“Fascism is like a hydra—you can cut off its head in the Germany of the ’30s and ’40s, but it will still turn up on your back doorstep in a slightly altered guise.”—Alan Moore
It is a phrase first coined by Shakespeare in “Macbeth,” then it later became the title of a dark fantasy novel by the great Ray Bradbury: “Something Wicked This Way Comes.”
Well, the wickedness arrived recently in Charlottesville, Virginia, in the form of a rally and with a slogan of “Unite the Right.” But there is nothing new about this wickedness; we have seen it before in all of its names, which are legion.
Some call themselves white nationalists. Some call themselves white separatists. Some of them openly call themselves neo-Nazis and Klansmen. Some prefer the newer, less associational catch-all of Alt-Right.
But all of them are no more or less than fascists and all of them are wicked and their separate wickednesses have long been incubating but now have coalesced around the one that inevitably rises from among those who cultivate the hate they all share in common.
Their strongman has emerged and now they are united, awaiting him to lead them from their disparate wildernesses of decency.
Charlottesville was not picked by accident. Highly educated, diverse and liberal college town, it is home to the University of Virginia, founded by Thomas Jefferson. On the night before the violence that focused the nation’s attention upon it, some of the town’s folk felt it necessary to stand guard around a statue of that great American. This, as, like some distasteful Hollywood parody, the hate-mongers, some of them dressed in paramilitary garb, marched around carrying clearance sale tiki torches, stopping occasionally to extend a Nazi salute and shout “Heil, Trump,” and drawing energy from the sheer volume of hate among them.
When the final chapter on the presidency of Donald Trump is eventually written, that image might still be its most memorable one.
Certainly, we as a people can hope and pray for our nation that nothing any more chilling supplants it.
And no, I am not blaming the president for the hate and bigotry-fueled riot which took place in Charlottesville that Saturday. For the totality of that mayhem, madness and murder he cannot be rightfully held responsible.
But neither is he innocent, for without question, like a family looking the other way while a child pumps liquid death into his veins with a needle, Donald Trump enabled it.
He enabled it during his campaign when he endorsed violence against those who would protest his candidacy, urging supporters to “throw them out” and not to be “too gentle” in the process.
He enabled it when he filled his White House with the likes of Steven Bannon, Sebastian Gorka and Steven Miller, all supporters of the Alt-Right agenda and at least two with past ties to unsavory and highly questionable groups ranging from white separatist Americans to Hungarian Nazis.
People like this have no business “advising” this, or any other president—and “advising” him to do what, pray tell? Are they telling him that it is all right to play footsie with fascists, because after all, they are among “his people?”
Mirriam-Webster defines “facism” as: “A political philosophy, movement or regime that exalts nationalism and often race, above the individual, and that stands for a centralized autocratic government, headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition.”
Any of that sound familiar? Recognize any of that in the United States of America today? Did you watch any of that on TV recently?
Nazis, for Christ’s sake. Klansmen in body armor, waving around AR-15s. Some hate-blinded idiot driving his car into a street full of pedestrians, killing one and maiming dozens more.
So were we really surprised, when in his belated, milquetoast statement denouncing the violence from “many, many sides,” that he refused to call out the evil, refused to acknowledge the wicked by name? (For him to do so two days later amid a torrent of criticism, is tantamount to the child apologizing for being bad only after his mother made him.)
And could we then be rightfully shocked when none other than David Duke dared to tweet the president that he would do well to look in the mirror and remember that it was “white Americans” who had put him in the presidency?
Because the sad fact is, Duke knew what he said was true. And more importantly, so did Trump.
Ray Mosby is editor and publisher of the Deer Creek Pilot in Rolling Fork.