Never miss a post. Subscribe today.

   

A Wolf in Wolf’s Clothing

Shares

Written by James C. Nelson

James C. Nelson is retired Montana Supreme Court Justice who served from 1993-2012.

A powerful and charismatic leader, He is described as follows:

From early in his career, he was a genius at reading a crowd and modulating his message accordingly. In conversations with advisers, he was frank about this. He said that most people earnestly desired to have faith in something and were not intellectually equipped to quibble over what that object of belief might be. He thought it shrewd, therefore, to reduce issues to terms that were easy to grasp and to lure his audiences into thinking that behind the many sources of their problems there loomed a single adversary. . . .[He] felt that his countrymen were looking for a man who spoke to their anger, understood their fears, and sought their participation in a stirring and righteous cause. He was delighted, not dismayed, by the outrage his speeches generated abroad. He believed that his followers wanted to see him challenged, because they yearned to hear him express contempt for those who thought they could silence him. The image of a brave man standing up against powerful foes is immensely appealing. In this way, [He] could make even his persecution of the defenseless seem like selfdefense.

To ensure that his power would be absolute, he lied with impunity about himself and his enemies.  He was immoral and a thinly veiled racist. Yet his followers didn’t care.   He was the guarantor of jobs; the champion of workers, the patron, struggling with the common man. He purged the civil service.

He was a fiery orator, and he used the media to feed his followers a steady diet of propaganda. He was the master of the phrase, using emotionally charged words. He was an efficient manipulator of the human mind.  He attacked unsympathetic journalists.

He targeted minorities and blamed them for his country’s ills.

He spoke to his followers’ anger; he identified and stoked their frustrations; he assuaged their uncertainties in a changing, globalizing world; and he gave voice to their hate.

If his plans worked, he took credit; if they failed, he blamed someone else. He acknowledged no mistakes; he had no regrets. He viewed himself to be a genius, the embodiment of the nation.

* * * **

If you think I have just described the present occupant of the White House, you would be wrong. I am describing Adolph Hitler, by way of excerpts from former Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright’s new book, Fascism.[1]

It is truly amazing, though, how close the parallels between the two leaders are.  And, even more frightening, Donald Trump is leading America down the same fascist path as surely as Hitler led pre-WWII Germany along that disastrous route.

Trump is the quintessential narcissist.  He is a pathological liar, a legend in his own mind.  Like Hitler, Trump is an isolationist, a nationalist, and populist.  America first!! Deutschland, über alles!!

Trump has trashed America’s allies—those who have stood with us, whose men and women have died in our wars, who have joined us in the war against international terrorism. He has insulted our sister Country, Canada and its Prime Minister. He has pulled out of trade partnerships; he has refused to participate in the global fight against climate change; and he has belittled the victims of natural disasters in Puerto Rico and Texas.

On the other hand, he has aligned with two of the most brutal dictators and fascists, Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Un–not unlike the bromance between Hitler and Mussolini. Putin went so far as to interfere in our elections and attempted to assist in putting Trump in the White House.  Putin continues to interfere in our elections, by most accounts. But Trump is blissfully and intentionally unconcerned.  Kim Jong Un’s human rights abuses are legend.  But did Trump condemn those at the Singapore Summit?  No, instead Trump made substantial concessions and appeasements too, and heaped praised on, the North Korean leader—to the surprise and revulsion of our allies.  Indeed Trump has said he will invite both dictator/fascists to the White House for a State visit–obviously for the photo ops showing him to be a great, tough leader like they are (in his eyes at least).

Trump also sides with white nationalists, modern-day Nazis—“fine people,” according to him.  He has demonized immigrants and has created an immigration problem where none actually exists.  He has interred asylum-seekers in tent camps; he has ripped children from their parents and interred each separately. He denies asylum-seekers even have the right to due process of law before being deported.

Also like Hitler, Trump is at war with the media and constantly  disparages the press in order to make Americans disbelieve journalists  who are trying to tell the truth—“fake news,” the “failing New York Times,”  the media is the “enemy,” the Russia investigation is a “witch hunt,” “Spygate.”  Professor emeritus George Lakoff states in the Guardian that Trump has turned words into weapons in a linguistic war that controls the news cycles and spreads his virulent, pernicious worldview and message.[2] He is manipulating the news and those who receive it.

Trump has cut programs that assist the poor, the elderly, the disabled, and the mentally ill.  Yet, he made sure that the rich and powerful have improved their economic positions at the expense of the poor and middle classes.

Trump has imposed steep tariffs against America’s trading partners—who, not surprisingly, have countered with their own tariffs—counter-tariffs which have hurt our country’s businesses, our agriculture, and our consumers.

Indeed, Trump is likely the most corrupt and inept president in American history.  And, if he was just simply a crooked, bumbling fool that would be bad enough.  But, while Trump is all of those things, he is also a textbook fascist. He is leading in the same way that Hitler led. And, that is really frightening.

Hitler led Germans and Germany down the primrose path. He promised his people the world, and instead gave them world war. Trump is cut from the same bolt of cloth, and he is leading America in the same direction.

Americans must wake up and acknowledge that if Trump has his way, there won’t be the stars and stripes flying over America, there will be Trump’s flag. Trump has already killed our two-party system—the Republican Party has been turned into Trump’s Party—a party of ovine lickspittles.  Soon, there won’t be a President in the White House, there will be another Führer, and other fascists to join the likes of Putin, Kim, and Assad.

I received an email today with a stunning question:  “If you were living in pre-war Germany right now, what would you be doing?”  Hopefully, I would not be among those supporting Hitler.

Fascism and fascists have ruled once in our lifetimes, and it can happen again.  After all, however dressed, a wolf is always a wolf, a fascist is always a fascist, and a wolf in fascist’s clothing is to be feared and loathed, indeed.

Jim Nelson

[1] Harper Collins, New York, (2018), excerpts from pp 29-77; lead quote from p 40.

[2] See:  https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jun/13/how-to-report-trump-media-manipulation-language

If you appreciate an independent voice holding Montana politicians accountable and informing voters, and you can throw a few dollars a month our way, we would certainly appreciate it.
0 /* ]]> */