Letter: Trump is telling us who he is

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Editor of the Reformer,

I appreciated Tim Kipp's thoughtful analysis of our current situation ("Trump is a seismically more dangerous demagogue," April 13). The idea of resiliency of our democratic structures as Mr Kipp presents struck me as overly optimistic. Mr. Kipp wrote,"We will never become a pre-World War II authoritarian regime, but any further erosion of our democratic structures will only bring further harm to our most marginalized citizens." After evaluating the health of American institutions presently, I believe Mr Kipp misses an important point, and that is the undermining and eventual transformation of those institutions into a simple foil, becoming a spectacle the demagogue uses for his own aggrandizement. The expression "fake news" and calling the press "the enemy of the People" is one way of destroying a free press. The void is filled by lies and false political constructs. Propaganda creates a spectacle, creates a contrast, a spectacle on the level of projecting false realities and creating a constant din of chaos in the war on a free press. Controlling the narrative is primary for the demagogue. Fascism is psychological state. Political historian Robert Paxton said fascism is a "form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation, or victimhood, and by the compensatory cults of unity, energy, and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalists militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues redemptive violence and without any legal or ethical restraints to the goals of internal cleansing and external expansion."

Marginalized is the key word in Mr Kipp's depiction of class structure in the United States today. American fascists don't have to wear uniforms, wear funny hats, and march down the street with torches to get what they want. All they have to do is fear monger and spread chaos. The corporatization and monetization of American life has created an economic disparity that is well under way and has created chaos for the majority of Americans. Marginal people are caught up in the web of insidious scapegoating as a result. The erosion of democratic principals has been constant since the rise of the ideology of greed and classism that has been the legacy of neoliberal (corporatist) policy of both parties for 50 years. Profit driven health care and pharmaceuticals is an example of that ideology. The Democratic Party's centrism set the stage for other failures. The Democrats failed by not recognizing the failures of incremental neo-liberalism and missing the chance to represent the people in 2016. Democrats achieved more success in 2018 by appealing to the needs of the people. The vulnerabilities of our voting "system" is another weakened institution. Mr Trump's recent comment about " the people on the right are tougher, but they don't play it tougher. OK? I can tell you I have the support of the police, the support of the military, the support of Bikers for Trump. I have the tough people, but they don't play it tough - until they go to a certain point, and then it would be very, very bad, " if he doesn't get his way. This may sound correctly like the ravings of a maniac, but should ring a very loud historical bell. He's telling us who he is.

Steve Belczak

South Putney, April 13

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