Could fascism become a reality in America? | The Tylt
President Trump and his movement's rise to power has some claiming we are witnessing the rise of American fascism. According to Umberto Eco's "Ur-Fascism," there are 14 points that define fascism—and Trumpism does come eerily close to checking off all 14 boxes. But others say accusing Trump and his supporters of fascism and comparing America to Nazi Germany disrespects actual victims of fascism. It's just hysteria and sour grapes from liberals who lost power. What do you think?
Could fascism become a reality in America?
The hard part about talking about fascism is defining what fascism even is. Umberto Eco wrote "Ur-Fascism" to do just that.
Eco argues fascism has features that distinguish it from other political ideologies, and so far, writer Matthew Gault says there's no dispute here on Trump:
He’s a fascist. Plain and simple. When I sat down to write this article, go through the checklist and find supporting documentation, I didn’t realize it would be so easy — nor did I think Trump would meet all 14 criteria.
But many others say this assessment is just more hysterical Chicken Little overreaction from liberal critics. The goal of a true fascist is to destroy democracy and replace it. Trump, instead, seems to be an opportunist who happened to realize his populist chants worked well on the campaign trail. He and his allies may share some traits with fascists, but he is no fascist.
Trump’s xenophobic rhetoric, his demagoguery, and his populist appeals to citizens’ economic anxieties certainly borrow from the fascist playbook... But Trump is, fundamentally, a blustering political opportunist courting votes in a democratic system; he has not called for the violent overthrow of the system itself. And whereas it can be impossible to discern any logic or strategy in Trump’s campaign, the fascists who marched on Rome in 1922 were relentlessly, violently focused on a clear goal: to kill democracy and install a dictatorship.
Others say cries of fascism and Nazism reveal how divided America truly is, and how much we demonize those who disagree with us politically.
America is deeply divided, but it’s not divided between fascists and Democrats. It may be more accurate to say that America is divided between the elites and everybody else, and Trump’s election was a rejection of the elites.
Trump is attacking the establishment and that's what has people scared. His supporters don't see him as a fascist, but as someone who's finally willing to stand up for them in Washington, D.C.
In many ways, the 2016 election wasn’t just a referendum on Obama’s eight years in the White House, it was a rejection of the entire political system that gave us Iraq, the financial crisis, a botched healthcare law and shocking income inequality during a slow economic recovery. From Akron to Alaska, millions of Americans had simply lost confidence in their leaders and the institutions that were supposed to serve them. In their desperation, they turned to a man who had no regard for the elites – and no use for them.
A militaristic society, based on totalitarian one-party rule and total control of mass media? Writer Paul Ratner says we're not there yet–not even close.
The word "fascism" is a favorite insult for many, especially in light of the current political climate. If you aren’t already calling them Hitler, tying whoever you oppose to fascism is a great hyperbolic second. Most of the time, however, the word is not used correctly, ignoring historical precedent and the specific conditions that need to exist for a country to go fascist.
Still: some argue there are some unsettling correlations between Il Duce and our current Commander-in-Chief.
Whether or not you're a fan of Trump, many think throwing around terms like "Nazi" and "fascist" degrades the entire debate.
Calling people who disagree with you fascists is quickly going out of style...— Kyle CW Landry (@klandry1023) June 26, 2017
If you call people who disagree with you "nazis" and "fascists," never expect to earn my respect.— Andrew Massoud (@AndrewMassoud) June 23, 2017