Heil dem amerikanischen Faschistenführer!
PRESIDENT-elect Donald Trump: fascist sociopath, vulgarian, sexual predator, liar, racist, vindictive boor, misogynist, narcissist, anti-Semite, know-nothing lackwit, immigrant basher, Islamophobe, deadbeat, Holocaust denier, climate change denier, TV loudmouth, huckster, hypocrite, bankruptcy court habitué, xenophobe, accused fraudster (in seventy-five pending lawsuits), purveyor of Chinese sweatshop schmata, faux billionaire, tax dodger, failed hotelier, failed casino magnate, gun fanatic, admirer of Russian and North Korean autocrats.
Dark Days in the U.S.A.
‘White America Has Lost Its Mind’
The Resistible Rise of Donald Trump
by Thomas Adcock
Copyright © 2016 – Thomas Adcock
NEW YORK CITY, near America
Six years ago, the cover story of the weekly Village Voice newspaper was announced with a deceivingly amusing headline: “White America Has Lost Its Mind.” Judging from the demographics of Donald J. Trump’s success in the November 8 presidential election here in the United States, amusement has proven prescient. Recollecting an earlier Election Day, in November 2008, journalist Steven Thrasher opened his Voice jeremiad with this:
It had been a pretty good run up to that point. The brains of white folks had been humming along cogently for near on four hundred years on this continent, with little sign that any serious trouble was brewing. White people, after all, had managed to invent a spiffy new form of self-government so that all white men (and, eventually, women) could have a say in how white people were taxed and governed.
White minds had also nearly universally occupied just about every branch of that government and, for more than two centuries, had kept sole possession of the leadership of its executive branch (whose parsonage, after all, is called the White House).
But when that streak was broken—and, for the first time, a non-white president accepted the oath of office—white America rapidly began to lose its grip. As with other forms of dementia, the signs weren’t obvious at first…
But they are now, and certainly were during the past eighteen months of candidate Trump’s repulsive election campaign—a hodgepodge of fascistic tirades, personal insults, proud ignorance, and crazed Twitter rants emitted in the tiny hours from his gilded Manhattan penthouse atop the eponymous Trump Tower.
No matter, Donald John Trump became president-elect on November 8 thanks to the votes of 60,583,838 ill-informed white suckers and a sea of bigots in mindless league with greedy plutocrats—along with an abomination called the Electoral College. A constitutional measure adopted in 1787, the latter is an ironic mistake made by America’s founders, who believed—ironically, given present circumstances—that an ill-informed citizenry in the thrall of an ignorant, authoritarian bigot of plutocratic caste could not be trusted to choose its supreme leader directly.
Thus, the Electoral College as an indirect mechanism: The polity votes for state slates of “electors” rather than the candidate himself or herself. This time, Mr. Trump defeated his Democratic Party opponent, Hillary Clinton, by 290 to 228 of these indirect votes. Never mind that Mrs. Clinton earned a substantial plurality of the popular vote (61,350,758), edging her Republican Party counterpart by 766,920—and counting; analysts expect that number to go well past a million once the tally of absentee ballots is completed.
As I write, a highly successful production of Bertolt Brecht’s “The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui” is playing at New York’s Phoenix Theatre. An allegory about Adolf Hitler and his followers, written in 1941, it is the trenchant tale of a laughable crook turned world-class gangster, thanks to the cult of personality he offered ordinary, ill-informed folks. Shades of our present day! The splendid cynic H.L. Mencken (1880-1956) foresaw the resistible rise of Donald Trump. “On some great and glorious day,” Mr. Mencken wrote in the July 26, 1920 edition of the Baltimore Sun newspaper, “the plain folks of the land will reach their hearts’ desire at last, and the White House will be occupied by a downright fool and narcissistic moron.”
In 2011, citizen Trump formalized a white racist crusade against Barack Obama by dispatching private detectives to Hawaii to investigate a right-wing conspiracy theory: The president’s birth certificate, issued by a hospital in Honolulu, was a forgery; in truth, according to Trumpanian crackpots, Mr. Obama first drew breath in Kenya, home country of his African father.
