The Appeal Of Fascism

A comment to a recent blog post reminded us of the overwhelming–albeit under-appreciated–power of culture. The famous banner in Bill Clinton’s war room was wrong. It isn’t “the economy, stupid”; that message should be edited to read “it’s the culture, stupid!”

The problem is, in today’s United States, there are two very different cultures. (Actually, there are many permutations within those two “mega” cultures.)

As a recent essay at the Brookings Institution site put it, despite the fact that Joe Biden won by an enormous margin (more than five million votes and counting) the size of Donald Trump’s vote is a “stark reminder of the enduring power of racism and misogyny in America.”

The essay from the usually circumspect Brookings didn’t mince words; it compared Trump’s core appeal to the appeal of fascism,

the pleasure of inflicting cruelty and humiliation on those one fears and disdains, the gratification of receiving the authoritarian’s flattery, and the exhilaration of a crowd freed from the normal strictures of law, reason and decency.

Americans are not immune to the charms of authoritarianism. We did not need Trump to know this about ourselves; racial authoritarianism has existed within and alongside our democracy from the beginning. Trump was in essence a rearguard action by those who wish to preserve the racial hierarchy that has defined America from its founding.

The rest of the article discussed the very real costs of divided government, in the event the Georgia run-offs do not deliver slim control of the Senate to the Democrats.  Those costs are clearly obvious to the people who read and comment on this blog–divided government, whatever its merits at other junctures of our national history, will make it impossible to address the structural issues that have entrenched government power in a minority party unresponsive to and contemptuous of the needs of a majority of Americans.

So what does this have to do with culture?

In the quoted language, I was most struck by the definition of “Trumpism” as a rearguard action focused on preserving white privilege. White privilege is the essence of the alt-right movement–it is clearest in the pronouncements of the Proud Boys, the Neo-Nazis, and the Klan remnants who see themselves as the protectors of “White Culture,” but it isn’t limited to those fringe movements.

We can see “white culture” in the urban/rural divide, in the sneering dismissals of “cosmopolitanism,” in the denunciations of coastal and global “elites,” and in the efforts to protect Confederate monuments as exemplars of Southern culture rather than reminders of American willingness to enslave dark people. Etc.

I was never a huge fan of John Edwards, whose Presidential campaign dissolved for a number of reasons, including his infidelity (remember when infidelity actually harmed a candidacy? talk about the “good old days”!), but he was onto something with his highlighting of the existence of “two Americas.”

Cultural change is inevitable, but it is also difficult and slow, and it creates understandable and unfortunate resentments. It will take time–and changes in both the media and social media platforms– for those resentments to abate.

Pious exhortations to more progressive Americans to “reach out” to those resisting social change aren’t just embarrassingly one-sided (no one is telling the alt-right to try to understand those dark-skinned or Jewish or Muslim “libruls”); they also have a distressing tendency to be either naive or condescending– or both.

I don’t know whether the gulf between America’s very different cultures can be narrowed or bridged. I have no suggested magic wand, but at least a part of the longer-term solution needs to be a new appreciation for the importance of public education in public schools–education that emphasizes what we diverse Americans presumably have in common: allegiance to the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and the Enlightenment approach to empiricism upon which they were constructed.

An in-depth civics education would at the very least be an inoculation against the appeal of fascism.

 

 

 

 

35 thoughts on “The Appeal Of Fascism

  1. I agree that we need an in-depth civics education. It seems to me, though, that whatever was once taught was never internalized or has been forgotten by a whole host of people. It’s those aged 40 and up, some of whom I went to high school and college with, who appear to have lost all sense of it. Or what they have managed to retain has been drowned out by a whole host of factors. It’s those factors that feel like overwhelming obstacles – misinformation, the stoking of fear and anger, racism, etc.

  2. Appeal of fascism? Not for me! I hate wearing uniforms so resistance is easy for me. But you are absolutely correct that public education is key. It is no accident that the destruction of the educational system along with the persecution of the educated is always first on the list of those who enjoy a fascist society. Uniforms are second.

  3. “The problem is, in today’s United States, there are two very different cultures. (Actually, there are many permutations within those two “mega” cultures.)”

