Now that Donald Trump has become the one and only Republican candidate for president, it's worth returning to a column that Henry Giroux wrote in December of last year. Its title was Fascism in Donald Trump's United States. Giroux wrote the column after Trump proposed banning Muslims from the country:
Donald Trump's blatant appeal to fascist ideology and policy considerations took a more barefaced and dangerous turn this week when he released a statement calling for "a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States." Trump qualified this racist appeal to voters' fears about Muslims by stating that such a ban is necessary "until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on."
The qualification, Giroux wrote, cannot cover what Trump is really about:
What almost none of the presidential candidates or mainstream political pundits have admitted, however, is not only that Trump's comments form a discourse of hate, bigotry and exclusion, but also that such expressions of racism and fascism are resonating deeply in a landscape of US culture and politics crafted by 40 years of conservative counterrevolution.
Trump's fascist politics were revealed a month earlier,
when Trump mocked Serge Kovaleski, a New York Times investigative reporter living with a disability, at a rally in South Carolina. This contemptuous reference to Kovaleski's physical disability was morally odious and painful to observe, but not in the least surprising: Trump is consistently a hatemonger and spreads his message without apology in almost every public encounter in which he finds himself. In this loathsome instance, Trump simply expanded his hate-filled discourse in a new direction, after having already established the deeply ingrained racism and sexism at the heart of his candidacy.
We've seen this kind of stuff before:
Moreover, Trump's hateful attitude toward people with disabilities points to an earlier element of Hitler's program of genocide in which people with physical and mental disabilities were viewed as disposable because they allegedly undermined the Nazi notion of the "master race." The demonization, objectification and pathologizing of people with disabilities was the first step in developing the foundation for the Nazis' euthanasia program aimed at those declared unworthy of life. This lesson seems to be lost on the mainstream media, who largely viewed Trump's despicable remarks toward people with disabilities as simply insulting.
There is a feeling these days that, if you play the Hitler card, you've lost the argument. Perhaps we've simply forgotten recent history.