Mr. Trump warned that such document fakery would violate his own extra-juridical interpretation of U.S. constitutional law. As he told NBC- Television, “It would be the biggest scam in history—period. …I have people [in Hawaii] that (sic) have been studying it and they cannot believe what they’re finding. You are not allowed to be a president if you’re not born in this country. Right now, I have real doubts.” (NOTE: Eight of America’s first nine presidents were foreign-born. Three Republican contenders, from 1968 to now, were likewise infants abroad. Mr. Trump makes no objection to these “scams.”)
Led by Mr. Trump, the “birther movement” metamorphosed into a tripartite Republican cause in January 2009 when a black man moved into the White House, built by African slaves: 1) delegitimize the Obama presidency, 2) discredit Mr. Obama’s political legacy, 3) disparage his personal integrity.
And thanks to his hateful campaign speeches, Mr. Trump became the darling of the Republican Party’s increasingly emboldened rump group—the white supremacist universe of homegrown nazis and Ku Klux Klansmen, whose respective official journals happily endorsed his candidacy. Unaffiliated bigots— rank-and-file Republicans and several party members in Congress—piled on to the fevered birther fantasy by insinuating that Mr. Obama sympathized with Middle Eastern terrorists because, nudge-nudge-wink-wink, the president’s middle name is Hussein.
On April 10, during a campaign appearance in Sunrise, Florida, Mr. Trump himself portrayed President Obama as creator of the terrorist organization Da’esh—known in American media as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS. “He’s the founder of ISIS,” Mr. Trump thundered. “He’s the founder! He founded ISIS! …[T]hey honor President Obama.” To date, Mr. Trump has not withdrawn this slander, nor mentioned any commemorative honor bestowed upon President Obama by ISIS murderers.
Nor has he produced a report of an alleged forgery investigation. Nor has he disclosed to media the names of his detectives—or the agency that supposedly employs them. Corporate media asks, tacitly, that we forget about Mr. Trump’s solemn promise to disclose what he held out as “stunning” findings of Mr. Obama’s duplicity.
On September 16 in Washington, Mr. Trump at long last gave up the ghost with a single sentence, grudgingly delivered to an assembly of reporters he tricked into attending the gala opening of a new hotel with the promise of coming clean on birtherism: “President Obama was born in America—period.” This was surely the only time his followers doubted the Word of Trump. According to a poll conducted by NBC-TV that same month, seventy-two percent of Mr. Trump’s Republican co-religionists subscribed to the Kenyan birthplace nonsense. Seventy-two percent.
We may now consider Tuesday, November 8, 2016 as a date that shall live in infamy—on several levels, among which are:
- The next U.S. president was chosen despite the vicious misogyny he voiced during a candid moment in early October, recorded for our listening displeasure: “I see her, she’s got the big phony tits and everything…I tried to fuck her. She’s married. …I’m automatically attracted to beautiful [women]—I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.” So far, twelve women have come forward to confirm exactly such behavior.
- According to a Washington Post analysis, fifty-three percent of women voters preferred a self-acknowledged “pussy-grabber” over Mrs. Clinton, thought to become the nation’s first female president. Fifty-three percent. Of women.
- Federal election officials report that only fifty-five percent of America’s eligible voters bothered to show up at the polls—the lowest turnout in twenty years.
A fascist pig who lost the popular vote became America’s president-elect on November 8—a dark day and a triumph of stupidity, the sine qua non of bigotry in all its forms.
Along with the majority of my fellow citizens, I feel as if I’ve been punched in the gut. A woman friend says she feels as if she’s delivered a dead baby.
On June 16, 2015 Mr. Trump announced his candidacy in the salmon pink lobby of Trump Tower, fifty-eight floors of phallic glass-and-chrome ugliness, built on the cheap by undocumented workers from Poland. For the most part, his audience consisted of way-off-Broadway actors paid $50 each (€44.97) to applaud his hateful denunciations of workers from Mexico, undocumented and otherwise.
