Sixteen years ago, Free Inquiry published a remarkable and prescient article by Laurence W. Britt about the encroachment of fascism in various nations throughout the world, including the United States (“Fascism, Anyone?,” Spring 2003).
This writer wishes to revisit the essence of that article—or perhaps, oracle—with the intention of alerting, and even alarming, all readers and/or thinkers about the fragility of our democracy in the age of Donald Trump and his sycophantic and/or spineless supporters, namely all Congressional Republicans. Remember, these are the ones who have long prided themselves on their patriotism, the American flag, and American superiority and dominance throughout the world. How things have changed under President Trump!
This is now a political party whose only purpose is total and permanent power! Virtually all Republican politicians currently in Congress or aspiring to office are now reciting that repetitive, depressing, and despicable meme of loyalty to their Chief. That is to say, their Chief Donald Trump! They have no interest in protecting or defending our beleaguered Constitution. Is there any person of honor among them, as anticipated by our Founders? Is there a majority of honest people as had been assumed by Adams, Madison, and friends? Or at least a few persons of ethics? Would the Founders have approved of any person of malignant narcissistic personality disorder to lead their new nation?
So, let’s review Britt’s article.
By simply reviewing the fourteen points outlined by Britt as common threads of fascism, we can deduce how close this nation has come to fascism. In the opinion of this writer, we are already well entrenched in a fascism of autocratic rule by one person, supported fully by an entire political party! There is no area, no arena, no issue that has escaped minimalistic yet devastating tweets—treasured by his legions of admirers—emanating from this president.
So here we go! This author has assigned a rating of 1 to 5 for each of the fascist characteristics now festering in America.
Characteristic 1: Powerful and Continuing Nationalism. (Rating: 5) Fascist regimes, such as Trump’s, tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, songs, and other paraphernalia. In this writer’s neighborhood, someone flies a TRUMP flag immediately under the American flag! Well, I might try to console myself by thinking that the flag of America was above the Trump flag—for now at least!
Characteristic 2: Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights. (Rating: 5) Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of “need.” Witness our disgraceful attitude and treatment of desperate migrants at our Southern border.
Characteristic 3: Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause. (Rating: 5) See above.
Characteristic 4: Supremacy of the Military. (Rating: 5) Disproportionate funding is provided for the military, while domestic infrastructure disintegrates before our eyes and beneath our cars.
Characteristic 5: Rampant Sexism. (Rating: 5) Grabbing women’s genitals is now okay, as per our Grabber-in-Chief!
Characteristic 6: Controlled Mass Media. (Rating: 3) Not all media is as compliant and/or instructive to this president as Fox News and the Murdoch family. How long can reputable media survive in this environment?
Characteristic 7: Obsession with National Security. (Rating: 5) Most Americans, it seems, are easily persuaded by fear, real or imagined.
Characteristic 8: Religion and Government Are Intertwined. (Rating: 5) Religion and politics have merged into a single toxic mix. Religions have been politicized, just as politics has been “religionized.” Our Founding Fathers would have found this development abhorrent.
Characteristic 9: Corporate Power Is Protected. (Rating: 5) Minimizing corporate tax rates for major corporations permanently, while throwing some crumbs to the general public temporarily, signals the triumph of corporate greed over any just distribution of national wealth.
Characteristic 10: Labor Power Is Suppressed. (Rating: 5) Labor unions may soon become extinct fossils of the once-hopeful expectations of ordinary workers.
Characteristic 11: Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts. (Rating: 4) There remain many bastions of intellectual and artistic endeavors despite a more-or-less Neanderthal approach to all human aspirations by this administration.
Characteristic 12: Obsession with Crime and Punishment. (Rating: 4) Despite Attorney General William Barr’s acquiescence in becoming this president’s personal lawyer/defender, there remain a few judicial checks and balances against this incipient fascist coup.
Characteristic 13: Rampant Cronyism and Corruption. (Rating: 5) Whichever American citizen has failed to see and acknowledge this obvious theme of Trumpism is deliberately blind and/or passionately devoted to the Trump family, which will possibly or even likely become a perpetual dictatorial dynasty unless checked!
Characteristic 14: Fraudulent Elections. (Rating: 5) The election that brought us to this dismal place was largely influenced by foreign hostile operatives. There will be no meaningful or forceful pushback by this administration for the next national election because there is no incentive by the Trump Administration to obstruct Putin’s efforts on behalf of Donald Trump, Putin’s most productive dupe!
So, here is the score, folks! This writer has scored actual American Fascism a sixty-six out of seventy. He suggests you, the reader, do your own math. You might conclude it’s even worse!
Since the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld-Rice machinations leading us into a war of aggression against Iraq, Nicholas Molinari, a former Roman Catholic priest, has played the role of a hapless Cassandra, auguring the gathering, intensification, and growing-proximity of a massive storm of fascism ravaging the democratic ideals of this nation, and of other nations. The old adage “It can’t happen here …” is hereby repealed! As for this octogenarian, male Cassandra … give me liberty, or give me death!