Some Americans cried “fascism” during the earliest days of the Trump administration. I said wait. We aren’t living in a fascist regime — not yet. As we now witness midterm election results and the people’s response to one-party rule, we revisit the question.
Fascism emphasizes nationalism, “our nation first.” Criticism of a fascist administration’s principles and values is considered unpatriotic or treasonous. Fascists oppose democratic rule. Fascism relies on dictatorial power and decision-making and suppression of opposition, sometimes with force. Does any of this seem familiar?
Representative democracy in theory derives its authority from the consent of the people being governed. The people’s consent — what a good idea. In the United States, this includes process by which we, the citizens, select others to represent us in government. That’s what elections are for. Despite the efforts of the ruling party, we elected a bunch of representatives on November 6, and the vote counting continues.
We Americans now live under the rule of a president who declares himself a nationalist, admires dictators and attempts to mimic their leadership. He goes out of his way to offend and insult allies. He systematically isolates us as he withdraws our nation from strategic alliances with foreign powers. At home, he surrounds himself with sycophants and places the least qualified of them in important positions of power. He does not read history. As far as we can discern, he does not read much of anything, with the possible exception of remarks prepared for him on a Teleprompter. But he decides things. He rules.
Is this fascism? You decide. We are closer to meeting its definition than we were a year ago. Representative democracy it is not.
What happens when representative democracy rises up to confront those who practice the principles of fascism? Come January we will see.