Archive - Mar 14, 2016

The Original German

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Memo to Return of Kings' Writers: SELF-AWARENESS. LOOK INTO IT.

Normally this would be Men's Rights Monday, and as much as I'd love to click on the Perfect Shitstorm that is the headline "How Feminism Dried Up The Ovaries Of Lena Dunham", I think we need to talk about Trump, The Fascist.

Recently, a few people have pointed out that Trump's new schtick of having people raise their right arms and pledge to vote for him is a bit reminiscent of another deformed-crotched leader who had people salute with their arms outstretched in the 1940s. When this was pointed out to Trump, he of course pled a completely believable ignorance, telling Matt Lauer "Almost everybody in the room raises their hand, we’re having a good time. I never knew it was a problem.”

After which he kept doing it because, well, it annoys his opponents, and there is no higher calling for a wingnut than being convinced what you're doing is right because someone told you it was wrong. Of course, the reason the salute is drawing notice is because it's the icing on the fascist cake.

Don't get me wrong. Donald Trump is not Hitler. He's Hitler-adjacent. He may love quotes from Mussolini, but he's not Mussolini. He's Mussolinesque. I'm not even sure he's an intentional fascist. But he's totally a fascist. He's a modern fascist.

In some ways, it's like we're living through The Wave, that completely unrealistic after-school special from the 80s where a teacher's school project to prove how easy it is for people to slide into fascim causes a high school to essentially become Nazi High. Nobody's actually trying to be fascist, it's just that the fascism playbook contains a set of strategies that work very well, and, well, Donald Trump loves success.

The past several days have brought out the uglier aspects of Trump's proto-fascism. A protester got punched at a Trump rally last week, and over the weekend, Trump continued his weird say a thing, then say the opposite of the thing in the same sentence and let everyone hear what they need to hear about, well, beating the shit out of anyone who opposes them. He also blamed the protests on the Jews. Well, OK. A Jew. Bernie Sanders. But the subtext was there.

And his enablers in the media, Sean Hannity in particular, continue to enable him for a variety of reasons. First, they all love fascism. Second, they can't admit to themselves that they love it, therefore the thing they love can't possibly be fascism. Third, and most importantly, they need to win. You saw it when all the other GOP candidates who think Trump would be a disaster still said he'd be less of a disaster than a centrist, hawkish Democrat with heavy corporate ties. Because winning and tribalism.

This is why Trump kinda needs to win the Republican nomination. In a lot of ways, the Trump candidacy is lancing a boil in American politics. There's been this nasty shit bubbling up pretty much since white people lost the Civil Rights battle of the 60s, and Trump's run has popped the increasingly thin skin covering it. If things go right, this could be surprisingly healthy for America.

The problem is, of course, things rarely go right. After you lance a boil, you actually have to treat the underlying infection, and we're very, very bad at even admitting that the infection exists, even when we're covered head to toe in extravagant, luxurious Trump-brand pus.

But the alternative, at this point, is for Trump to be narrowly defeated by Ted Cruz, and for voters to breathe a sigh of relief at having dodged the fascist bullet, and therefore be totally comfortable voting for the hardcore wingnut theocrat who looks like he's wearing someone else's skin on his face. And pretend everything was back to normal in the shining city on the hill.