The voice of the people echoed loudly again this weekend, as yet another Nation wide protest erupted following Trump’s executive order to stop allowing the entry of people from seven Muslim majority countries, whether they have a visa or are residents. Unannounced, un-American, and downright unconstitutional, this ban is clearly aimed at the Muslim community, despite what White House Press secretary Sean Spicer has been saying. What’s more scary about this ban is that despite several federal judges blocking the ban, Customs and Border Protection agents were still detaining those coming from the seven nations listed on the ban, even with mounds of protesters- including lawyers and House Representatives -shouting for their release and demanding they be given legal counsel.
Forgetting the fact that none of the countries included in the ban have had their citizens take an American life on US soil since 1975, yet the other three (Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE), in total, have taken close to 3,000 during the same time, with a majority coming from 9/11. Interestingly, Trump has business ties to the three left alone, so any fears we had about him using his position to continue benefiting his business have been pleasantly realized by just about everyone who’s informed enough to tell yet that appointing a neo-nazi to the Joint Chief of Staff and the National Security Council might not be such a good idea. So what does this all mean?
Well, to be blunt, it means we’re bearing witness to the rise of American Fascism, and its part of a resurgent fascist movement that is beginning to sweep the world. Before you scoff at this statement, let me direct you to Umar Haque’s essay, and remind you that everyone thought Hitler was just an angry little emo dude who read too much Nietzsche until he invaded Poland, and by then it was too far gone.
Fascism is rising in this country because we have a large populous that is wholly ignorant to the demagoguery of the Trump administration, and can’t look past the nationalist idiocy that is a southern border wall and a Muslim ban, and see the disparagingly bleak future that these types of policies promise us. Fascism is rising because of the rift in American politics, this near complete collapse of centrism has created forms of uncompromising extremism on both sides of the spectrum, which will, on its current path, ultimately lead to the destruction of civilized society in America. Yet still, what does this rise mean?
To me, this ban is the beginning of an extremely turbulent era in American society. As the son of an immigrant, I understand what it means to believe in the promise of America, to truly see how great this country is, while not being blinded when it comes to how much farther we must go. My father come to America from Ireland, leaving his friends, family, and his home to escape what was, at the time, a crippled Irish economy that had little to promise his generation in term of work. When he first arrived, he worked tirelessly to provide a future for my siblings and I. If you don’t mind, I’d like to take a second to tell my father how proud I am of him, because where and what I am today is only a testament to the incredible parenting that both he and my mother have provided, and for that I am eternally thankful.
But as the son of an immigrant, I can see this ban from a perspective uniquely my own, and think about the situations that have historically oppressed my people and do so similarly for those in other situations where I know they stood in solidarity with us.
This ban is nothing short than a draconian measure to begin scapegoating the problems of America on minorities. But it’s not just the ban. It’s the Wall, the increasingly violent nature of his rhetoric, the suppression of Federal Agents and entities, and the abomination to free speech and press that is the idea of Trumpian “Alternative Facts”. Add this to the fact that everything he’s been doing has come via Executive Order, which, granted, so did most of Obama’s in his first week; however, Obama signed orders that made the government more transparent, eased certain criminal justice policies, and began a more liberal approach to the environment (you can read about that here). Trump is flexing his presidential muscles in such an unprecedented manner that it’s hard not to see the comparison between him and other fascists.
But, if you can’t see the similarities, let me try and help you out. In 1927, at the Nuremburg Rally, Adolf Hitler gave one of his first speeches as a member of the National Socialist party (Na-Si) to a large crowd. He discussed the state of Germany, how it was a notion that had lost it understanding how the purity of blood and race create a strong nation, how the jobs of the German Worker were being snatched away from worthy hands by the clenched fists of foreigners, and how Germany was a nation of 62 million people, but noted that had 20 million too many. A quick glance at Trump’s own policies quickly outline his plan: putting American workers first, the “extreme vetting” of immigrants, a southern border wall, and, perhaps the most disturbing, the mass deportation of some 3 million people back to their country of origin.
Perhaps this juxtaposition is too far. Perhaps we’ve crossed a threshold in our collective global history where we would never see another leader so hell bent on the consolidation of power. Perhaps Trump is acting on his campaign promises at such an expedited rated so as to make good on all that was sworn to his base during his election.
Fat fucking chance.
The analogousness of Trump and the rise of Hitler and Benito Mussolini is a stark comparison, in the last week alone the Trump administration has been testing the waters of American democracy to see what they can and cannot get away with. As I’ve mentioned, while we were all out in the streets demanding entry to our brothers and sisters from the Middle East, Trump appointed Steven Bannon to the National Security Council. No, you didn’t read that wrong. A man whose website was- and still very much so is -a launching pad for the seething hatred of women, the LGBTQA+ community, immigrants, Muslims, and Jews that has propelled the so called “Alt-Right” movement right into the Oval Office, and now this man is in control of the very council that makes decisions on who will be secretly assassinations for being America’s enemies of the state. Oh and Did I mention that this role is typically reserved for high ranking generals? You know…people with actual strategic and military experience.
What more, the recent sacking of Sally Yates for refusing to enforce a ban that she, as acting Attorney General for the Department of Justice, saw as unconstitutional and didn’t believe could be defended in a court of law, shows an administration demanding total loyalty from those serving it… or else risk your livelihood. Nevermind the fact that the Department of Homeland Security brazenly defied several Federal Circuit Judges ordering them to stop the ban, can we just please start looking at how this administration is, by the book, testing the limits of American checks and balances to see how far they can go.
It’s all beginning to add up. What we once believed was a thing of the past is now slowly becoming realized by many as an egomaniac fighting for complete dominance over this country. The consolidation of power, the purging of senior officials who do have the backbone to fight for the constitution, the division and further subdivision of minority populations, and the increasingly isolationist and protectionist policies that this administration is hell bent on passing, regardless of the obvious backlash that is coming from all across this great nation…. For Christ’s sake Kentucky was protesting this ban! You know something’s not right when KENTUCKY says banning immigrants is bad!
These continued measures will continue, and likely become more volatile in their nature. Legislation like the First Amendment Defense Act being pushed in the newest congressional session, a bill that will dismantle all of the success the LGBTQA+ community has made within these last few years, the masses of America will continue to be in the streets. And this is important, we cannot tire in the fight for our democratic values, we cannot sit out protest on the issues we are not totally invested in. We must continue to be a unified group, a band of citizens acting in solidarity with one another to ensure our continued freedom.
I think the words of Martin Niemöller ring loudest today:
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
Remember to keep fighting, comrades.