Fear of Reliving the Past, Colltalers
At the end of last Thursday’s darker-than-thy-soul Donald Trump’s speech, ‘accepting’ the Republican Party’s presidential candidate nomination, a truly disquieting notion – at least for many Americans and people around the world – began to settle in: he may really win.
It’s a disturbing fear because we seem to be entering an alt-reality, one of hyperbole and scary comparisons with the past. The most recurrent of them, that of an official rise of fascism in America, is actually beginning to fit the narrative, as his popular appeal increases.
The convention itself had plenty of ugly displays at critical moments. As when the crowd cheered on calls for Hillary Clinton’s arrest, with almost no hint of hyperbole. Or when Ted Cruz, of all people, spoke of ‘conscience’ while voting, and was booed off the stage.
And it was present throughout the week when all the right buttons – from public dissatisfaction with politicians, to the increasing number of Americans feeling left out, to the paralyzing fear of terrorism – were being pushed. But only to justify a totalitarian vision of the world. Permeating every speech was this idea that the U.S. has been slighted and it’s time to crush its enemies. And the man for the job is ready to embrace his role as the nation’s sole savior. That sort of rhetoric has lent some legitimacy to those comparing Trump with Mussolini.
In fact, his theatrical repertoire of gestures and facial
expressions at times seemed to be lifted straight from old YouTube footage of il Duce urging already inflamed crowds to get to arms. His military alliance with Hitler’s Nazi German was the scourge of WWII, but the Blackshirts’ terror inflicted on regular Italians who opposed him is what may raise red flags to this country’s immigrants and minorities.
For there’s an unmistakable wave of radicalism surrounding Trump, one that has awaken even old scourges of our own, such as white supremacists and religious zealots, who feel reinvigorated enough to come out from under the rock they’ve been buried for generations.
With no hint of self-awareness, for instance, David Duke, a card-carrying member of the Klus Klux Klan, is now a candidate to elective office, again. Then, he had a minimal amount of votes, but now, it’s hard to estimate his appeal. Like the KKK itself, after decades of being on the fringe of an evolved society, and deservedly so, he’s suddenly acting with the confidence of other mainstream politicians.
This is a democracy, but come on. His rebirth is a travesty because his ‘home-grown terrorist organization’ was never brought to justice for a century-long of criminal activity, while families of its uncountable victims are still paying in suffering for what they did.
That Trump, who very likely joined the campaign with an eye on his own bottom line and commercial brand, suddenly got to ride a populist wave, mostly on the account of vague promises and a compromised media establishment, is not even the worst of it.
What’s really staggering is that, among his spitfire of self-aggrandizing statements and grievances against a black president he tried to prove was not an American citizen, he couldn’t find time to disavow support from such deeply questionable segments of society.
Whether he will pay for such a lack of ethical posture, is irrelevant. Winning or losing, he’s already won and his name is now known around the world. What’s more important to Americans is to figure if the nation Trump wants to lead is the same one they want to support.
That’s why so many are deeply concerned about what’ll come out of the November polls. If a U.S. that, in case of hardship, will tell its allies that help will be on the way, but only maybe, or if they can count on it if another Fuhrer is ready to take on the world.
And, of course, whether he is, heaven forbid, a born and bred American. The warnings are beginning to sound too loud, and history is a reminder that when we act and evolve as equal rights citizens, we’re a nation. But when we ask some of us to be shot, we’re just a mob.
Again, the YouTube is oh so instructive. Millions on a public square, roaring, can be many things, including a crowd demanding hatred and intolerance. No leader with the nation’s best interests at heart would accept that kind of support, just so to reach high office.
The most important speech of his life was centered on a single idea he relishes repeating: I’ll do it. Politicians lie, cynics would say, so we’re better off, but that’s the false equivalence we hope won’t tarnish further the national conversation. For it’d be foolish if it does. He offered no actionable diagnostic of the U.S., only a set of opinions, which, honestly, like a certain part of the anatomy, everybody’s got one.
We were going to list the Top 10 List of factors that may lead Donald Trump to the White House, but since most of them can still be reversed – #1: Americans don’t show up to vote – we leave that to another time. Better to focus on what we want our homeland to stand for. If the list starts with compassion, equanimity, or acceptance, we’ll surely be rallying for a better future. Have a peaceful one. WC