    The popular vote between Biden and Trump was the vote between those two “mega cultures”; Democratic and Republican parties. This feeds into comments regarding the often referred to “need” for more than two parties; the Green Party has been around since the 1990’s and their foundation fits into the Democratic party. The Libertarians have been around longer and their “ME” foundation fits into the Republican party. In fact their presidential candidate, Jo Jergenson, appeared to plagiarize her campaign foundation from Trump’s 2016 speeches. Neither party has the support or candidates strong enough to become a “third party”; let alone the money behind them.

    Donald Trump “outed” the Fascist base of his Trumpism, which has taken over the Republican party, with his blatant support of White Supremacist, neo-Nazi and KKK parties with his remark about the “fine people” in their memberships.

    “I don’t know whether the gulf between America’s very different cultures can be narrowed or bridged.”

    The many permutations within Hitler’s Fascism required World War II in an attempt to destroy one of their two “mega cultures”; WWII ended 75 years ago but the culture wars continue unabated.

  4. There is a scene in the movie Burning Mississippi that explains racism, anti-Semitism, and misogyny to a tee.
    One character, a southern FBI agent, is explaining racism. He tells the story of his father, a poor white sharecropper who became jealous of his black sharecropper neighbor because the black man had saved up and bought a fine mule. Everyone in the community was talking about that fine mule. One morning that mule just ended up dead due to poison. The black sharecropper packed up his family and left the community. In giving this news to his son the son realized that his father had been the one to kill the mule. And the father knew that his son now saw this and said as an excuse, “If you can’t be better than a nigger, who can you be better than?”
    Just substitute the words Jew or woman” for the word nigger and there it is…. the deep ego driven desire to be better than others… the sad feelings of inferiority that drive so many in our society.

  5. Sheila, you better send your post to Joe Biden and Dem Party before their plans are written in stone. Joe is already saying that he will not waste time on Trump and does not want the IRS to investigate his taxes. He is already asking for the country to unite by whitewashing the past four years. Even under Catholocism, you have to repent. Anybody hear Trump repent lately?

    This virtue signaling from the Dem Party while installing their MIC/IC goons to review teams is just the same old crap different day. It’s like four years of Trumpism didn’t happen. If there are no negative consequences for Trump, we’ll get someone worse than Trump the next time.

    The Dem Party wants women, minorities, Antifa, immigrants, LGBTQ, etc. – all those working-class components to stand down. They did the same thing with the Occupy Wall Street movements.

    The two political parties owned by the oligarchy cannot meet the demands of the people. Once again, 70% of Americans want universal healthcare even though our media does a horrible job explaining its benefits (for obvious reasons). Every progressive candidate who endorsed M4A won their election against a Republican candidate.

    Neither party endorses M4A. Neither Dem Party speakers in both chambers endorse M4A.

    The reason the Republican Party grew from 2016 to 2020 is that the GOP doesn’t obstruct their voters, while the ENTIRE purpose of the DNC is obstruction.

    While Biden/Harris work for their donors in the next four years, another political party will emerge on the left to serve the people’s interests. Way too much energy behind the movements.

  6. Plato was an idealist, focused on achieving justice and morality, while Mussolini and fascism were realist, focused on achieving political goals. Oh, but for Benito … eventually executed and hung upside down alongside one of his many mistresses. Apparently his appeal for fascism failed loyalty of Italian partisans. And his occupation forces in Ethiopia roundly defeated by swords, spears and stones. Not a glorious ending to a ruler known for his charismatic authoritarian appeal … the father of facism. From my World History class, eighth grade, Lincoln Junior High, Abilene, TX (1959). Sound appealing? How about elements of familiarity? Here is to Benito Trump!

  7. Fascism was a dirty word in the late 40s and while we culturally tended to stay ‘with our own’ after work/school/church, we were more respectful of each other than now. Raised in then almost rural NW Indiana(now exurbia) where both vegetable and grain/livestock farming were sources of income along with the steel mills/refineries. Shopping on a November Saturday in downtown Hammond was an exercise in cultural mix of 1st and 2nd generation European immigrants along with those whose ancestors had immigrated in the 19th century along with African Americans who had been here ‘forever’. As a young teen I sensed little animosity although it may have been masked by the expected behavior of the young to be respectful of all adults or the wrath of Dad would be forthcoming.
    Possibly the horrors of WWII pulled the populace together as most of us had immediate family members in uniform some that did not return. Friendship among us was based on whatever pulls us together-two good friends attended Catholic schools, our parents were friendly to us and to each other. My parents were also friends with an African American family(it was unusual to socialize with the ‘other race’ in the 40s). Our civics lesson were taught via the news reels of WWII, the various cultures in uniform years before we went to high school receiving the sanitized version of Democracy.

