Photo by Gakuto Ochi

Darkest Before the Dawn

Responding to the rise of American Fascism

  • America is descending into fascism under Donald Trump. It is a very American type of fascism, so some people may object to the word, but what I mean is that Trump is seeking to access levels of power that transcend the levels of power legally granted to an American president. I also mean, he has enough support from the population to potentially make this a reality, and as he continues to gain more power, we descend deeper into fascism.
  • Trumpian fascism gains power by generating rage toward liberals. The hatred between liberals and conservatives has grown to astonishing levels, and Trump motivates his followers to support his breaking American law and tradition to grant him autocratic power by appealing to “angering liberals.” You can see this simply stated at the Republican National Convention, when he convinces his followers to chant “12 more years” by assuring his followers that it would “really piss them off” (see video below):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nVD-qjISeC0
  • Trumpian fascism idealizes killing. This is a particularly American kind of idealization, one borne of the American mythology that glorifies war and genocide — most especially, the American war of independence, the civil war, World War 2, and the American Indian¹ genocide. Now, the American idealization of killing is not limited to the right (many leftists fantasize about “justified” murder also— think Quentin Tarantino’s Nazi-killing scene in Inglorious Bastards) but one jump the right has recently made is they have begun to glorify actual murder that has happened in real life. Ann Coulter, for instance, recently tweeted that she wanted Kyle Rittenhouse (recent mass shooter at a protest) to be her president. Even if we are to take the right’s claim that Rittenhouse was acting in self defense so his behavior was excusable (which I don’t — I believe Rittenhouse to be a teenage boy in possession of an illegal weapon who travelled across state lines with the intention to kill) the fact that killing someone is seen as a praiseworthy act really tells you something about the right’s operating morality right now. At best, I hope killing in self defense would be portrayed as a regrettable act forced upon someone by circumstance.
  • Trumpian fascism builds upon the American tradition of ignoring the suffering of those who we build our lifestyle upon. Unlike the American Indian genocide, where the murder of indigenous Americans was to some extent glorified as part of “conquering the West,” the slavery, indentured servitude, and mass incarceration of Black Americans has largely been ignored or underplayed. Racism is continued to be denied, even in the face of overwhelming (and now, video!) evidence. However, this is not new, nor limited to Black Americans. As John Tirman noted in his book The Deaths of Others, Americans tend to have a limited memory for the death and destruction our wars cause other people. Do you know how many people died in Iraq? I keep forgetting myself, but here’s a website about it (TLDR: 200k civilians — if you ever wonder why they hate us in the middle east, it’s because we keep killing them and we keep forgetting about it.)
  1. I’m using the term American Indian because I’m referencing historical events where the term “Indian” would have been in usage, and because I read “Indigenous individuals and peoples in North America on the whole do not consider “Indian” a slur.” in the introduction of An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States (ReVisioning American History.)

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