In the wake of the Chicago protests that shut down Trump's rally over the weekend, I'm beginning to see a disturbing trend not only in the mainstream media, but also in alternative media (New Media) to apologize for and rationalize the rhetoric of Trump. Part of this I believe is simple denial about the fact that America may actually nominate a soft fascist into power and because people want to feel better about this country and some of the people in it...they say things like "oh Donald Trump doesn't really mean it." As if to say, people need not get upset because he's not going to follow through on any of it if he becomes President.
Let's be clear, Trump has a very lengthy history of racism going back to the 1970's. He has a lengthy history of being a sexist as well. For people to make a illogical assumption that Trump won't get into office and actually try to act on what he's said during the campaign is wishful thinking at best...especially given his history. Part of it though is also an attempt by some to create false equivalencies between Trump and his supporters and the counter-protesters. On social media, many Trump supporters and apologists criticized the protesters (often with racially-laced wording) for stifling Trump's free speech. Let's be clear, Trump can say whatever anti-democratic thing he wants, but don't expect people to sit on their ass at home and take it either. Free speech goes both ways and when you begin bordering on hate speech and even refusing to outright disavow known extremist groups until you're forced to...don't be shocked by the reaction you get from people.
So here are my Top 5 Reasons You Should Not Be a Donald Trump Apologist
1. Donald Trump Poses a Major Threat to American Democracy. New York Magazine writer Jonathan Chait wrote an interesting article yesterday entitled, 'Donald Trump Poses an Unprecedented Threat to American Democracy.' I call it interesting and point it out because it echoes what I stated above about the growing use of free speech as a way of stifling overpowering criticism of rising neo-fascism and right-wing extremism in America. Let's understand something, Trump is a threat to democracy because he's using the democratic process to tear at the seams of this country and open wounds that weren't fully healed to begin with around ethnic superiority. He's taking real problems around wages, healthcare and corruption and instead of directing it against those who are most responsible for creating those problems, he's directing it against ethnic minorities and using the democratic process to do so. THAT'S what makes him a threat to democracy. Trump becoming President isn't a sign of the democratic process being used to create a better country which is what the enlightenment intellectuals envisioned it doing, it's a sign of it being subverted to bring in totalitarianism and neo-fascism. Chait makes his strongest point when he says that if you really think Trump is the rise of an American Mussolini, then you're also legitimizing aggressive responses that wouldn't fly under normal pretenses because this isn't a normal situation. You're forcing people to muster a response that is deserving of the neo-fascist rhetoric that is being spewed and the historic threat it poses.
2. Hate Speech is Dangerous Speech and Can Lead to Mass Murder. America desperately needs to begin to have a discussion about free, hate and dangerous speech. Quite frankly many don't understand the danger that hate speech poses. It's easy to write it off when it's snaggle-toothed confederate flag wavers screaming "white power" and they have no power. It becomes problematic when a leading Presidential candidate begins appealing to these people and egging them on at his rallies. It's no longer a joke and saying that any and all speech is game regardless of how destructive it is is a major problem in America historically on the Left and the Right. Susan Benesch of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum said in a study called 'Countering Dangerous Speech: New Ideas for Genocide Prevention,' that genocidal regimes often used hate speech in dangerous ways to make it seem as if their enemies were less than Human thereby making atrocities seem more acceptable in the eyes of the people not under attack. She uses examples such as the Rwandan genocide and the Holocaust and some may see that as extreme by American standards, but let's not forget the history of lynching terrorism in America. Let's not pretend that America doesn't already have a bloody history of hate speech being used to legitimize acts of terrorism and violence against communities of color. In her study, which everyone can read by clicking on the link within the bolded study title above, she lays out 5 ways of estimating the 'dangerousness' of a political figures speech and this is based off of studying dictatorial regimes across the world. What Donald Trump is doing right now fits every last characteristic. As a country, we need to begin to have a discussion about the threat certain types of speech poses to vulnerable communities in this country...if you truly care about them and for their sake. This is not a call to end free speech, that would be crazy. It's a call to understand what's truly at stake here and how dangerous apologizing for it can be.
3. Mass Deportations Will Almost Certainly Lead to Civil Unrest and Destroy Relations w/Mexico. Mass deportation is one of the most heinous things any country can ever do and is usually riddled with a tremendous amount of xenophobia and ethnic/religious intolerance. Whether it's Haitian's being deported en masse from the Dominican Republic or Syrian refugees being kicked out of countries and left to drown in the seas of Europe/North Africa. Mass deportations involve the rounding up of usually millions and quarantining them somewhere in a camp as they await their dismissal. It involves the breaking up of families and being lowered often to a sub-human level by the country that is kicking you out. Not only will this create a tremendous amount of tension in this country, it'll create problems with Mexico. A country where politicians are already calling for the banning of Donald Trump and all but openly calling him a fascist Nazi. Barack Obama hasn't been good on the deportation front and his record on the issue is usually swept under the rug. Many do not know that he has deported more immigrants than any other President totaling more than 2.5 million people. However that's been over the course of nearly 8 years and it's not something he's ever publicly been proud of doing and he's certainly never rubbed it in people's faces. Trump wants to deport over 11 million I would assume in just 4 years...considering a re-election for him would likely be very hard to achieve. He would use it as a promotional tool every chance he'd have. To think the same civil nature of the debate over illegal immigration would remain civil if this were actually attempted is unbelievable. There would almost certainly be a high level of civil unrest if this fascist agenda were actually put into motion and our relations with Mexico and other Latin American nations would be the worst they've ever been under a Trump Presidency.