  8. Some in our culture prefer an authoritarian father, others a nurturing parent. The authoritarian father is the coach of a football team, the lecturer who doesn’t allow for questions, and the pastor who knows straightforwardly what God is all about. The nurturing parent listens, discusses, shares, and more often than not, smiles and laughs. Four years ago we shifted from the nurturer in the White House to the authoritarian whom we must support even when he is wrong.

  9. While solid civic education is important (wait until the Texas School Book Committee gets a hold of that), education based on critical thinking is even more so. My 345th reference in this blog to the book, “Teaching as a Subversive Activity”, Postman and Weingartner.

    You can’t just shove a set of “facts” about anything into young people’ s and expect change when they grow up and vote.

  10. We do need to have extensive education in civics. We think we used to have that, but we didn’t really. What we had was gung ho civics, in which America could do no wrong. We can’t teach anything without the need for critical thinking. We need exposure to the warts as well as the lipstick. We need to understand that we can be wrong, but we can fix it, if we want to. We also need perspective. Those of us on the left can’t keep condemning our past leaders for being unable to live up to our current standards of humanity. Do we really believe that a Thomas Jefferson, born in our time, would be pro-slavery?

  11. Public education in public schools is again touted here as necessary to a thriving democracy. On last Sunday’s Star’s editorial pages the Mind Trust proclaimed victory following the Indianapolis School Board election. Charter schools are said to be public schools, but with freedom to provide a better education than the other schools. “Mind Trust” sounds ominous to me. Note the individuals involved: Evan Bayh, Bart Peterson, Michael O’Connor, all with connections to or employed by Eli Lilly Co. Am I wrong to be suspicious of neoconservative leaders in this age of a progressive uprising in some parts of our political culture?

  12. Todd; exactly what do you expect President Joe Biden to “do” to private citizen Donald Trump? IRS has had Trump’s tax papers for more than 20 years and have done nothing about them that we know of. The President cannot force IRS to arrest a private citizen for tax evasion…or anything else. Joe Biden is well aware that Trump is an unindicted criminal with charges in the FULL Mueller Report waiting for him to leave the presidency; as are a few federal courts and the New York Southern District Courts are waiting with charges. Plus those mega-millions Trump owes countless lawyers and businesses; all waiting for him to leave the White House to act. You are expecting Joe to beat that dead mule Theresa commented about to repent eating that poison. Trump is doing himself in but he is more dangerous at this time than he has been since coming down that escalator in 2015.

    And you continue with your anti-Democratic party rants with no solutions offered for what you see as our problems and failings. Joe is not asking the country to unite to whitewash Trump’s past four years; he is asking the Democratic party and the country to unite to strengthen our chances to survive and repair the shambles of our government from the past four years. There seems to be no “side” or any party or individual you deem worthy of unifying with; what a lonely world you must live in.

  13. Todd,

    The new administration has way more than a full plate of real work to do: a pandemic, serious economic recession, global climate change, racial equity issues, health care, and undoing a sht ton of damage this administration has done.

    The fastest way to lose control of the House in 2 years and the White House in 2 more years would be to waste time on the Orange Menace instead of governing.

    Biden should be as supportive of NY as possible – and that’s also the fastest way for the entire family to be behind bars. He should not let Trump suck up any more oxygen on the Federal level.

    On a related note: Here’s something you all should consider also – one of the reasons that a significant number of people voted for Trump this time is because he got some things done that Republicans wanted done. They got SC justices that will overturn Roe, they got big tax cuts, they got federal judges, they got significant deregulation, they got “election security” AKA voter restrictions, they got fewer undocumented folks coming into the country, etc.

    Don’t get me wrong, I think the entire family should rot in Riker’s… but let’s not be blind to one of the most compelling arguments about why people voted for him. AND let’s make sure that we are accomplishing OUR goals while we have that opportunity.

