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Introduction

American Descent into Fascism

The American Descent into Fascism is a phenomenon that only a few short years ago would have been inconceivable, yet here we are with a third of the voters focusing on the cult of personality of former President, Donald J. Trump and his authoritarian view of governing. In this brief post, I touch on the symptoms that are becoming more and more present in one of the two viable political parties.

The United States, once regarded as a bastion of democracy and freedom, has faced a series of challenges in recent years that threaten its democratic foundations. The rise of authoritarianism, the erosion of democratic norms, the appeal to nationalism, and the dangers of complacency have contributed to a worrying descent into fascism and the cult of personality. This essay further explores these elements and their implications, urging citizens to be active defenders of democracy.

American Descent into Fascism: The Rise of Authoritarianism

The Cult of Personality

Historically, leaders with narcissistic tendencies have sought to position themselves as the sole saviors of their nations, fostering a cult of personality around them. They manipulate public emotions, projecting an image of strength and infallibility while suppressing dissent and opposition. This worrisome trend is not unique to the United States but has been amplified by the interconnectedness of modern media.

Former President Donald Trump’s rallies, akin to theatrical performances, showcased his ability to captivate and energize supporters. His rhetoric fueled a fervent following that disregarded any criticism, leading to an environment where blind loyalty trumped democratic ideals.

American Descent into Fascism: The Erosion of Democratic Norms

Attacks on the Free Press

A free and independent press plays a critical role in a democracy by providing citizens with accurate information and holding those in power accountable. However, the rise of leaders who denigrate and undermine the media has created a hostile environment for objective journalism, further polarizing the nation.

President Trump’s relentless attacks on the media as “fake news” and “enemies of the people” aimed to discredit legitimate reporting and sow seeds of doubt among his supporters, leading to a disintegration of trust in traditional news outlets.

Undermining the Judiciary

An independent judiciary serves as a check on executive power and ensures that laws are interpreted impartially. Yet, the weaponization of judicial appointments and attempts to undermine the court’s legitimacy can erode faith in the rule of law.

During his term, President Trump pushed for judges with ideologically biased viewpoints, challenging the principle of an impartial judiciary and heightening concerns about political interference in the legal system.

American Descent into Fascism: The Appeal to Nationalism

Xenophobia and Scapegoating

History has shown that appealing to nationalism and exploiting fear can be a powerful tool for leaders seeking to consolidate power. By blaming social and economic problems on vulnerable minority groups, they create a false narrative that stokes division and justifies harsh policies.

President Trump’s rhetoric on immigration often portrayed immigrants as criminals and threats to national security, tapping into nativist sentiments and exacerbating existing divisions within society.

American Descent into Fascism: The Dangers of Complacency

Voter Apathy and Suppression

The health of a democracy depends on the active participation of its citizens. When apathy and voter suppression take hold, the democratic process suffers, and the voice of the people is muffled.

In several states, restrictive voting laws were passed to prevent voter fraud, disenfranchise marginalized communities, and discourage broader participation in the democratic process.

Conclusion

The United States is at a pivotal moment in its history, facing a profound challenge to its democratic ideals. The warning issued by Benjamin Franklin more than two centuries ago remains relevant today: the preservation of a republic demands continuous effort. By acknowledging the rise of authoritarianism, the erosion of democratic norms, the appeal to nationalism, and the dangers of complacency, we can collectively strive to safeguard the principles that define the nation.

To resist the descent into fascism and the cult of personality, citizens must remain vigilant, championing a free press that holds power to account and preserving the independence of the judiciary. The appeal to nationalism should be recognized for its divisive nature, and efforts to suppress voter participation must be confronted head-on.

The path to preserving democracy lies in an informed and engaged citizenry that actively resists the allure of authoritarianism and fosters a society that embraces democratic values, equality, and inclusion. As a progressive warning, this essay serves as a call to action, encouraging all Americans to rise above partisanship and work together to ensure the continuation of the democratic experiment that Benjamin Franklin and the Founding Fathers entrusted to us.

By Politics-as-Usual

Roger is a retired Professor of language and literacy. Over the past 15 years since his retirement, Roger has kept busy with reading, writing, and creating landscape photographs. In this time of National crisis, as Fascist ideas and policies are being introduced to the American people and ignored by the Mainstream Press, he decided to stand up and be counted as a Progressive American with some ideas that should be shared with as many people who care to read and/or participate in discusssions of these issues. He doesn't ask anyone to agree with his point of view, but if entering the conversation he demands civility. No conspiracy theories, no wild accusations, no threats, no disrespect will be tolerated. Roger monitors all comments and email communication. That is the only rule for entering the conversation. One may persuade, argue for a different point of view, or toss out something that has not been discussed so long as the tone remains part of a civil discussion. Only then can we find common ground and meaningful democratic change.

3 thoughts on “American Descent into Fascism: A Progressive Warning”
  1. […] Trump’s manipulative tactics in response to the gag order issued by Judge Chutkan in Trump’s ins…legal problems are all consuming. Yes, he is facing 91 criminal charges in four separate Federal indictments. What’s the old saying? Where there is smoke there is fire. Trump’s ability to pay his mounting legal bills tests his self-image. Yet he falls back on a time-tested strategy, stalling for as long as one is able. Maybe this will all go away. […]

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