Madeleine Albright, who was the first woman to serve as Secretary of State, pulls no punches in the NY Times today. The caption below the headline spells it out:
The reason, of course, is Donald J. Trump.
Why isn’t this on the front page? Albright is saying what has been obvious for months. It’s time to stop pretending Trump is normal – or alone.
Albright lays out a bill of indictments against Trump, after first detailing how the warning signs around the world are signaling democracy is in trouble and the rule of dictators is on the rise. For Albright this is personal. She grew up in Europe and saw the rise of Fascism. She later learned that many of her relatives were killed because they were Jewish. She knows what a belief system based on hate and lies can do. And she has this to say about Trump, among other things:
At one time or another, Trump has attacked the judiciary, ridiculed the media, defended torture, condoned police brutality, urged supporters to rough up hecklers and — jokingly or not — equated mere policy disagreements with treason. He tried to undermine faith in America’s electoral process through a bogus advisory commission on voter integrity. He routinely vilifies federal law enforcement institutions. He libels immigrants and the countries from which they come. His words are so often at odds with the truth that they can appear ignorant, yet are in fact calculated to exacerbate religious, social and racial divisions. Overseas, rather than stand up to bullies, Mr. Trump appears to like bullies, and they are delighted to have him represent the American brand. If one were to draft a script chronicling fascism’s resurrection, the abdication of America’s moral leadership would make a credible first scene.
There are just three problems I have with Albright’s editorial. One is that it isn’t on the front page. Another is this: she doesn’t go far enough.
To be sure, it would take a special kind of mind to not make the connections between Trump and what she lays out. The moment she directly accused Trump of being a modern Mussolini or Hitler would be enough for some people to serve as an excuse to ignore everything she’s trying to say. In fact, they’d openly attack her. (They probably already are.)
Of course, those same people are ignoring the parallels between what ICE is doing and the SS — and the constant rhetoric about needing to ‘protect’ America from certain people and groups. Those same people are ignoring how some Americans are more important than others under Trump. This while we’re having Nazis marching openly in the streets of America, being called “some very fine people” by Trump…
The third thing I’d take issue with Albright on is this, and it’s a problem we’re still coming to terms with. It’s the fact that the rise of Fascism could not be possible without the active support of the Republican Party, no matter how they try to disguise it. As I commented at the Times:
Trump could be stopped this minute if not for one thing. The Republican Party controls all three branches of Federal government, thanks to a stolen Supreme Court seat and rigging the vote and the courts everywhere they can. They are happy with Fascism. This is what they see as their only way to stay in power. The division they actively encourage is how they keep people from uniting against them. (And never forget, a majority of Americans voted against Trump.)
It’s not just Trump who is the problem. It’s the Republican Party and the oligarchs behind them. The Mercers, the Kochs, the Murdochs, the Wall Street financiers….
They are funding the destruction of our democratic institutions and undermining the rule of law. (Citizens United, and the Janus case. Killing the ACA. Pruitt at the EPA, and others like him)
We aren’t falling into Fascism – we’re being pushed.
The current highest ranked comment at the Times is this:
Pa 3 hours ago
A masterful, clear, concise statement of the current threat.
As sobering as this piece is, the fact that we haven’t heard anything like this from elected leaders in either of the political parities, or from business leaders, or from those who lead our institutions of higher-learning is even more so.