  14. Wayne Moss – Are you aware that the candidates for IPS School Board supported by the Mind Trust raised a whopping $400,000 compared to the roughly $41,000 raised by the 4 local candidates. Eli Lilly, the Walton Foundation and the Gates Foundation are big, big donors and want to see IPS privatized.

  15. To be blunt, the current political culture has made me a knee-jerk liberal (and I emphasize JERK). Waiting at a traffic signal an SUV pulled up next to me with a Confederate flag and an NRA sticker: my immediate reaction was disgust, resentment, and anger. This is not the rational response of someone willing to negotiate and compromise – two aspects of my character that I though was set in stone. My problem is that I consider this latest manifestation of racial hatred a betrayal of America and all the hopes and aspirations of kinder, more rational nation. I realize I am not alone, but I certainly feel abandoned and regretful.

  16. Kurt – RIGHT ON – tremendous research on why minorities and young people don’t vote or vote for 3rd parties is that the DEMS have no “results for promises” like – living wage, access to reasonable cost healthcare, criminal justice reform, so many for so long.

  17. Bob G., I take it you have read “Don’t Think Like An Elephant” by George Lakoff? You summed up one of his main points very well.
    Another book I highly recommend is “Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business” by Neil Postman. It is incredibly insightful and prophetic!

  18. Well, when you think about it, what is fascism really?

    Fascism was really started as a religious movement by Protestant firebrands! Mostly in the beginning it was white Protestant evangelical firebrands that demeaned all other religions and all other races of people as hedonistic and heathens!

    Other current fascist countries like Brazil and president Jair Bolsonaro, or Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte will gladly let millions die or, murder those they don’t agree with as in the Philippines, no compassion! And even Syrian Pres. Bashar al-Assad will gladly let ISIL destroy and murder Christian sects that he didn’t agree with, even though Bashar al-Assad is a devout Christian, Syrian eastern Orthodox!

    This in itself caused severe turmoil in the region because Syria was a Sunni Muslim country before. So, once again, religion, and Protestant religion in particular has caused immense misery.

    Slavery was a huge tenant of fascism, later on eugenics which was started in the United States and Britain, Manifest Destiny, all put the white race at the pinnacle of human society. Others who are not white have glommed onto the same value system, but it’s still a religious entity.

    The example of our fearless or fearful leader, he seems to be a socio-charismatic Peacock that draws the attention of all of the self aggrieved and self impotent er important whites that should be ruling the world in their own minds. And, they feel that these peacocks are the vehicle they need to retake their place at the top of the pyramid.

    It doesn’t matter how stupid they are, it doesn’t matter that many of these redneck backwoods Tarzans are sucking down the peacocks jungle juice, get themselves inspired to take their place on an altar of praise, but it does matter that they will take everyone with them once the peacock runs away and hides under its feathers. Because the peacock has no plan, the peacock looks impressive, but it’s still just a bird without any defense. Ever see a peacock where its feathers look like it has hundreds of eyes? It intimidates, until, those hunting it realizes it as truly weak and tasty!

    This is what we have now, how could this be!

    Like I said before, religion needs to be hammered out of existence in civil society. If it exists at all, it’s supposed to be practiced in the privacy of your own home or your own place of worship devoid of political influence! Because, one man’s religion is no more important than someone else’s beliefs, so, everyone needs to make sure that the guardrails are put back where they need to be.

    There are a lot of evangelical enablers contributing to this disaster, this not even slow motion train wreck, and, they need to be held accountable! I do believe in Scripture and I believe in God! But I also know, that Scripture says to obey the superior authorities, Romans the 13th chapter! That means not causing trouble for the civil society! Those not doing that, need to be tarred and feathered and run out on a rail, and the Constitution needs to be resuscitated as a living document, changed to reflect the times we live in! If, they can’t change the Constitution, they need to write an inclusive document that represents every single citizen in this country.

  19. Wayne good post concerning “Mind Trust”.

    Corporatism (Steroid Capitalism) can live very comfortably with Fascism or the Chinese Communist version of Capitalism as long as the 1% are in control. A key feature is the 1% call all the shots anything that impedes profit is bad and must be eliminated, i.e., human rights, environmental rues and regulations.

