Thursday, May 05, 2016

We've Forgotten Recent History

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.



Lorne said...

It is interesting to note, Owen, now that Trump has virtually clinched the nomination, his handlers are obviously busy reworking his public persona. While he still espouses the kinds of things that Giroux discusses, he does so with a more subdued, 'reasonable' tone.

Optics are everything these days, and one fears that those who paid little attention to Trump earlier will now begin to seriously consider him. To see what I mean, take a look at the interview he gave to Lester Holt last night:

Owen Gray said...

Are we to believe that people who were categorically opposed to Trump have changed their minds, Lorne? Someone lied or is lying.

Dana said...

They're Republican politicians. Lying is axiomatic.

Owen Gray said...

For Trump, Dana, Truth is an alien.

The Mound of Sound said...

Trump is certainly the most outspoken of his genre, Owen, but he's not the first. There's been a rising tide of xenophobia, racism and fascism in America. There are many aspects to this. The transition from a democratic to a transactional government is one. 9/11 drove an ascendancy of state power over individual rights and freedoms. I recall one comedian who said the only way Obama could get Republican support in Congress was if he reinstated slavery. Many thought that the election of a black president would quell racism in the US but it did just the opposite. America has become one festering, open sore - the ideal milieu for an infectious disorder such as Trump. He can even flirt with the KKK and get away with it. America, or a significant segment of it, is groomed and ready to be ruled by a monster.

Owen Gray said...

As Giroux says, Mound, this situation has been brewing for forty years -- from the beginning of the Republican counter revolution. Trump is the final product of that resentful reaction.

Pamela Mac Neil said...

This is just speculation of course Owen, but I wonder if Trump does become President, that the power elite with Trump leading the charge will institute complete suppression of dissent and full fascist control over the American people. After all, isn't this what American Imperialism, domestically, has been leading up to.The power elite are getting pretty close to having created a Market State. Donald Trump would be a perfect patsy in taking Neoliberalism to its ultimate authoritatian dominant end.

Owen Gray said...

The irony is, Pam, that he's using resentment of the corporate state to engineer its triumph. He's a master when it comes to running cons.