Should anyone ask — and I can't think of any reason why anyone should — my one major political regret these days is that I don't own the trademark on the words "fascist" and "fascism": one week on Twitter and I could afford to retire quite comfortably, thank you very much.
Oh, I don't mind if the words are used correctly. But that's one instance in a hundred, maybe; our benighted political system has only two negative characterizations in play, "fascist" or "Hitler." It understands neither. The only really Hitler-like attitude to be found these days, apart from the heavily accented whining from various basements full of would-be neo-Nazis, is the Democrats' alternate explanation for being spanked soundly in the 2016 elections: after being spanked soundly in the 1928 German elections, Hitler apparently decided that the problem was that the Nazis hadn't gotten their message across well enough, and began work on a sequel to Mein Kampf, which eventually appeared as Hitlers Zweites Buch ("Hitler's Second Book"). Regular observers of the American political scene will recognize this excuse as being staggeringly popular among Democrats, particularly among those Democrats who argue that they're on the nonexistent "right side of history." (I have a smidgen more sympathy for those Democrats who give out with a New York-accented "We wuz robbed.")
Donald Trump, of course, is the textbook Fascist — except, of course, that he isn't. Marina Mangiaracina, who's running for the Ward 7 seat on the Oklahoma City Council, would like you to know that you're going to have to come up with more appropriate pejoratives for The Donald:
1. Violence is not viewed as a positive. I've seen nothing but the same sort of Republican apologists I've always seen.
As is typical of Republican apologists, their major concern is not so much punishing selected brown people, as Democratic fantasies contend, as it is assuring themselves green money. Trump isn't particularly warlike, though the same can't be said of advisor Steve Bannon, who in my judgment suffers from his inexplicable failure to become Ernst Stavro Blofeld. Not that anyone's volunteering to be James Bond.
2. No Imperialism. Where's the American colonies Trump wants to establish? Sure, he advocates "defeating ISIS," but that's about it. I don't see Trump's military policies as very different than Obama's.
I expect them to be more successful, simply because they'd almost have to be; it's difficult to imagine worse foreign policy than Barack Obama's, especially Barack Obama's as expressed via Hillary Clinton, the only Secretary of State ever over whom John Kerry could be considered an improvement. Short of starting a war with Russia, which seems unlikely given Trump's old-pals relationship with Vladimir Putin, Trump pretty much has to win this one.
3. Very pro free market, anti govt regulation. Fascism has strong govt regulation. I've watched Trump give tons of talks to CEOs and sign exec. orders regarding government regulations in particular.
Deduct here Trump's obsession with tariffs, which conflict with the very idea of free markets. Still, the Prez gets credit for recognizing that regulations, no matter what public good they're intended to serve, extract a price from that same public.
4. Party Dissent. Senators McCain and Graham have come out against Trump's new immigration policies. A strong central party is key to fascism. The Republicans are far from rubber stamp.
Trump never gave the GOP a chance to be a rubber stamp; during the election he ran against other Republicans nearly as hard as he ran against Hillary. And anyway, unity is overrated.
5. Freedom and Democracy are still advocated.
In the same way that an auto dealer advocates security etching for window glass: it's a means to an end, and where it ends is in someone's pocket.
I'm not a Trump supporter. I don't approve of what Trump has done. But Trump is not a fascist, nor anything close to it.
While Mangiaracina positionwise comes off as a textbook 21st-century left-of-center Democrat, Oklahoma City Council is officially nonpartisan, and Ward 7 is not what anyone would call overrun with conservatives. She deserves credit, though, for not looking through party-colored glasses.
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Copyright © 2017 by Charles G. Hill