    From The Guardian:
    “Trump is trying to stage a coup by insisting he won an election that he clearly lost – and many Republicans officials are staying silent or parroting his argument. In addition, 70% of Republicans agree with Trump and they say the election was not “free and fair” despite no evidence backing up this claim.”

  20. I can act authoritarian and will on special occasions when urgency requires it. I understand the military situation in which that urgency happens way more often than in civilian life. I also understand parenting small children where their safety sometimes requires it. But it’s always a stretch for me, a discomforting feeling, because I also see it as a failure of either or both teaching and learning. Sometimes when it feels necessary I realize that I have failed at learning something important about the people I’m about to act authoritarian over and sometimes I realize that the urgency isn’t so great that the time invested in teaching can’t be made available.

    To me life is like a giant textbook that never ends and no matter how long I live everyday brings about something new to wonder about and try to track down and maybe the occasion will occur that someone else is wondering about the same thing and I get to teach.

    Authoritarianism is efficient as long as rank is conferred based upon rigorous standards and really means more capability and those with rank accept both teaching and learning as situation based opportunities to avoid pulling rank.

    But power corrupts and rank is sometimes conferred based on no standards.

    Trump is a great example of a failed authoritarian primarily because he has never seen any purpose to learning and why teach when you can order? On the other hand consider General Eisenhower, one who earned his rank by his flexibility in prioritizing teaching and learning and ordering both as the most powerful of military men and the least powerful and most influential person in the world, the President of these United States.

  21. After WWII the world generally despised the Germans for the death and destruction they had precipitated but cool heads prevailed and instead of reparations by them to us we did the opposite, the Marshall Plan.

    Was there ever a greater success?

  22. Wish I could cite precisely . I recall a Canadian university study in the 1970s. It produced the conclusion that the next generation of U.S. citizens was politically and sociologically ripe for fascism.

  23. Authoritarianism (of which fascism is a branch) is to be found in more than the political. It is everywhere, notably in religion but also in father knows best households. It is found in teacher-pupil, judge-lawyer, cop-jaywalker, employer-employee, rich-poor, and many other everyday relationships, some nuanced, some not. So should we be surprised, having been conditioned to authority (a la Pavlov) in virtually every relationship and with exercises of such authority buttressed by the mores and folkways of the larger society day in and day out, that some of us are relatively easy prey for membership in Proud Boys and/or other such fascist movements?

    Of course, such movements when in power are themselves ultra-authoritarian, which in turn invites yet further dissent from the dissenters, some violent. (See the unsuccessful and multiple attempts to assassinate Hitler and the successful attempt to assassinate Benito.) I well remember reading the account of a young German boy who was a member of Hitler Youth during WW II, a war, incidentally, in which I participated. His leader encouraged these soon to be soldiers to rat on anyone who they thought was engaging in subversive activity. This young man overheard his father listening to short wave BBC radio, a forbidden act, told his leader, and the Gestapo showed up at 2:00 A.M., beat his father bloody in front of his terrified family, took him away and he was never seen again.

    I’m with Professor Kennedy in confessing that I don’t know the answer, but perhaps we can start to readjust our mores and folkways to reduce everyday (and now unquestioned) authority in our everyday lives (which I don’t know how to do – call in the sociologists) while adding more emphasis on civic education, and perhaps as a start father should start admitting that he doesn’t always know best and that Falwells number among the clergy.

  24. Biden muss not waste his time or his presidency pursuing Trump, but he must make certain that a powerful and well-funded organization is in place (I nominate the Lincoln Project) to undertake that invaluable task. In the next four years, Trump can be expected to use his demagogic skills in demonstrating to America how legislation favoring normal people is “socialistic.” He will tweet repeatedly that Biden is a socialist with a radical socialist vice-president. He will attack, belittle, demean, excoriate and the pressure the Biden administration in unimaginable and even racist ways.

    Typically, Democrats are too genteel and intellectual to take on Trump’s brand of vitriol. They just want to get on with the real work at hand. But our refusal to do so cost us an election in 2016. No Democrat, or any Republican who cares about the republic, can imagine a deja vu moment. To prevent a repeat performance(by Donald or a wannabe) will require aggressive exposure of the damage Trump has done to America, including his outsized contribution to the deaths of a quarter million people, his disruption of the education of millions of children, and his incessant firing of competent people to replace them with pathetically unqualified sycophants.

