After all that’s come before, Trump’s latest transgressions affirm “democracy as we know it is already imperilled,” warn 80 historians in an open letter, arguing “whether Donald J. Trump is a fascist, a post-fascist populist, an autocrat, or just a bumbling opportunist,” he poses a grave danger. There is alarming agreement on the subject. Said Third Reich historian Eric Cervini, who posted a video of MAGA hooligans in Texas waiting to ambush Biden’s bus, “This is how a democracy dies.” Holocaust historian Steve Silberman echoes him: Trump and Fox praising the brutishness is “straight-up fascism. It’s not ‘like’ fascism. It’s fascism.” To be clear, it’s been a long time coming. Wallace Shawn writes mournfully, piercingly of a country that “has been brutal for a very long time”; with Trump, “the rhetoric began to mirror reality.” He cites the decline of the “ethical aspirations” of JFK and Obama – though their reality didn’t match their rhetoric either – because “it spoke of a compassion that (many Americans) knew they didn’t feel.” “Trump has liberated a lot of people from the last vestiges of the Sermon on the Mount,” he writes. “A lot of people turn out to have been sick and tired of pretending to be good.” For them, he suggests, “the face of America has always and forever been the face of Donald Trump.” For the rest of us, we can try to do better. John Lewis, on his deep belief in his lifetime of struggle: “Nothing can stop the power of a committed and determined people to make a difference.” Besides, there are hopeful signs. Activists in North Carolina just sued the pepper-spraying cops, Dixville Notch voted 5-0 for Biden, and the possible troll who chooses the often illegal, ill-advised songs at Trump’s rallies – “Everybody Hurts,” “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” – hit the jackpot at the last few: Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On” – the theme from The Titanic.
Pepper-spraying voters. Photo by News Observer
Terrorizing the bus. Screenshot.
Photo by Nathan Howard/Getty