“IF YOU KILL ME NOW,”
Benito Mussolini reportedly
said to his Italian executioners in 1945,
“I will come back as the head
of a far more powerful nation
in need of a leader…”
Bigots, Bibles & Bombs
America’s Dangerous Political Season
The beast is loose
by Thomas Adcock
Copyright © 2016 – Thomas Adcock
NEW YORK CITY, near America
Fascism plagued much of Europe from the 1920s through the 1970s, and even somewhat beyond. Political disease of this recent past is prologue to the dangerous political season at present. I speak, of course, of the American presidential election campaign underway in a fever swamp of economic anxiety, xenophobia, racial bigotry, anti-Semitism, homophobia, anti-intellectualism, misogyny, religious zealotry, police brutality, and oligarchs beating the drums for permanent war as a fundament of foreign policy.
Historians are the chroniclers of repetitive folly, which is to say the human condition. As this is written, their emergent consensus is that European-style fascism is au courant in the United States. As best evidence: One-half the American political establishment, namely the Republican Party, offers presidential candidates who constitute a Greek chorus for old-world despots. Two of this ilk bear chilling physical resemblance to tyrants dead and buried—
- Donald J. Trump of New York is the jut-jawed doppelgänger of Benito Mussolini (1883-1945), founder of the Fascist Party and womanizing dictator of Italy during World War II. (See photo comparison preceding this essay’s headline.) A man of autocratic impulse and libertine sexuality such that Il Duce would admire, “The Donald,” as one of his three wives dubbed him, is described by the New York Times as a “shady, bombastic liar…whose quest for the presidency revolves around targeting religious and racial minorities and people with disabilities, who flirts with white supremacists and the Ku Klux Klan, who ridicules and slanders those who disagree with him.”
Mussolini’s thugish camcie nere, known as blackshirts, beat up thousands of Italians who dared protest his fascist rallies; hundreds were murdered. Consider this. Trumpist political rallies provide press credentials to writers and radio broadcasters from white supremacist media; phalanxes of thugs, both paid and volunteer, are likewise welcome. African Americans, Latinos, and Mus
lims are routinely assaulted at these rallies, egged on by The Donald as he roars throaty approval. Columnist Shaun King of the New York Daily News observed one such rally, on March 2, at which dozens of black-shirted neo-nazis of the Traditionalist Workers Party (eagle-emblazoned logo at right) pummeled an African American woman—an episode he described as “not just racist…it appears to be outright criminal.” Mr. King concluded, “It’s only a matter of time before someone gets killed at future events.”
- Ted Cruz is a U.S. senator from Texas and the anointed son of radical Christianist preacher/huckster Rafael Cruz of the International Purifying Fire Ministries. Cruz fils claims that he and his family, along with senior members of his Washington senate staff and Cruz père, spent two hours on their collective knees in consultation with the Heavenly Father and Holy Ghost Jesus prior to announcing his candidacy.
“At the end of that time,” according to a written account by Preacher/Huckster Cruz, “a word came through his wife, Heidi. And the word came, just saying, ‘seek God’s face, not God’s hand.’ And I’ll tell you, it was as if there was a cloud of the Holy Spirit filling that place. Some of us were weeping, and Ted just looked up and said, ‘Lord, here I am. Use me. I surrender to You, whatever You want.’ And he felt that was a green light to move forward.’” Senator Cruz (left) refers to President Barack Obama as “the world’s most powerful communist,” a broadside in the spirit of the late Senator Joseph McCarthy (right), the drunkard and discredited fabulist/conspiracist who led anti-communist hysteria in America during the 1950s. Today, Senator Cruz leads anti-Muslim hysteria in the U.S. Accordingly, he has issued a fatwa against Ayatollah Ali Khamenei: The man who would be America’s president vows to “introduce [Khamenei] to his seventy-two virgins.”
Respectively, Messrs. Trump and Cruz represent first and second preferences for Republican regulars currently casting votes in state-by-state preliminary contests leading to the party’s nominating convention this July in Cleveland, Ohio. Each man cleaves to the oligarchic right of the U.S. political spectrum; each man engages in personal insult, and relies on the stupidity of their flocks. Mr. Trump’s speeches are larded with lies and barnyard crudities; the permanently sneering Mr. Cruz, an alumnus of Princeton University and Harvard Law School, oozes the foul syrup of cynicism.
