Angry emails, nearly all anonymous, and a voice mail message that said, simply, “go to hell” after I wrote earlier this week that Republican Presidential front runner Donald Trump is “America’s Adolph Hitler.”
The kind of reaction expected from the racists, bigots and mentally-challenged Trumpers and Trumpettes who cheer his crudities and crap.
Juan Cole — writer, columnist, blogger and the Richard P. Mitchell Collegiate Professor at the University of Michigan — agrees Trump is too much like Hitler and says that, with the help of us in the media, America went Fascist.
“Trump’s racism and xenophobia violates America’s core beliefs — yet the media and many Americans are okay with it,” reads the subhead of a column he wrote this week.
In the article on Bill Moyers’ web site, Cole makes several needed and overdue observations about Trump and the stain he has left of our country:
He is a white nationalist, and his message is that he will stand up for white Christian people against the Chinese, the Mexicans and the Muslims. Just as Adolph Hitler hoped for an alliance with Anglo-Saxon Britain on racial grounds (much preferring it to the less white Italy), the only foreign leader Trump likes is the “white” Vladimir Putin. That he won the evangelical vote again in Nevada is helpful for us in seeing that American evangelicalism itself is in some part a form of white male chauvinist nationalism and only secondarily about religion.
Cole notes that Trump gets a pass for things that have cost others their jobs, reputations and careers.
Not long ago, extremely powerful television personalities and sportscasters were abruptly fired for saying things less offensive than Trump’s bromides. Don Imus was history for abusive language toward women basketball players. But Trump’s strident attack on Megyn Kelly as a menstruating harridan was just allowed to pass. Jimmy “the Greek” Snyder was fired by CBS for saying African-Americans were ‘bred’ to be better athletes. But Trump issued a blanket characterization of undocumented Mexican labor migrants as rapists, thieves and drug dealers. Of course this allegation is untrue.
Trump’s lies and distortions, Cole says, are tolerated by those who should condemn him and stop his blatant effort to march this nation into madness.
But it isn’t only the checks and balances in government that are necessary to keep the republic. It is the Fourth Estate, i.e. the press, it is the country’s leaders and it is the general public who stand between the republic and the rise of a Mussolini.
The notables have been shown to be useless. Donald Trump should have been kicked out of the Republican Party the moment he began talking about violating the Constitution. The first time he hinted about assaulting the journalists covering his rallies, he should have been shown the door. When he openly advocated torture (“worse than waterboarding”), he should have been ushered away. When he began speaking of closing houses of worship, he should have been expelled. He has solemnly pledged to violate the First, Fourth and Eighth Amendments of the Constitution, at the least. If someone’s platform is unconstitutional, it boggles the mind that a major American party would put him or her up for president. How can he take the oath of office with a straight face? The party leaders were afraid he’d mount a third-party campaign. But who knows how that would have turned out? Someone with power needs to say that Trump is unacceptable and to define him out of respectable politics, the same way David Duke is treated (Trump routinely retweets Duke fellow-travellers).
Donald Trump is an ego-maniacal, profanity spouting madman who is all-to-certain proof that America, and the loons and racists and bigots who support and vote for him, are taking the country down the road to ruin.
Cole says it far better than I can.
It has been a dreadful performance by the press and by party leaders. They are speaking in such a way as to naturalize the creepy, weird and completely un-American positions Trump has taken.
This is how the dictators came to power in the 1920s and 1930s. Good people remained silent or acquiesced. People expressed hope that something good would come of it. Mussolini would wring the laziness out of Italy and make the trains run on time.
When Benjamin Franklin was asked by a lady after the Constitutional Convention what sort of government the US had, he said, “A Republic, Madame, if you can keep it.”
You have to wonder if we can keep it.
Or, sadly, if we should.