“They’re bringing crime, they’re rapists,” the candidate bellowed. He allowed, however: “Some, I assume, are good people.” No one believed that a man with an absurdly orange face and what my six-year-old grandson calls “weird yellow hair” was a serious contender. Surely not this incompetent, cheapskate businessman forever trying to make us believe in his entrepreneurial magnificence—not. Surely not this man of zero government experience, long in the habit of rendering odious opinions on presidential policy. No, this floorshow was simply another of Darling Donald’s public relations stunts, one more absurdity in his unceasing quest for attention.
“Absurd” was the word most used by political rivals and media pundits to describe Mr. Trump’s overreaching ambition. They pronounced him “clown” and “carnival barker.” The New York Daily News, a peppy tabloid, occasioned the campaign announcement with an especially memorable cover page. History informs us that absurdity and clownish behavior must not always be mistaken as inconsequence. Yet how often do we stop to consider that clowns and carnival barkers might have a dark side to their personal moons? Or do we view them as actors of no more dimension than that of a circus punchinello?
Mr. Trump’s traveling circus has packed up and left the scene in jobless town after jobless town throughout post-industrial America—where men who once made steel and assembled cars get drunk at night and kick their dogs, or their wives; where neighbors and friends ingest opioids to erase the pain and sorrow of their dead-end lives. The circus left behind this rabbling audience of suckers yearning for the communion of a big top, a carnival barker’s hypnotic spiel, the dubious balm of an absurd clown.
The rabble’s fists are clenched. Clubs and torches are at the ready. Fingers are eager to pull the triggers of guns more plentiful than people in America, population 324,118,787. How might we protect ourselves from an armed and madding crowd?
“Unfortunately, the drama is not likely to end soon,” according to an essay in the October 31 edition of the monthly New Yorker magazine. “The aftereffects of this campaign may befoul our civic life for some time to come.”
And as essayist Frank Bruni writes in the New York Times: “There’s no end here, just a punctuation mark, a measly comma between the rancor that has built…and the fury to come. …[T]here’s no way to un-see what all of us have seen over these past eighteen months, to bottle up what has been un-bottled.”
On the lighter side, there is Melania Trump, née Melajina Knavs. Until recent years, she was an émigré from Slovenia who made her mark as a nude model, as shown here grabbing her…wherever.
In her earliest years on these shores, she posed without benefit of work papers, thus leading a life that immigrant-hating Trumpanoics and the evangelical Christianist wing of the Republican Party might normally denounce. But Mrs. Trump is white, of course, and therefore deserving of subsequent chances—and White House residency.
On the other hand, the current First Lady is black; therefore, she was excoriated by Republicans when—horrors!—she appeared in public last summer in a sleeveless dress. I am in hopes that the incoming First Lady will appear fully clothed for inaugural balls come January.
Like her husband, Melania Trump is a liar. In American media interviews, she claimed to hold a degree in architecture from the University Ljubljana, which newspaper exposés in that city and elsewhere in Slovenia found untrue. Mrs. Trump also denied knowing of her older half-brother, Denis Cigelnjak, the out-of-wedlock son of Melania’s father. Recently, the Daily Mail of London blew up that little family secret, complete with a photograph of Denis, who lives in the remote village of Hrastnik, an hour’s drive from Ljubljana. “When the dust settles following the U.S. presidential election,” Mr. Cigelnjak told the Daily Mail, “I would like to go out with my father [Viktor Knavs] and my two sisters [Melania Trump and Ines Knavs] for a drink or a pizza.”
It is doubtful that Mrs. Trump will grant her half-brother’s wish. For one thing, nude models must eschew pizza in the interest of body beautiful. For another, she has her hands full raising 10-year-old Barron Trump, her son by Donald and the youngest of Trump père’s five children by three wives. Known as “Little Donald,” Barron has been responsible for the dismissal of two nannies thus far.
Let the family circus begin. It may offer comic relief from a President Trump—I gag as I write those words—and the international fascist onslaught he has joined.