Last autumn, at the onset of a long intramural slog toward national party blessing, fifteen other Republicans vied to out-troglodyte the combine of Trumpist-Cruzian odium. Some in the crowded field, e.g. fetus fanatic Carly Fiorina and daft brain surgeon Ben Carson, were rank fools; others, e.g. curly-headed libertarian Rand Paul and renowned homophobe Rick Santorum, were annoying ideologues; others, notably Jeb Bush and George Pataki, induced yawning boredom. The obese duo of Chris Christie and bible-thumper Mike Huckabee—the latter’s autobiography is titled “God, Grits, Guns & Gravy”—hit the hustings with little hope of Republican nomination, although with classic expectations: Mr. Christie now quietly peddles himself as a vice-presidential candidate; Mr. Huckabee plots a return to the right-wing, radical Christianist radio and television universe from whence he came.
Meanwhile, Mr. Trump calls for murdering the wives and children of terrorists, a ban on dark complexioned non-Christian immigrants, and unabashed use of Tomás de Torquemada’s favorite torture technique. Mr. Cruz pledges to “carpet bomb” large swaths of the Middle East—damn the laws against committing war crimes, full speed ahead. Their bullyboy mouthings stink of the fascist bad breath. They are not alone in hateful rhetoric.
According to the Times, those who challenged Messrs. Trump and Cruz “[embraced] the same game of exclusion, bigotry, and character assassination.” The influential newspaper reserved special scorn for Republican also-ran Marco Rubio, the childish Florida senator who implied that Mr. Trump suffers penile paucity, and revealed that Mr. Trump apparently wet his pants during a debate. Amanda Taub, adjunct professor of international law and human rights at New York’s Fordham University, characterized Americans attracted to this season’s crop of Republicans as creepily reminiscent of the pre-World War II public in Germany: “People who score high in authoritarianism, when they feel threatened,” she wrote, “look for strong leaders who promise to take whatever action necessary to protect them from outsiders and prevent the changes they fear.”
South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, arguably the least offensive of failed Republican rivals to The Donald and the prayerful Mr. Cruz, came to his senses after his own short-lived campaign. He judges the front-runners rather harshly. During a dinner banquet address in late February before the Washington Press Club Foundation, he said Mr. Trump is “generally a loser as a person and as a candidate.” Of his god-fearing colleague in Congress, famously loathed by his fellow Republican legislators: “If you killed Ted Cruz on the floor of the Senate, nobody would convict you.”
For good measure, Mr. Graham said of Republican leadership, as well as the rank-and-file: “My party’s gone batshit crazy.”
Indeed. Republican voters continue to prefer Donald Trump above all others, despite the leading lights of his fan club:
We ♥ Fascism
‘BATSHIT CRAZY’ for Trump (from left): Jean-Marie Le Pen, founder of the anti-immigrant National Front of France; ex-Republican state legislator and neo-nazi David Duke of Louisiana; Republican Governor Paul Le Page of Maine who instructed an aide, ‘Tell ‘em to kiss my butt’ in reference to the National Association of Colored People; propaganda organ of the American Nazi Party, which has endorsed the Trump candidacy.
And this unnerving image, captured in ABC-Television news video during a March 5 campaign rally in Florida—as Donald Trump encouraged Republican voters to signify allegiance to him and his cause:
Colby Cash, a contributor to the National Post of Toronto, describes himself as “just a dumb Canadian libertarian.” In his March 4 column for the Post, he took the people of the United States to task—especially those of us who passively object to the fascist spectre of fascism:
Bien-pensants are suddenly desperate to understand this unfamiliar monster who has somehow been at the forefront of American pop culture for three decades. “Our politicians used to address themselves to the best in us — what happened?” they cry. …They deplore Trump’s blowhard rumbustiousness…[They revere] Teddy Roosevelt, who, like Trump, was born on third base with a gift for puffer-fish social tactics.
[Trump] really is like Hitler, in this: he sells absolution to those too inarticulate to explain or defend their prejudices. It is universally acknowledged that less-skilled American workers are in a bad state. …[I]f Trump is a charlatan who saw the conditions for populist agitation and crafted an opportunistic message, all I can say is: well played.
What I ask of Americans who deplore him is, what did you do about these conditions when something might have been done? Did you not think your civilization was particularly vulnerable to hucksters and loudmouths?
The closest I come to being a religious person is my Jungian-like faith in a collective unconscious allowing for two mysteries to exist in this world: free-floating good and free-floating evil. Religionists personify these forces as God and a fallen angel who became the beast known as Satan. I believe further—and perhaps Mr. Cash agrees—that people and their societies create and maintain conditions in which opposing mysteries may freely blossom.
Just now, in America, the beast is loose.
—Thomas Adcock is America correspondent for CulturMag