I have been writing for months about my own version of the ‘big lie,’ which in my case is the idea that Trump is a Fascist and needs to be understood in those terms. I happen to disagree with that narrative in every sense of the word. But every time I explain my reasoning, I get flak from well-intentioned folks who disagree with me and make a point of telling me that I’m wrong.
Here’s a recent comment from one of my Medium readers: “Are you not satisfied that we are now threatened by a fascist takeover of our democracy?” This passionate writer then goes on to accuse me of not having studied the Hitler regime. In fact, my refusal to take Trump seriously as a Fascist is precisely because I have read and studied just about all the histories (Shirer, et. al.,) of Germany and the collapse of Weimar in the years leading up to and following 1933.
So, I’ll try once again to explain why we need to think about Trump as he really is, and not what his rhetoric would lead him or us to believe.
In that respect, I urge you to download and read the indictment of the head of the Oath Keepers, Elmer Rhodes, that was just handed down last week. He has now been arrested and is charged with five violations of the Federal code, including conspiracy to commit sedition (inciting to overthrow the government) and conspiracy to obstruct a governmental function.
It should be noted that is he’s convicted of all the crimes he allegedly committed; Rhodes could get more than 50 years in jail. After Hitler was convicted of trying to overthrow the German government by threatening some Bavarian-government leaders who were drinking beer in a gin mill in Munich in 1923, he was sentenced to a five-year sentence but served only nine months, during which time he dictated Mein Kampf to Rudolf Hess.
Now here’s the crucial point and the reason calling Trump a Fascist in the mold of Hitler is just so much hot air and bunk.
The Nazi Party was formed in 1920 and Hitler became its leader in 1921. He then formed the SA which ultimately numbered 250,000 privately-financed, uniformed, and armed men. Their job was to go around and physically confront any left-wing group in any public space. In 1925, Hitler created the SS which became a more militaristic and violent version of the SA. This group numbered more than 35,000 by the time that the Nazis came to power in 1933.
You can compare Trump’s rhetoric with Hitler’s rhetoric all you want – fine. Trump may be the most virulent racist that we have ever elected President, but talk is cheap. And to figure out how much it costs to put together a Fascist following today, I suggest you take the trouble to read the entire indictment of Elmer Rhodes and the other Oath Keeper schmucks who were in and around the Capitol on last January 6th.
Almost all of this so-called conspiracy to overthrow the government took place on various social media venues, online chat rooms and other digital sites. Rhodes and maybe a couple of other putzes spent somewhere around ten thousand dollars on night-vision equipment and two assault rifles which they stashed in some motel.
How many Oath Keepers, Proud Boys and other right-wing revolutionaries showed up at D.C. to follow Trump and ‘take America back?’ Merrick Garland stated that 725 individuals have either been charged or are under investigation to be charged.
That’s it? You’re going to start a revolutionary movement with less than one thousand followers throughout the entire United States? Taken together, the SA and the SS represented 4/10ths of one percent of the entire German population in 1933. Think there’s any chance at all that Trump could put together, train and equip and private army of 1.3 million by 2024?
What made the fascism of Hitler fundamentally different from the fascism of Trump is that Hitler’s entire program and plan was rooted in violence of a very physical kind. I’m not talking about appealing to the idiots among us by saying that you support 2nd-Amendment ‘rights’ or saying that the Nazis who marched through Charlottesville in 2017 included some ‘good folks.’ I’m talking about events like Kristallnacht, and other mass violence which occurred before and after 1933.
I notice, incidentally, how many state-level electoral ballots now contain a line for the MAGA party or some other fascist alternative to the GOP.
[THANK YOU GAIL]