A triumphant Trump offers no less than “the emergence of a new world,” gushes Marine LePen, leader of the far-right National Front of France. Her fascist comrade Geert Wilders of the Dutch Freedom Party declares, “A historic victory! A revolution! We are witnessing the same uprising on both sides of the Atlantic.” Equally delighted are European extreme rightists Viktor Orban, prime minister of Hungary, and Heinz-Christian Strache, leader of Austria’s Freedom Party; and Nigel Farage of Britain’s U.K. Independence Party—the man who engineered his country’s vote to leave the European Union and who actually appeared with Mr. Trump on the U.S. campaign trail.
And let us not forget the Alternative für Deutschland party, whose leader Frauke Petry compares U.S.-style multicultural societies open to migrants with “compost heaps.” She proclaimed the Trump victory as a “fresh start” for America. Her American admirers flooded Trump campaign rallies to jeer at journalists with shouts of “Lügenpresse!” (In English, “lying press.”)
The American political landscape has long nurtured European-style nazis and fascists—Virgil Seward Bishop in the 1920s, Heinrich Spanknöbel and Virgil Effinger in the 1930s; Joseph E. McWilliams and Robert Henry Best in the 1940s; George Lincoln Rockwell in the 1950s. Nowadays it is Andrew Anglin, who fashions his Daily Stormer website after Julius Streicher’s Der Stürmer.
Repellent as they were—and are, in Mr. Anglin’s case—we may not compare them to Donald Trump’s bona fides: He has sired the most powerful iteration of American fascism by conquering one-half the two-party American political establishment; he has become commander-in-chief of the world’s biggest and most aggressive military machine.
Further, he has appointed one Stephen Bannon—most recently the publisher of Breitbart News, America’s foremost platform for white supremacist and anti-Semitic sentiments—as “chief strategist” for the Trump administration that begins January 20. Usually operating under the radar, Mr. Bannon agreed to a radio interview in 2011 in which he characterized a group of prestigious all-women universities as campuses for “a bunch of dykes.” His ex-wife said in a court deposition accompanying a divorce petition that her husband “didn’t want [their daughters] going to school with Jews” because Jews “raise their kids to be ‘whiny brats.’”
Should he survive demands by Democrats that his appointment be rescinded, Mr. Bannon will occupy a White House suite a few doors away from the Oval Office of the new president.
At the core of Trumpism is a worldview seemingly inspired by one of history’s most evil tracts—“The Protocols of the Meetings of the Learned Elders of Zion,” a made-up cancer metastasized worldwide. First published in 1903 by Russian anti-Semites, “Protocols” remains in print throughout the world; in Ms. LePen’s France, it is “Le Peril Juif” (The Jewish Peril). It purports to be the minutes of a secret conference at which nineteenth century Jewish aristocrats plotted global domination through control of international finance and media, and the disintegration of nation-states; to be clear, Christian states. Mr. Trump reached back to that time and fictive event in damning Hillary Clinton during an October 13 campaign speech in West Palm Beach, Florida:
[A] global power structure…is responsible for the economic decisions that have robbed our working class, stripped our country of its wealth…The Clinton machine is at the center of this power structure…Hillary Clinton meets in secret with international banks to plot the destruction of U.S. sovereignty in order to enrich these global financial powers, her special interest friends, and her donors…the New York Times, and other media outlets.
Our great civilization, here in America and across the world, has come upon a moment of reckoning.
With no need of his articulation, Mr. Trump’s followers assume the religious devotions of nameless international bankers he references. For as Mr. Trump often says on occasions of his spewing hate, “You know what I’m talking about.” Likewise, his legions (correctly) assume the Hebraic affiliations of the family-owned New York Times, arguably the most important U.S. newspaper and a journal of global influence.
A moment of reckoning indeed.
