How to guide a democracy toward isolationism and ultimately ruin:
First, advocate nationalism — the more extreme the better. Racial comments are not only acceptable but encouraged, endorsed and normalized.
Next, abandon treaties — especially if they are designed for the greater good.
Third, be engaged publicly in an ever-wider audience. Rile them up along the way and gain an ever-increasing electoral base.Tell the people the stories you want them to hear and repeat often to convince them that you are the voice of truth.
And, fourth, find a moral equivalence for violence.
Hitler took these basic steps. The National Socialist German Workers’ Party, commonly known as the Nazi Party, was/is an extreme right wing nationalistic party. Their hatred for anyone beyond their nationalistic worldview is well documented. Hitler also abandoned treaties — the Treaty of Versailles is the most well known.
Hitler was a great speaker, riling up his ever-wider audiences.He was the architect of the big lie and scapegoated people he labeled as different. And, clearly, violence was part of his agenda.
And, the silent majority of Germans either sat and watched or joined him in his idiocy as he destroyed the country and killed six million Jews and millions more.
The president of the United States, deliberately or not, is doing the same. Mr. Trump plays to the most base of nationalistic instincts calling people, even countries, by reprehensible names. His caricatures of people as rapists, murderers or in his more generous moments as simply uneducated is straight from the Nazi playbook. Trump repeatedly puts himself and his narrow band of extremist supporters above all sense of decency playing to them constantly. He has abandoned a variety of treaties impulsively, indiscriminately and with complete abandon for the important and dire repercussions that these moves will cause. His tweets reach millions of people and the more who read his diatribes the more likely he gains a brainwashed group of aggressive followers.
The president believes there were “bad people” on both sides at Charlottesville — allowing for a moral equivalency that all thinking people immediately rejected but he stands by.
We are just one year into the rise of fascism in the United States. Interestingly CNN, MSNBC, the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal among so many others are attempting to stem the tide, but if you watch Fox News, it seems as if we live in an entirely different dimension from them. Fox does not even cover the overtly negative, bigoted and just plain harmful comments the president makes and when they do they excuse the racism.
Trump has stated that he wants to restrain the free press and change libel laws to benefit him. The only winner if he accomplishes even a small piece of this agenda would be the right wing media.
His disdain for black people is not just contemptible it is totally hypocritical. Many of the people who work in his hotels and clubs are black from countries he has called by an expletive. But that does not seem to bother him. There is a simple reason for that — as long as you work for him, under his control, he is in charge. Power is the food for fascists.
Why is this so horrible and frightening? Simple. After the blacks and Mexicans come the Jews. Arguing that Trump has Jews in his family and Jews have nothing to fear is completely irrelevant. Again, think of Charlottesville, where alt-right paraders repeatedly yelled anti-Semitic taunts.
If Donald Trump opens the door to fascism, his successor can easily move to the next level.
I am afraid.