Historical Ignorance and the Slow March to a Great (Fascist) America
“Nobody knows the system better than me, which is why I alone can fix it.”
—Donald Trump, 2016 Republican National Convention
We’ve seen all of this before. It begins with a grievance.
A country once mighty and industrious fallen into disrepair. The fault rests with the Haves, the Powerful, the Prideful. They took too much, bit off more than they could squander. They sold out their own people for a quick buck.
But fault is a tough thing to chew and a sickening thing to swallow for the Haves, the Powerful, the Prideful, and so they shift the blame to those most unlike them — the Have Nots, the Average, the Humble. They ally themselves with those they hurt the most — the Simple. And they manipulate them like a drunk husband with a fist filled with hatred hunting for his high-cheekboned beauty. Through cunning and fearmongering and lies, they seize on the shaky emotional state of the Simple. They capitalize on their fear, make them afraid to think for themselves, and afraid of any other option. For better and worse.
They create a distorted version of history and a future that is always more fantasy and fever dream than aspirational. And because the Simple don’t like feeling bad, they buy into the Nationalism as thoughtlessly as they buy American flags made in China.
Attacks are levied against individuals and specific groups of people. The federal footsoldiers are activated to defend the Nation by way of attack. The best defense is a violent offense. Families are displaced. Families are broken up. The Have Nots are hunted. They are left to die. The People — all of them — suffer.
This has been the plan all along. Total control. Absolute authority. A cleansing of the manufactured threat. World domination.
But this time it’s by accident in an attempt to convince themselves they are good and worthy of Mother and Father’s praise and affection. Where there was little to offer before, now there is hate. Good boy, good girl. It begins with a grievance.
“Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame, with conquering limbs astride from land to land; Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand a mighty woman with a torch, whose flame is the imprisoned lightning, and her name Mother of Exiles.”
—New Colossus by Emma Lazarus
We’ve seen this behavior from administrations before. We saw grievances avenged in this country and throughout the world, but never before in this country have we been as close to becoming the very thing the world came to abhor the most: a violent, fascist, totalitarian dictatorship. And never in such an obvious way.
Oh, Colossus, we hardly knew thee…
The moment we allowed Trump to target Mexicans, it was clear that America was steadfastly committed to making the slow march toward its doom. And it will be doom when the march ends. Throughout all of history, the grieving aggressor fails by their own hand. It is a crumbling of an empirical house of cards. The suits weapons and threats and heartless policies or laws and division. The Suicide King. He is always surprised by his death at his own hand as the rapier slices through the skin and skull to split the brain. Mental destruction, emotional carnage.
The press, while imperfect, has been manipulated and attempted to be regarded as an Enemy of the State. Our criminals, including the illegal immigrants, are being slapped with punishments that far outweigh the crime. Nothing seems to be able to stop this march. Too many want it. The Simple want what’s being sold to them despite it being against their own interests. Their minds won’t change because they’re no longer thinking, they’re feeling. The mistrust has carved its way into the American Heart and turned it black. We are in a Cold Civil War. We are divided. The Union will fall.
Like Rome. Like Greece.
“We’re just going to take your kids to have a bath.”
—Federal agents at the border, according to Denise Gilman, Head of the Immigration Clinic at the University of Texas School of Law
This is not an issue of the Trump-hating media. If anything, the media should love Trump. He gets the eyes and ears turning pages and tuned in. That’s his thing. He’s built his entire public existence on being a brutish numbskull. And the march we’re on is not entirely of his making, despite what he claimed in 2016 at the RNC. Even the most totalitarian dictator cannot reach such totalitarian heights alone. He needs simple-minded but clever snakes on his side with skills and bandwidth to enact the fear and hatred and fan the Flame of Outrage. Thaw the cold. Heat up the civil war.
No, this is not Trump. This is America. This is Us. We approve of this march and everything that comes with it. So we march on. We don’t stop. We get annoyed at the First Lady’s jacket.
We’ve seen all of this before. We’ve seen it throughout history. Our news cycle is our telltale. Denying this is denying history. There are ways to make America great and there are ways to have a lawful society with an effective justice system. It can be done with kindness and forethought and the wisdom that knowing history provides.
Instead, we rip children away from their parents. We make the People pay for the crimes of murderous law enforcement officers. We let the poor and the sick squirm in suffering. We allow the anger to confuse us and we turn it into hate against people we’re convinced are different than us.
We are divided as we march, getting further apart with every refresh of the news cycle. And we will descend into weak factions gasping for democracy or air under the boot of tyranny. No one can save us. Our new allies are too busy with their own backyard slaughters: Russia, North Korea, Israel. Our former allies, Canada, France, Germany, they will have been pushed so far into a corner that they can only watch us burn, wait for the flames to die down, the coals to cool then visit our ruins during summer vacations.
This is not hyperbole. This is history.
We’ve seen all of this before. And instead of stopping it, we’re marching along toward our inevitable fascist, totalitarian end. And we’re marching either because we’re lying to ourselves that it’s OK or we’re too stupid to know better. I’m betting it’s the latter. Because Americans aren’t stupid. Americans are mighty and supreme. Americans are pure and good. That is, until we’re not.
And perhaps we never were. Look at history. We were never that New Colossus.
It begins with a grievance. It is exacerbated by historical ignorance. It ends in shame and misery.