I recently had a conversation with a friend who doesn’t follow politics very closely. He asked why I was so active in the Anti-Trump Resistance. “After all,” he said, “you can’t expect to win every election. The wheel will continue to turn, and your side may well win the next time.”
And the thing is; I completely understood his point. We’ve all seen political trends and the politicians who represent them come and go. From Ronald Regan’s conservatism to Bill Clinton’s moderate liberalism, the American political pendulum has swung back and forth many times and yet, we are all still here. So why is there now an entire resistance movement dedicated to the ouster of one Donald J. Trump, Republican president-elect?
Well, friend, I am so glad you asked!
First off, I must admit that I have never seen so much as one episode of The Apprentice, so my opinion of him is not based in any way from his reality TV days. The fact is, his show simply didn’t appeal to me. Mostly, I’m a hard news junkie and a history buff. I do not follow celebrities so never paid any attention to The Donald before he took on the position of Birther in Chief. At that point, he came across my viewscreen, and my opinion of him began to form as a man well beyond the pale of acceptable American behavior.
The Birther thing is important to mention. Not only for my encounter with him through it but also because it shows Trump’s willingness to tout an outright lie for his own self-promotional ends. Do all politicians lie? Well…yes. The fact is everybody slips a fib now and then. But to outright embrace such a fabrication and push it for years on end is a worrisome trait and not the sign of a reasonable person, to say the least.
Next, The Donald began his campaign for president in earnest, and my worries about the man grew proportionally. In Republican debates, he openly bullied his opponents with childish name-calling and open disrespect. I did not view this as a sign of toughness, but rather of a mean-spirited immaturity.
His rallies were even more troubling to me. I have never in my life heard an American politician calling for his supporters to “knock the crap” out of protesters. Nor was this a one-time slip in judgment. Again and again, he encouraged violence in response to protesters. I can quote him saying that “in the old days people like that would be carried out on a stretcher,” and promising to his followers that he would “pay the legal bills” if they did as he commanded.
Now, seriously WTF!!
If that kind of behavior from a political doesn’t make your skin crawl, I don’t know what will.
I did get some blog posts sent to me from conservative friends at that time saying that the violence at the rallies was actually started by Bernie supporters. This may have been my first real exposure to fake news, as I found nothing to support such claims. But even if I’d entertained the fantasy that Bernie had sent thugs to Trump rallies, what responsible leader would encourage violence by audience members? The answer is–Mr. Trump! When police did intervene, Trump actually mocked them for being “politically correct” when they didn’t use violence to subdue the protesters.
I’m sorry folks, but this in not normal behavior for any Republican or Democrat I’ve ever heard of. This is not a Gorge W. Bush or Ronald Regan type of politician who I merely happen to disagree with. This is instead classic fascist behavior. I found it terrifying and I began to follow The Donald a lot more closely after that.
Then came his call to “…ban all Muslims from entering this country until we can find out what’s going on.” This made me sit up in my chair. Didn’t The Donald know you can’t do that in America? Had he never heard of the First Amendment? Later, I found out that in the right wing conspiracy world Islam is a “political movement” not a religion. Now, which is more scary;, a leader who hasn’t heard of the First Amendment or one who buys into conspiracy theories about a major world religion? Frankly, I’ve yet to decide, but both bode poorly for our liberties.
Trump also seems fascinated with illegal aliens from Mexico specifically (“They’re rapists. They’re bringing drugs. They’re criminals…”). What about the illegal immigrants from Eastern Europe or Ireland? True, many of our illegal aliens are Hispanic, but not all by a long shot. If he’s so in touch with this issue, he’d know non-Hispanics make up about one-third to one-half of that eleven million. Thus, his speeches smacked of racism, and that is a trait I have never admired.
He promised to create a “deportation force” to round up the estimated eleven million illegal aliens in this country. Presumably, he intended to send them back to their countries of origin, but what if that’s not always an option? Do we put these people in camps? Like I said, I’m a history enthusiast, and histories about people getting rounded up by armed men never end well.
I also noted his Twitter threat to take American citizenship away from people who burn the American flag. Since such people obviously can’t be deported to their country of origin, what would become of them? Again, I see camps with barbed wire fences, and I don’t have to concentrate very hard to imagine what we would call such places.
When Trump won the Republican nomination, he really got rolling. In his acceptance speech, he said, “No one knows the system better than I, and only I can fix it.” Am I being picky to take issue with this quote? Nope! American politicians typically lay out a plan or a philosophy for fixing our problems, but not The Donald. Stating that he alone can fix our nation’s problems is CLASSIC fascism.
For those unfamiliar with the term; fascism is a system of government that centers on a single leader who is seen as indispensable to solve the nation’s problems. Examples of fascist leaders are Italy’s Mussolini, Spain’s Franko, and the oft commented on Germany’s Hitler. And, buddy, if you think that by simply following an all-knowing leader everything will be fine, I’ve got some books for you to read with titles like “The Rise and Fall Of…”
By this time in the election season, I was watching everything The Donald did. Not for entertainment value but because this nut truly scared me. After the Republican convention, there was a lot of talk of a Trump “pivot.” By this, it was meant that he would drop all that extreme talk to be reborn as a normal American politician. It hasn’t happened yet, and I’m not holding my breath. He continued to fear monger (crime is everywhere and illegal immigrants are the reason), to spout conspiracy theories (Climate change is a myth created by China), and to bully his one remaining political opponent (Threatening to lock her up).
Trump was a disaster in all three debates, and it was obvious he had no idea what he was talking about. Unfortunately, his opponent was the target of a well-orchestrated smear campaign and, in the end, The Donald squeaked by an Electoral College victory.
So, here we are. I am still watching the news and am sadly not surprised by The Donald in the least. As I write, he is filling his staff with conspiracy theorists and fear mongers like himself who, also like himself, have no experience in the fields they will be working in. He is ignoring hard-earned intelligence briefings because he’s “like a smart person” and already has all the answers. Also, he is still attacking those who exercise free speech (Demanding the Hamilton cast apologize and raving about Alek Baldwin’s performance on SNL).
His conduct has shown him to be a racist, self-centered, ignorant egomaniac with a penchant for fascism. To me, all the warning signs of a dictatorship are clear for all to see, and the man isn’t even in the White House yet. Under such circumstances, I think any reasonable person has a should to be afraid of what a nutcase like this might do once he has actual power in his tiny little hands.
Resistance, thus, becomes the only alternative to surrender…and I never cared much for surrender.
By Clayton J. Callahan