Does it matter what we call Trump? Does the Left need to to chill out?
Some years ago, Randy Newman sang “the end of an empire . . . is messy at best,” and American society is now in a mess that Winston Wolfe couldn’t clean up. No one has to ignore the long sordid corporate liberal record of Joe Biden or the Wall Street/Prosecutor career of Kamala Harris to understand that Donald Trump has to be deposed by whatever means necessary and if the tactic of voting does that, there’s no reason to knock it.
But it’s also a time for thinking rationally and coldly, not being hysterical and panicking, and there’s a lot of that on the Left these days.
Trump’s scary and dangerous, absolutely. Though he’s not as abnormal as a lot of Leftists and especially Liberals insist (think of Nixon and Reagan and Bush, not to mention Clinton and Obama), he’s openly, crudely, vulgarly, maniacally, and virulently presenting a challenge at home of a greater magnitude than we’ve seen probably since the 1960s. While logically building on the neo-liberal and inhumane programs of his predecessors, he’s topped them off with a dismissal of a public health crisis that’s killed over 200,000 and is openly inciting white supremacist violence from Portland to Michigan.
He has to go away, and immediately.
But recently, there’s been a surge of articles and opinion pieces in Left media verging on hysteria—with some crossing that line—that Trump is a fascist and/or a Nazi, that he’s going to steal the election or refuse to leave office, and, most troubling, that others on the Left who do not share such alarmist views are really no better than MAGA-wearing Trump fanatics. The most extreme example may be a recent social media observation from the lead writer of a well-known online publication which shrieked that “any asshole ‘radical left’ douchebag who goes around posting and publishing denialist bullshit based on the absence of full on parallels with the Third Reich disgraces themselves and pollutes the discourse with ahistorical drivel.” The evidence?—border detentions, Charlottesville, El Paso, tweets to “liberate” various states, Kenosha, referring to Democrat politicians as Communists, ominous warnings about the election, and the like.
Long before that, since January 2017 really, there have been listicles of traits of fascists, 20 ways to spot a fascist, 5 reasons why Trump is the new Hitler, countless memes explaining what fascism is, and so forth. It’s reminiscent of the 1950s “how to spot a Communist” propaganda, and I’m waiting for a lefty Jeff Foxworthy to strike it big with a “you might be a fascist if….” routine.
Most of these focus on Trump’s bluster, vulgarity, threats, and overtly racist and sexist ideas, as well as some genuinely frightening programs and policies. But being fascist involves so much more than being a horrendous, and dangerous, individual, even one with power. (Continued on page 2)