I disagree, Trump does exhibit facist behavior

Colin Roberts, Columnist

One of the benefits of a diverse newsroom is, you guessed it, diversity of opinion. At the DEN we have progressives, conservatives and a whole bunch of centrists who are desperately trying to hide their non-affiliation.

I respect those who articulate their beliefs in good faith, even if I hold the opinion that not all beliefs are equal, or even valid. This allows for discussion, which is always better than apathy or blind compliance. Recently, a DEN columnist wrote a piece denying that Trump was a fascist. It was well-written, and came from a place of good faith.

It also confused me.

Of course Trump is a fascist. I was surprised we were having this conversation in late 2018. It’s like discussing Bill Cosby’s character; we should all be on the same page by now. Or at least, I thought we were. More importantly, I assumed that Trump’s supporters accepted his fascism as an unfortunate, but necessary component of his platform.

This is going to be the crux of my argument: Trump supporters, you’ve already accepted he’s an abrasive populist, nativist and finance capitalist, but fascism is where you draw the line? What?

He’s the leader of the “Screw You!” party, and his values are a package deal. You shouldn’t accept part but deny the whole. At this point, we all have a good idea of who he is. The resistance can’t revile him any more than they already do. His supporters have made the choice to accept the evil for the possible victories. 

But maybe you’re of the opinion that Trump isn’t a fascist. Maybe you’d consider that unacceptable, even for him. I’m surprised, but I’ll humor the idea.

Let’s tackle the most topical component of this argument. (Seinfeld voice) wHaT’s tHe dEaL wItH NATIONALISM? Or, if you didn’t know, what does it mean that Trump recently admitted to being a nationalist?

Way, way back in the day, about two years ago, it was widely agreed that nationalism was bad. Even its milder cousin patriotism was under scrutiny for the post 9-11 jingoism war-mongering that led to our Middle East Forever Wars. Recently, nationalism has been associated with white supremacy and the far right. But go a little further back, and you’ll find that nationalism caused two World Wars.

But what is nationalism? It’s just taking pride in one’s country, right? Well, if you were born under a rock, and only had access to Webster’s dictionary, then yes, nationalism would mean patriotism in the same way “bitch” means female dog. You would have to be incredibly naive or ignorant not to understand the greater connotations.

Nationalism is a populist movement that prizes homogeneous culture and purpose. Nationalists are protectionists, and prize their nation above all others. This might appeal to certain readers, but as anyone who’s ever felt different can attest, state-sponsored conformity policies are terrifying. And when “Our Way” becomes “Our Way at the Expense of Your Way,” well, that’s how we get kiddie detainment camps on the Texas border, the erasure of Trans people and forced-education policies for Native American populations. But maybe you don’t care about semantics because you don’t understand the power of words. That’s fine. Let’s look at some other cases of Trump’s fascist ideology manifesting.

Back in March, China removed the term-limits of President Xi Jinping, effectively allowing him to remain president for life. Oh, China, you so wacky! Anyway, let’s look at what Trump said when he was told the news:

“I think it’s great, maybe we’ll want to give it a shot someday,”

For those following along at home, president for life is a fancy way of saying dictator. But one example of totalitarianism isn’t enough. Yale author Jason Stanley lays it out plainly. Namely, that Trump’s worship of a mythic past, sowing of racial and national discord, and his attack on the media, all represent authoritarian and fascist tendencies. His endorsement of populist leaders and dangerous sectors of finance capital are also damming.

Glorying America’s past is harmless, unless you’re Native American, African American, Chinese American, Irish American, Italian American, Hispanic American or from anywhere in the Middle East. For those people, America’s past isn’t as comfortable. And sowing political and racial discord is the path to literally every authoritarian power-grab of the 20th century.

Now, again, my whole argument is that yes, Trump is a fascist, but more importantly, you supporters know that, and I assumed accepted it along with all the other traits. He’s a Mobutu, but he’s YOUR Mobutu. So don’t reject the label. Will America go authoritarian? Hopefully not, but our country’s pilot sure does love the ideology. Maybe don’t buy a ticket. With any luck, the next champion of economic anxiety will be a little less … well, fascist.   

Colin Roberts can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]