    In my job I sometimes travelled to South America. I was puzzled at how the intelligent people I met with could regularly elect leaders who disappointed them and became mired in corruption. Now I have a deeper understanding.

  25. I’m not sure you aren’t giving too much credit to “Trumpism.” Like Seinfeld, Trumpism is the philosophy of nothing. What does Trumpism stand for? It stands for being against Democrats…and little, if anything, else.

    I heard someone say something so simple, yet so profound, yesterday – there is no longer a Republican Party. It is the Democratic Party and the anti-Democratic Party.

  26. “Typically, Democrats are too genteel and intellectual to take on Trump’s brand of vitriol. They just want to get on with the real work at hand. But our refusal to do so cost us an election in 2016. No Democrat, or any Republican who cares about the republic, can imagine a deja vu moment. To prevent a repeat performance(by Donald or a wannabe) will require aggressive exposure of the damage Trump has done to America, including his outsized contribution to the deaths of a quarter million people, his disruption of the education of millions of children, and his incessant firing of competent people to replace them with pathetically unqualified sycophants.”

    Terry, I couldn’t disagree more. The Democrats did aggressively taken on “Trump’s brand of vitriol” in 2016 and in 2020 … only to find out just under half the population was perfectly fine with giving Trump a pass on everything he did. The problem is not that the public doesn’t know the evils of Trumpism. (Unless one is living in a cave.) The problem is they know and do not care. Trump could have lined up immigrants at the border and had them executed, with the executions broadcast on every single network, and you know what? He would have lost a single supporter. That’s what’s frightening.

  27. I see that numerous pundits are saying Trump is trying to stage a coup, but as yet I’ve seen none, no one, who realizes just how that coup is intended (according to the Trump plan) to go down. Most pundits are quick to say that it won’t happen because Biden clearly won the election. As if the election is the end-game. Clearly, that tells me that those pundits think that Trump’s attempt to win through a recount is the extent of his plan.

    Instead, Trump and his closest advisors, are gambling that enough top-level complaining about a fixed election will finally goad the deplorable army to go into action. That is the thing to fear. The deplorable army. It can literally strike simultaneously in a thousand soft spots in 50 states. It is 120 times larger than the US army. It can strike and disappear into the civilian population in an hour’s time. It is limited by no moral or ethical restraints nor by any war crimes statutes, local or international. And then it can strike again and again and melt into the general population over and over again.

    Trump will watch it happen and encourage it from the rear, careful not to incriminate himself and knowing that the time will come when the deplorable army’s success or failure will be clear enough for him to step to the front to pose as conquering hero or run for the Caucasus.

    How do I know that is Trump’s battleplan? Because it is what I would do if I were Trump. Sometimes projection is the greatest genius of all strategies. What a vicious tool projection can be when empathy is amputated from it. Projection to a tyrant is nothing more than empathy shorn of virtue. Walk a mile in the other dude’s shoes not to understand him but to find the way to kill him. That is Trump’s only understanding of empathy.

  28. I would certainly like to see The Trumpet tied up in legal knots for years along with his corrupt family.

    The mistake has been presuming The Trump Cult cares, the Muller Report was supposed be the Silver Bullet, than the Impeachment would the Silver Bullet, than The Trumpet’s gross, reckless handling of Corona. Nothing matters to The Trump Cult, they believe in the Trumpet and nothing so far has shaken them.

    That said, my hope is The Trumpet just does not walk away in to the sunset unscathed. Perhaps at long last his Federal Tax “Audit” can be finished.

  29. Does anyone remember the song in ” South Pacific” about you have to be carefully taught to hate? I believe that our public education system needs to start teaching children about internal bias and then as they advance through the grades, start teaching them about civics and the importance of being comfortable with diversity. And, of course, they need to be taught how to address bullying.

