Archive for the ‘Trump, Fascism, Populism, Authoritarianism,’ Category

Are We There Yet ? Don’t Worry….. America Is Not There , Yet.

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Fascism and Authoritarianism are words that are now being thrown around  to describe the administration of the current president of the US.  I had a lengthy conversation with my parents   regarding this matter, and though they are not experts on fascism and authoritarianism,  they did live under dictatorship/authoritarianism in the Philippines  for 16 years.  Not only that, they joined the underground opposition and fought bravely  against the dictatorship , until  Dictator  Ferdinand Marcos and his family were kicked out of the country in 1986 through the People Power Revolution.  As the cliché goes, been there, done that.

 

 

So, I asked my parents, “are we there yet ?”  Their verdict :  NO, because luckily, check and balances are  firmly entrenched in American  democracy.  However,  there are hints that POTUS is trying to undermine  the powers of   the Legislative and Judiciary, especially that of the Legislative by bamboozling the members  to rubber stamp the laws  he wants passed, doing away  with  the ethics commitees , or asking the Department of Justice officials investigating him, ” Are you on my team ? ” If not, you’re fired. ( Notice to non- American readers….. POTUS means President of the United States.)

 

What then is Authoritarianism ? Simply defined, it is a government where power is centralized in one leader. It is safe to assume  that  the leader or president can pretty much do whatever he or she likes, with no constitutional accountability.

 

POTUS is indeed corrupt,  morally  bankrupt, shamelessly unethical, but, to his credit, he is  not  authoritarian. Not yet, anyway.

 

Going by the definition of Fascism,   POTUS is not a Fascist, either , and though there are signs  of fascism ,  my parents think  there is no chance he will ever be one.

 

What is Fascism ? This form of government was started by Benito Mussolini in Italy.  His right – wing authoritarian  government  , supported by armed militia called ” blackshirts ” (  similar to Hitler’s brownshirts ) was , unfortunately, also supported  by  grassroots movements ( peasants, urban poor, even the middle class )  that turned  violent on those who were caught in the middle. So what are these signs of fascism that my parents are hinting at ?  This administration is , without a doubt, a right- wing government, and by all accounts,   is  being supported by people  of  the   ” white supremacist  ” types as Neo- Nazis, the Klan, anti- immigrants , anti- gays,   and , despite POTUS’ un-Christian values and behavior,  has an unwavering support of    Evangelicals.    It is, however,   these white supremacist groups ‘ predilection for violence ( they openly carry high powered weapons at their rallies ) and this president’s public call to ” take care ” of those who protest at his rallies (  ” don’t worry, I’ll pay for your lawyers ” )   that we should pay attention to.  It is akin to Philippine Dictator Ferdinand Marcos’  military knocking on doors of  anti-Marcos  people in the middle of the night and taking them away , never to be seen again. Filipinos called this ” salvaging “.  (  my parents had  to ” hide ” at one point ) .  It is fascism when there are political  human rights violations perpetrated by the powers-that be. Though it is unfair and inaccurate  to compare POTUS to Philippine President Marcos,  the image of  the white supremacy rally at Charlottesville nevertheless  has  a chilling effect on my parents’ sensibility.

 

There is one ” ism”  that I have not heard of that can very well  describe this  presidency.  It’s called Populism. What is Populism? According to Wikipedia,  it is a political philosophy supporting the rights and powers of the people in their struggle against a privileged elite. This definition  seems to describe the political philosophy  of the Democratic Party.  The Democratic Party is also about Social Security, clean air and water, protection of the environment, affordable health care, protection of workers , LBGTQ rights, etc.    But for decades,  the Republicans have been spreading false narratives that the Democratic Party is all about unfeterred  immigration, ( code for brown skinned immigrants who are rapists , criminals, Musim terrorists ) dole-outs, welfare ,( code for African -Americans ) ,  coddling the ” lazy ” poor, ” they will take away your guns” thing and free stuff.  POTUS  is able to articulate  what has been festering on everyone’s mind in a straight, politically incorrect, and brash manner.

 

Populism is not only a political philosophy, but is more a rhetorical style wherein Potus, in his demagoguery and rhetorics, clearly  divides the citizens between the elite and the masses….. the elite are the liberal academe/  inteligencia/ bleeding heart Democrats/ the OTHER, ( either non-white or non- Christian )  and the masses   are those who don’t fit into the former category (and that includes the rich and Wall Street )   POTUS speeches have endeared him to racists , to those who fear the surge in immigration and increase in foreign -born citizens who don’t share the  true American value,   and to white, ” hard- working ” blue -collar workers who are traditionally Democrats, but who now feel the party has either forgotten them, or they’ve been put on the back burner, only to be called upon during election time.

 

So, what exactly is the president of the U.S.?

 

After a long discussion with my parents  , I am of the opinion that  the current President of the United States is a POPULIST.

 

This is all for now. Peace and stay cool.  And thank you for reading.

 

Bye !

 

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