Thursday, November 24, 2016

I'm Not Crying

A number of people in my social media feeds seem to be taking the attitude that people like me are crying over the recent election, and that we should "get over it" - they way they claim they did when Obama won. This premise is flawed on a couple of levels.

I am obviously among those people who are angry and outraged that Donald Trump is going to be President. Despite losing the popular vote, and despite demonstrating a complete lack of understanding of our Constitution or how a government should be run, he stands poised to be elected by the Electoral College on 19 December. I'd prefer not to see that happen.

I was angry that the only other choice burped up by our admittedly flawed two-party system was Hillary Clinton. As awful as I felt she was, though, Donald Trump has demonstrated that he shares all of her flaws, plus a few of his own which should have disqualified him from running for any office - let alone the highest elected office in the land.

I remember all too well how the people telling me to "get over it" behaved after Obama was elected. I will preemptively point out that if you tell me it's not fair to lump you in with the Tea Party demonstrators who burned and hung Obama in effigy at their protests, or who proudly pasted "Don't Re-Nig in 2012" bumper stickers on their trucks, then it's also not fair to lump me in with the anti-Trump protesters who are accused of rioting and property damage.

Of course, the elephant in the room is still the racist, white nationalist support for Donald Trump. Conservative and liberal politicians and their various supporters have been calling each other fascists for as long as I remember. We've even coined the term "Godwin's Law" to describe the phenomenon of throwing comparisons to Hitler around in Internet conversation.

Hydra - because they're totally not Nazis
But things are different now that Trump is appointing people like Breitbart CEO Steve Bannon to his administration. People try to describe Bannon as a "hard core conservative," but his ideas have nothing to do with American conservatism. American conservatives are actually economic liberals; they are constitutionalists (sometimes to a fault), and ought to be as virulently anti-fascist as I am.

Yet, former Breitbart writer, Ben Shapiro, appearing on Slate's The Gist podcast (interview starts at the 7:39 mark), described his former boss this way: "[Steve Bannon] doesn't like Constitutional Conservatism; he thinks that it's an obstacle in the way of building Third wave movement...that is focused on heavy spending, even some redistribution inside the country..."

This isn't the only red flag. Here's a quick matchup of tips for identifying fascism along with a handy, illustrative link for each:

- Nationalism: (National Review) Nationalists for a Smaller America

- Disdain for human rights: (Washington Post) Trump's election threatens human rights around the world

- Identification of enemies of the state: (Snopes) Trump's Transition Team Reportedly Mulls 'Muslim Registry'

- Supremacy of the military: (Foreign Policy) Military Experts: Trump Defense Spending Plans Would Break the Budget

- Rampant sexism: (New Yorker) Donald Trump's Unconscious Unending Sexism

- Controlled mass media: (Business Insider) Trump reportedly explodes at media bigwigs in off-record meeting

- Obsession with national security: (NPR) Trump's Appointments Provide Insight Into National Security Strategy

- Religion and government are intertwined: (Religion News Service) Why the Christian right still supports Trump
and (Americans United) H.R. 2802, the deceptively named “First Amend­ment Defense Act” (FADA)

- Corporate power is protected: (Fortune) Donald Trump's New D.C. Hotel Could Be Popular With Foreign Diplomats: Report

- Labor power is suppressed: (The Atlantic) When America Was 'Great,' Taxes Were High, Unions Were Strong, and Government Was Big

- Disdain for intellectuals & the arts: (CNN) 'Hamilton' is Trump's dead cat

- Obsession with crime & punishment: (Marshall Project) Law and Order Trumps Reform
(also relevant: from Fortune) Netflix's '13th' Explores 'Modern Slavery' in Incendiary New Documentary

- Rampant cronyism & corruption: (New York Times) Donald Trump's Business Dealings Test a Constitutional Limit
and (Washington Post) Why Donald Trump’s family being in the White House is problematic, explained

If we were playing Fascism Bingo, I think I'd have a blackout card.

This is stuff that all of us, liberal or conservative, ought to be guarding against. If you're busy enjoying all of the "liberal tears" after this election, or ranting that people like me should "get over it," you might be missing the warning signs.

For my part, I'm not crying. I'm watching.

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