(“The media should be embarrassed and humiliated and keep its mouth shut and just listen for awhile”—Steve Bannon, official chief Trump propagandist.)
President Donald Trump’s erratic behavior during his first few days in office have only confirmed fears the country is devolving into a neofascist state governed by an unhinged yet calculating, lying authoritarian leader.
For me to go over the bucket list of Trump’s political moves and rambling utterances—some of which are entirely disconnected from reality—during his first week as president serves no useful purpose in terms of the resistance to the emerging fascism, at least as I see it. It’s Trump’s strategy to flood the field with bizarre, outlandish claims and now shifting presidential edicts, which fragments what could be an unified response to the nightmare that is upon us.
One group focuses on his lie and juvenile fixation about how he actually won the popular vote in November over Hillary Clinton. Others deal with his threats against sanctuary cities and immigrants. Another organization deals with Trump’s obvious disdain for reproductive rights for women. Yet other people focus on Trump’s lack of interest in preserving LGBT rights, let alone advancing them. People, and rightly so, deal minutely with Trump’s intended unraveling of our health care system and what it will mean. We’re too busy keeping up instead of speaking up.
As Trump might put it himself, he wins identity politics the greatest ever. How we define ourselves politically and personally is vastly important as is the embrace of the plethora of individuals and groups that, in the past, has made our country stand out among nations. But our country’s history, one that includes the government’s attempted genocide of indigenous people, slavery and racial discrimination tells the nation’s darker hateful and violent side, one that shouldn’t be forgotten as Trump attempts to degrade and fragment his opposition. It will not be one person—though leaders will emerge—or one group that will create a successful resistance to this new and very real chapter of American horror.
It will, perhaps to state the obvious, take the unification of different stakeholders in the progressive movement for any successful response to Trump. Whenever we’re mocked in the media or by the GOP for our disparate concerns with mantras like “those crazy protestors are all over the place” know that this is our strength just as long as we remain committed to the overall cause of resisting fascism. We can’t forget the larger goal as we express our identities and individual concerns.
As a part of remaining focused, I want to address only three issues that emerged during Trump’s first week. Those issues are (1) his lies about how he won the popular vote, (2) his clamping down on freedom of speech and (3) the information, questions and arguments that have emerged about Trump’s mental stability. Viewed as a pattern, these issues should terrify any rational person.
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