-how-hillary-clinton-lost/ar-AAkzxXq?li=BBnb7Kz) must share blame for all the fascist-like misery that is coming upon us.

 It is a fatal flaw to believe that politicians are the government or that our participation is optional.  We are the government and politicians (and their governmental appointees) represent us with our consent.  We must not let that power and responsibility be appropriated by forces that want to destroy our fundamental democratic principles.