14 October 2016

Setting the Stage

... remember when we thought Donald Trump was unqualified and unelectable for the Presidency because he wanted to deport 11 million people and have a religious test as part of entry into the United States?

Oh that we could go back to that simpler time...

Linda Tirado wrote an article about Trump's speech yesterday, and it rightly identifies some of the fascist elements of Trump's campaign, and in particular the appeals to the sovereign-citizen set.  What Tirado only implicitly points to, is the fact that it doesn't actually matter all that much that Donald Trump will now most likely lose this election in November. 

Way back when, in the Summer and Fall of 2015, I was opining to anyone who would listen that Bernie was going to surprise everyone and come out of the Democratic primaries as the nominee and the Trump phenomenon would fade and we'd have a nice boring candidate like Jeb or Kasich on the Republican side.  At first glance, it seems I was wrong twice - but I think the actual case is that I was right, just in the wrong way. 

I've long thought that America was ripe for a fascist uprising.  And that said fascist movement could be either a leftist or rightist one (or both/neither, as this one seems to be).  It has always been the great danger of the right and left media as cottage industries, that intelligent, critical, political thought would be a casualty of our time.  Fascism, in whatever form, was always going to be a possible result.

The Right may well have started this media war with the explosion of talk radio in the 1980s, but it has been a boon to Democrats, because it's sated their base, while fundamentally undermining all that they hold dear.  It feels/felt so good to sit watching Jon Stewart & Stephen Colbert, and knowing that we were laughing with them from the right side of history or learn from John Oliver what some of the most egregious and offensive offenses are of our time - but all the watching and the reading can stagnate a drive to action. 

My favorite podcaster, Dan Carlin, dropped a new episode of his politics and current events show, Common Sense, yesterday.  And he reiterated an idea that he said months and months ago, before we knew how the primaries were going to turn out, which was, essentially: "you think 2016 is interesting/terrifying... just wait for 2020."

American Fascism isn't going away any time soon.  Because the wealth inequality (which is so much more important an issue than income inequality) isn't going away.  Nor is a culture of ressentiment, nor the anger and the know-nothing-ness, nor any of a cadre of issues that culminate in present-day America being a great place to fulminate fascism.

We're going to be very good at this, and that's not a little bit scary.  Hillary Clinton, it now seems, will win in November - and hopefully by a surprising margin and with a new Senate majority (and dream of dreams a newly-democratic House as well!).  If all that happens, we may even have some progress - baby steps, but progress - toward starting to fix some of the edge problems (adding a public option to a massive insurance-company-backed health care program, finding a way to make Medicare and Social Security not go broke in the immediate future, starting to think about actually taking a few steps toward beginning to slow our contribution to global warning, etc.).

However, the ready-to-be fascist angry folks out there will still be out there.  And they're not all right-wing nuts (some of them are left wing nuts like me!).  The Anger Election of 2016 will not have gotten what it really wanted (an outsider who doesn't care about how we've done things up until now) - it will still want to be fed.

So, America, let's talk... before it's too late.

No comments: