There are moments in history when conditions come together to create the impetus for great social change. We now rest on the cusp of one of those foundational moments as greater numbers of people of disparate social identities, backgrounds, and ages have been organizing, resisting, throughout the nation, in cities and towns large and small, to challenge an ever-widening existential assault on our nation’s critical democratic institutions and on democracy itself.
We have long since past the point where it is merely hyperbole to compare the rise and control of European nationalism / fascism in the 1920s and 1930s to the rise and possible takeover of nationalism / fascism in the United States and in other countries around the world.
In both 1920s Europe and in U.S.-style alt-right fascism, strong leaders whipped up dehumanizing stereotypes resulting in the scapegoating of already-marginalized groups of people to blame for causing past problems and posing clear and present dangers to the state.
During the campaign season and after taking office, Donald Trump mocked a disabled reporter; called undocumented Mexican immigrants drug dealers, criminals, and rapists; denounced a U.S.-born federal judge on the basis of his ancestry; threatened to reinstate the failed and unconstitutional “stop and frisk” tactics used against primarily people of color; threatened lawsuits on anyone who speaks against him.
He promised to monitor U.S. Muslim residents and impose bans on Muslims entering the U.S.; vowed to reverse women’s reproductive freedoms and marriage equality of same-sex couples; retweeted white supremacists’ racist and anti-Jewish propaganda; and boiled his rally audiences to a fever-pitch by demonizing and bashing the press. Most recently, he highlighted trans people’s already minoritized “other” status with his military ban.
The difference, however, between the great successes of fascism in Europe and the ultimate defeat of the Trump regime in the not-too-distant future is that while relatively few individuals and national leaders stood up early to fascism by forcefully speaking out and intervening, the unprecedented outpouring of resistance, protest, and intervention by individuals and entire nations demonstrates that the ultimate balance of power rests with “we the people.”
We cannot merely dismiss Donald Trump as a narcissistic and emotionally deranged sociopath who gained the most powerful position in the world simply for his own personal gain. While all this is possibly true, Trump represents the mouthpiece of the so-called alt-right in spreading his alt-facts within his alt-reality universe.
The political center and left, through the Resistance, speaks truth to power – serving as an antidote to Trumpism / fascism. In Trump’s own perverse way, he has acted as the catalyst sparking the connections and coalitions between people of disparate social backgrounds who maintain similar philosophies of social change and social justice.
The resistance embodies patriots challenging jingoist nationalists.