Trump: Dangerous or Just Plain Pathetic?

I seldom look for solace in someone’s incompetence, but in the case of President Trump his many deficiencies—that span from prehistoric executive skills to fundamental character flaws to psychological and emotional instabilities—may prevent him from achieving his fascist aims.  He is no Putin and the United States is no Russia.  Further, his detachment from facts and truth has severely compromised his credibility both at home and—especially—abroad. He appears to have the focus and navigational skills of a gnat in a windstorm, but I acknowledge this may be unfair to gnats (that always seem to survive such storms).

The chaos that is the White House today coupled with the cowardly political rapacity that plagues Congress, a Supreme Court stuck in a 4-to-4 standoff, and a Federal bureaucracy frozen between the twin pulls of passive aggression and career security, virtually assures that little will be accomplished, at least for now.  In the end, this may be the story historians tell of the Trump presidency: much smoke and little fire.  Noise without leadership is still just noise.  What is emerging now is less danger than a leadership vacuum; both are bad, but they also open opportunities for others to lead.  So, who will lead?  It won’t be the Supreme Court or the Federal bureaucrats; the first is not supposed to lead and the second is incapable (by design).  Congress may try, but my bet is it will devolve into a battle between dumb and dumber.  Leadership then, will come from beyond the Beltway in Washington, at the state, county and municipal levels.

We may end up owing Mr. Trump a debt of gratitude, if we use the peril he proffers as a call to organize and engage in a democracy we haven’t, as citizens, paid much attention to for the last forty-five years.  Since Nixon was shown the door and our draft cards became coasters, it has been easy to ignore Washington D.C.  The collapse of the Soviet Union and the dawn of the digital age contributed mightily to our collective withdrawal from national politics.  Apathy and complacency became natural and comfortable.  After all, who wants to spend time engaged with those who aspire to be politicians when we can turn the lens toward ourselves on the end of a selfie-stick?  Yes, Trump happened because of us, not in spite of us.

We have a choice: continue to wring our hands over the horrors of Trumpisms, or take advantage of the leadership vacuum and forge our own future.  We can wait and see, which gives Trump and Congress a chance to fill the void, or we can seize the moment.  The best and brightest are not found in our nation’s capitol, they are in our universities, small businesses, non-profits, and coffee shops.  They are old, young, born here and not.  They are the quiet ones who do not seek the spotlight.  Yet, they, you, are our future.  Are we Americans, or are we Trump?

By |2023-12-01T15:32:49+00:00February 21st, 2017|General|0 Comments

The Next Neo: Neo-fascism

Fascism is characterized by three core elements: concentration of power, hyper-nationalism, and right-wing conservative political and social views.  Fascists consider every domain of social order – security, economics, education, religion, and politics—as malleable in whichever direction supports the imposition of their will.  Coercion is the lifeblood of fascism. Whether accomplished through overt violence or oppression of any modality, individualism—human and civil rights—are its enemy.  Identity is imposed, as a reflection of the values of elite ideologues who seek power in what they view as perilous times, when social and political trends are threatening their nationalistic disposition.  Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini were perhaps the world’s most famous fascists, but a few radical American neo-conservatives appear to be leaning toward the fascist model more and more everyday, led by Dick and daughter Liz Cheney, John Yoo, and William Kristol.

This new small group of emerging neo-fascists, might be easily dismissed as a sideshow that should be considered as little more than fodder for the entertaining rants of late night, quasi-news programs like Jon Stewart’s Daily Show except for the fact they are intelligent and highly connected to the existing political apparatus of this country with plenty of sympathetic followers in the media.  In addition, they have the support of Christian nationalists (aka the Religious Right), akin to Mussolini’s relationship with the Vatican in the run-up to World War II.  In short, they have a huge head start over what Hitler and Mussolini had, and like these ideological predecessors, they are rising at a time of political, social, and economic instability. We ignore or dismiss them at our peril.  And, as they incite fear at every opportunity, they will no doubt gain support from the disaffected and dispossessed whose numbers are increasing at an increasing rate, and whose principal interest is to recapture their position in an ever-organic social order that appears to be selecting against them.

While the content of Dick Cheney’s legacy is being revealed slowly, concealed by a steady invocation of national security, the nature of his legacy has been cast.  His incessant summons of fear, support of executive power, affinity for war, and disregard for legal rights and the rule of law are his corner posts.  Recently, his daughter Liz, joined by William Kristol, in  (Dick) Cheney-esque style, called for the identification of those attorneys in the Department of Justice who previously had represented Guantanamo detainees.  Labeled the “al-Qaeda Seven” by Liz Cheney, she characterized them as Osama bin Laden sympathizers in an attempt to expose them reminiscent of McCarthyism in the 1950s.  John Yoo is the inscrutable legal counsel who penned the rationale that twists the Constitution in favor of a unitary executive by employing abstractions of narrowly selected founding history to offer absolution to his neo-fascist brethren.  As Mickey Edwards at The Atlantic characterized them, “they are statists, pure and simple, dismissive of law, dismissive of the Constitution, dismissive of freedoms. They love power, not freedom.”


By |2017-05-25T22:15:22+00:00March 12th, 2010|General, The New Realities|0 Comments
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