Some observers have drawn parallels between the current political scene in the United States and what occurred in Germany during the 1930s. It was at that time eight decades ago that Germany, facing serious economic problems and having to deal with a war that it could not win, turned to fascism.
Although many Americans feel that the U.S. Constitution and its political structure will shield them from the type of extremism that claimed Germany, they should take some time to identity the elements of fascism and whether any of them are present today. These are the issues to be considered:
•The Rise of Nationalism
It was Donald Trump who as a presidential candidate suggested “walling off” the southern part of the country to protect it from those with darker skin tones and who spoke a different language. Trump spoke of “America first” in his inaugural address and has adopted this policy as chief executive.
•Human Rights Abuses
Many consider access to medical care as a human right, but not Trump and his fellow Republicans. According to the findings of the U.S. Congressional Budget Office, the health plan passed by the Republican-controlled House of Representatives and supported by Trump would take away health coverage for 14 million Americans by 2018. That figure would rise to 21 million in 2020 and 24 million by 2026, which means that Trump would continue to harm Americans long after he is out of office, even if he serves two full terms!
•Blaming Foreigners for America’s Problems
The day he announced his candidacy for president, Trump went to work attacking others, claiming that the people “sent” by Mexico included “criminals” and “rapists.” He did “assume” that some are good, but this could be interpreted to mean that none of them may be good. Later in the campaign, he proposed that Muslims be totally banned from entering the United States, a religious test would certainly violate the U.S. Constitution.
•Attacking the Principle of a Free Press
It was Trump who described television network polls that viewed him unfavorably as “fake” news. Additionally, presidential counselor Kellyanne Conway once defended what she described as “alternative facts,” which generated a vehement reaction from “Meet the Press” moderator Chuck Todd.
•Corruption and Cronyism
The blind trust into which Trump placed his businesses, supposedly to avoid explicit constitutional restrictions on conflicts of interest, was described as “not even halfway blind” by Walter Schaud, the director of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics. With regard to the issue of cronyism, or in this case nepotism, both Trump’s daughter and son-in-law have been brought into the White House as unpaid advisers.
Trump once said that if Ivanka were not his daughter, “perhaps” he would consider dating her. Trump’s outrageous attitudes toward women are well known, include his infamous comment on the bus that as a “star” you can do “whatever you want,” including grabbing a woman by her most sensitive area.
There are other elements of fascism that also should be considered, most of which can be easily linked to Trump and his administration. These include obsession with national security, close ties to big business and, of course, fradulent elections. It is the last of these that may well have put Trump in the White House!