There is one bright spot in the Trump gut-punch. It gleams in the streets of large and small cities throughout the U.S.—streets filled with young and old of all colors and creeds, united in the legendary counsel of Joe Hill (1879-1915), martyred poet and songwriter of the working-class. Upon his execution by firing squad in 1915—a miscarriage of justice having less to do with dubious criminal guilt than Mr. Hill’s resistance to cruelties of his era at the hands of plutocrats like Donald Trump—he said, “Don’t mourn. Organize!”
I thought of Joe Hill on Saturday, November 12 as I took my two grandchildren to bear witness to an American patriotism that is not within Mr. Trump’s ability to comprehend or respect. I took them to Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue, shut down from Union Square at East 14th Street clear up to Trump Tower at East 58th Street. Tens of thousands of New Yorkers marched to protest the bigotry and bile spewed by Donald Trump since last June.
My personal favorites in the sea of banners and signs: “Pussy Grabs Back!” and “White Silence = Violence.”
Mr. Trump has made use of Twitter to announce his opinion of such spectacle: “Now professional protestors, incited by the media, are protesting. Very unfair!” Former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, a right-wing Republican and Trump campaigner, called the peaceful demonstrators “goons and thugs.” Mr. Giuliani, who announced divorce proceedings on television prior to informing his wife, is odds-on-favorite for confirmation by a Republican majority in the U.S. Senate to be America’s next secretary of state.
Tonight, as I write shortly past midnight, I see the president-elect sulking in the garish splendor of his triplex penthouse atop the Trump Tower. I see Melania wisely gone to bed. Perhaps she dreams of being a girl once again in Slovenia; perhaps she dreams of having pizza with Denis.
The penthouse is all gilt and marble, per the pre-revolution Palace of Versailles—home to Louis XIV (1638-1715), known as the “Sun King” after the heavenly body that gives life to all things, and regulates all things as it rises and sets each day. Mr. Trump’s version of Versailles has a main entry door of twenty-four karat gold, encrusted with diamonds. Ceilings are painted in depictions of Greek mythology. The great room is dominated by a statue of Eros & Psyche, the Greek god of sexual love.
Perhaps the American sun king is thinking about what he should say of the day’s coast-to-coast “professional” protests, within the constraint of Twitter’s word count. I hear him thinking, briefly as is his habit: “Out, damn bright spot!”
—Thomas Adcock is America correspondent for CulturMag
Former essays by Thomas Adcock in this matter:
LitMag, 3. Oktober 2016: November Surprise. Justice Delayed, but Not Denied. Make the Graybar Hotel great again.
CrimeMag, 15. September 2016: Goebbels Envy. Donald Does the ‘Long Con’. Set the dial for ‘alt-right’ Trump TV.
LitMag, 1. September 2016: Congress At Work – Keeping the U.S.A. Safe for Massacre. Potential assassination foretold?
CrimeMag, 30. Juli 2016: Fear & Loathing in Ohio. Donald Trump’s Fascist Bacchanal. True-believers: Death to Hillary Clinton!
CrimeMag, 15. Juni 2016: Why is This Man Laughing?. ‘Are Americans, Like, Stupid?’ The genius & menace of ‘Glorious Leader’.
CrimeMag, 17. Juni 2016: Toilet Panic! Right-Wingers in Sexual Frenzy. Ted Cruz thrills the hateful faithful.
CrimeMag, 15. April 2016: How America Got Punk’d. Bang! Bang! You’re dead in Cleveland?
CrimeMag, 15. März 2016: Bigots, Bibles & Bombs. America’s Dangerous Political Season. The beast is loose.
CrimeMag, 15. Februar 2016: The Orthodoxy of Unreality. America Through the Looking Glass. ‘We don’t need no stinkin’ facts’.
CrimeMag, 21. Januar 2016: ‘Onward Christian [Suckers],. Marching as to War’. Muslim-hating madness & daily massacres in Jesusland.
CrimeMag, 5. Dezember 2015: Fear & Fascism. Repugnant Pursuit of the American Presidency. Terrorism’s refugees as scapegoats du jour.
CrimeMag, 4. November 2015: ‘Waist Deep in the Big Muddy’. American Empire, R.I.P.