4. Trump Actually Is a Neo-Fascist and There's No Rationalizing That. What happens when the democratic process is used to vote in neo-fascism? Wouldn't that be called a subversion of democracy and freedom? Look, I understand that fascism is a loaded word that carries a lot of historical weight and shouldn't be used lightly. However when the time comes, one has to be ready to use it if need be...and we're living in that time right now. One can make the argument that America has been playing footsies with fascism for some time now...decades even. One can say America, especially pre-integration, has always had a dictatorial outlook on things when it comes to ethnic minorities in this country. However even if we were to ignore all of that for one moment, one cannot deny what has been happening in this country post-9/11. Naomi Wolf back in 2007 wrote a powerful article in both Alternet and The Guardian about the rise of fascism and right-wing extremism in America (click the #2 in the Links section below to read the full article). The article laid out 10 steps that are taken to destroy democracy and institute totalitarianism. Things like invoking a terrifying internal or external enemy, stifling and controlling the press and harassing groups of people (or threatening to). Naomi Wolf wasn't the only one who believed we were becoming fascist in 2007, Chris Hedges is another who has been talking about right-wing fascism for numerous years too. He too wrote a book in 2007 called 'American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America,' a book that everyone should read. He talks about fascism mostly through a religious lens, but he shows how America's toying with fascism goes far beyond the George Wallace-esque campaign of Donald Trump and predates Trump by many years. Trump is simply speaking out loud what many (not all) within the Republican Party have believed for a very long time. It's not new, so we need to stop pretending it is. It's a very old tactic and game that's being played here. It's the hyper-nationalism and the criticizing of anyone who "questions America" as being un-America when it is they, unlike most fundamentalists, who are bastardizing what America is all about. Not those of us challenging the country to do better by people. It's the complete and total disregard of international law and openly calling for war crimes and the killing of innocents abroad. Donald Trump even retweeted a quote from Mussolini recently and came out and said it was "inadvertent," just like we're supposed to believe that him retweeting white supremacist accounts with fraudulently anti-Black crime statistics is also "inadvertent." At some point in time we've got to acknowledge that these things aren't being done accidentally and you're playing the willful idiot if you believe him and take him at his word. Why is no other campaign "accidentally" retweeting vile and disgusting things? It's because they don't believe in it and would never have someone on their campaign who would put their campaign into that kind of political heat. So let's stop playing stupid and all admit that just as the sky is blue, so to is Donald Trump an American fascist!
5. Donald Trump's Tepid Disavowing of the KKK Should Not Be Taken Seriously. Unless of course you like to buy bridges in San Francisco or enjoy being strung along by used car salesmen. This goes hand-in-hand with the statement I made at the very beginning of this blog entry about people claiming Trump doesn't really mean what he's saying. That's a matter of opinion, not fact and anyone who looks at his history knows that at the very least he's a soft racist and not the fire-breathing white supremacist he comes off as to people of color. At the very worst, there's no telling how crazy he could really be. I think the truth is probably somewhere in the middle. I mean, I could just as easily say that I take him at his word completely and think he believes everything he says. His entire campaign is based around saying things that people don't want to hear and shunning political correctness. So why then would you assume that he's being political and not literal with his speech? His supporters certainly believe him and take him at his word. That alone is dangerous regardless of whether or not you personally take him seriously and that's the point many don't want to acknowledge. In people's attempt to rationalize the irrational and make sense of the senseless, they allow these opinions and beliefs to become normalized because they think they're "adding context" to the debate when in reality they do nothing more than show their light support of dangerous speech that can lead to state violence...whether they realize it or not. In any foreign context, the KKK would be considered a terrorist organization and shunned globally and used as a pretext to topple a foreign government. They'd be compared to Hamas, Hezbollah, ISIS, the Taliban, al-Shabaab, Boko Haram and every other terrorist group you can think of that America has used to spread regime change. It is only because of white privilege that they are allowed to exist in modern day America. In no other context would a group that attacked white communities in the way that the KKK has attacked Blacks be allowed to still exist in any way, shape or form and have people use free speech as a way of stifling criticism against them when they, as an organization, have the blood of perhaps tens of thousands of innocents on their hands and are responsible for some of the most barbaric periods of American history. Anyone who says a Black or Muslims group with the body count of the KKK would be allowed to exist is a damn liar.
1. Dangerous Speech is Not Free Speech or Even Hate Speech - The Huffington Post