    And, then perhaps, every young adult should be expected to serve in the Peace Corps or the Red Cross if they are not going into the military and be sent to 3rd world countries where they will be immersed in cultures far different from mainstream America or areas of poverty in the US like a Native American reservation or other areas of poverty where people don’t have good access to running water, electricity, the internet and/or health care? There is nothing like experential knowledge to awaken people to issues people are facing that are beyond the comfortable silos of middle class neighborhoods and social media networks.

  30. Terry – I prefer muss to must – hair raising!

    Your piece today seems to suggest that you think Trump will be around and free to continue his post-presidential destruction of America and its democracy after he leaves when he may instead be in jail and under the supervision of an ultimate dictator – the warden. One of the problems in not prosecuting him (in addition to his having committed multiple crimes) is that if we don’t we are setting a precedent for the next Hitler coming down the road to argue that he or she should not be punished after attempting to destroy our democracy (if we have one left to destroy). Under such an unstated policy some of these days a Hitler will finally and successfully destroy our democracy and trash our Constitution, and never again will such a dictator and his or her successors need worry about doing or not doing anything he or she pleases what with the then quaint and unnecessary ritual of voting an extinct practice. The basic pinion of Athenian democracy, the right of the governed by majority rule to select their governors, will have become an artifact of history.

    Aside from that, I think if I were representing a bank robber I would argue the Equal Protection of the Laws Clause, pointing out to the court that my client only made away with $2,000.00 from a terrified teller while Trump with his negligent homicide, among other crimes, caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people, and that since Trump was immunized from prosecution for his felonies my client is equally entitled to claim immunity for his. Though unlikely, if I were to prevail, the whole criminal justice system would likely be destroyed, thanks to our reluctance to prosecute Trump for the criminal he is.

    I might agree not to prosecute him under a narrow band of circumstances, i. e., that the State of New York sends him off to prison for at least ten consecutive years for violation of their state laws (excluding the time spent on appeals, if any), since at his age I would not expect to see him survive beyond 2031 or 2032. Meanwhile, I am hoping to see our new AG convene a grand jury to consider his indictment no later than February, 2021.

  31. Todd, your advise about sending the post to Biden, is so spot-on.
    It seems that part, perhaps a big part, especially nowadays, of the divide has to do with the popularity of conspiracy theories.
    I do not know the rules, presumably there are some, about quoting another author’s material here, but this bit of an article I read earlier today seems relevant:
    Aleksandra Cichocka, a political psychologist at the University of Kent, says the psychological need for understanding the world is joined by two other needs that underlie conspiracism—feeling safe, and belonging to social groups that affirm or encourage self-respect. “Those who feel defensive about themselves are more likely than others to embrace conspiracy theories, perhaps to deflect blame for their shortcomings,” she wrote recently in Nature. “Conspiracy beliefs have also been linked to feelings of powerlessness, anxiety, isolation and alienation. Those who feel that they are insignificant cogs in the political machinery tend to assume that there are nefarious influences at play.”
    A 2016 paper, “The dark side of meaning-making: How social exclusion leads to superstitious thinking,” explains that a person who feels excluded very often doubles down on anxiety and isolation and “searches for like-minded individuals who further reinforce these beliefs, until they become entrenched.”
    What makes people susceptible to conspiracy theories isn’t healthy skepticism, a sensitivity to evidence joined to a sense of proportion. It’s a skepticism that’s abetted by political sectarianism and, as Cichocka explains, exacerbated by society-deranging events like the onset of COVID-19. It’s “created a perfect storm for vulnerability to conspiracy narratives,” she wrote. “Uncertainty and anxiety are high. Lockdown and social distancing bring isolation. People struggling to understand this unprecedented time might reach for extraordinary explanations.”
    Source- From “The Nautilus,” by Brian Gallagher 11/17/20

  32. I Think you struck the nail on the head Sheila! There has always been two America’s, the one of the pioneers, the colonists, the freedom fighters and the cowboys. They go for personal gain, take matters in their own hand and nobody should tell them what to do. Like we say: every man for himself and God for us all. The other America consists of people with social feeling, who act as their brother’s keeper. Both categories of Americans have their place and function in society as a whole. Between them is unbalance and the mission of Biden is to restore balance, and I support him wholeheartedly in this. It is urgent, necessary and ver difficult, but it’s the only policy that makes sense. That’s what we wish for you, from Europe with ❤️.

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