Let me make this perfectly clear: Trump is the bad guy.
He’s the villain we have to defeat. He’s the threat endangering America. Trump is a liar, a conman, a thief, a racist, and a sex offender, but worst of all, he’s a dictator wannabe with fascist tendencies. If you are even considering voting for him, there are only two possibilities: 1) You’re very misinformed or 2) You’re not a good person. That’s it. There is no third option. And I’m betting most of you “misinformed” types are just willfully ignorant, which puts you in the “not a good person” category.
There is no good excuse for supporting Trump. Yes, the economy may be going strong for YOU, just as I’m sure it was great for Southern plantation owners during slavery and for Germany under the Nazis regime, but that kind of strength came at a steep price, and we are paying just as steep a price for Trump, the price of the American soul.
It doesn’t matter whether YOU have been adversely affected by Trump’s hateful policies. Other people are suffering and will continue to suffer because of Trump, and you can either choose to care or choose to turn a blind eye.
Now if you’ve got a TRUMP 2020 sticker on your bumper, I know what you’re thinking. “Nick, you’re the one that’s deluded! Trump isn’t perfect, but he says it like it is! The Democrats are the liars, the ones who want to take away our rights, and anyway, Biden will be much worse!” Here we come to an impasse, because either I am deluded, or you are. Without just assuming you are right because you want to be right, how can we really know?
First, let’s STOP thinking about politics like we do sports. I am NOT team Democrat and you are NOT team Republican. This isn’t just a wrongheaded approach, it’s a dangerous one. Arguing for one party over another isn’t a matter of opinion. It’s not the same as liking Coke over Pepsi. We may hold to different values, but some things, like basic human rights, we all need to agree upon if we wish to live in a decent world. You may be all about the Second Amendment and abortion and I may care more about health care and LGBTQ rights, but when it comes to Trump, your values DO NOT MATTER. Why? Because Trump isn’t really a liberal or a conservative. He isn’t really a Democrat or Republican. He doesn’t care about your values or mine. Trump cares only about Trump. And in a totalitarian state, in a state where checks and balances are eroded by cronyism, where the press becomes “fake news,” the FBI is mistrusted, and all power is concentrated, Trump can decide he doesn’t want you to have guns anymore, and you won’t be able to say or do anything about it.
There is nothing—and I mean NOTHING—more frightening than a fascist, totalitarian state. This isn’t just fear-mongering. This isn’t just another version of “everyone I don’t like is Hitler.” There is more than enough evidence to support this claim.
Right now, I am sure you don’t believe me. No doubt I’ve been brainwashed by the liberal media, you must be thinking. Trump isn’t a fascist or a dictator, and you’re just sore because YOUR candidate lost. So before we do anything else, let’s try and determine who’s full of shit and who’s talking TRUTH. Then, if we can do that, if we are to genuinely seek truth, if we are willing to follow the facts wherever they lead us, we have to be willing to change our beliefs. Unfortunately, social media is a clusterfuck when it comes to untangling the truth from the lies, and it’s not hard to see why. We are bombarded by false information every day, from Russian bots intent on sowing discord to billionaires trying to influence how we think. What’s worse, we choose to lose ourselves to the echo chambers of our own biases. We talk only with Republican friends, watch only Republican news, listen only to Republican radio and read Republican books. But stop and ask yourself this question: if you were being brainwashed, if you were being fed WRONG information, how could you ever know it? If all you are ever exposed to are lies and half-truths?
I do not watch MSNBC. I do not read left-leaning books. And I take whatever I hear on CNN with a grain of salt. I used to follow an anti-Trump Facebook group until they accused the president of raping a 13-year-old girl. Could it be true? Possibly. But without evidence, I unfollowed the group. So how do I formulate my beliefs? I educate myself, by reading non-partisan, non-fiction history and science, and I listen to what the candidate himself has to say, not what some third-party person claims he said, but what Trump says when the cameras are rolling.
“Lock her up!”
Trump’s anti-Hillary slogan, “Lock her up,” was our first warning sign. No candidate in U.S. history has ever so blatantly threatened to imprison their rivals. And if you know your history, you’ll know only dictators talk this way. The only debate we can have about this matter is whether what Trump said is significant, whether it should worry us, and perhaps you could argue that it isn’t really a big deal, and if we had no other examples of such behavior, maybe you’d be right. Unfortunately, we do. We see it, in fact, almost every day.
But wait . . . maybe I’m just using scary-sounding buzzwords like “fascist” to promote my team? What the heck is fascism anyway? Let’s take a look at Wikipedia:
Robert Paxton says that:
[Fascism is] a form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation, or victimhood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy, and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion.
While there is much debate as to the precise definition of fascism, it’s important to note that no political system is absolute. Democracy for the ancient Greeks looked a lot different than it looks to us today, but we can still see a number of details in Paxton’s definition that closely parallels the actions of the Trump administration. First, we have “community decline,” a move away from a purer America, one Trump promises to fix, to make America great again.
This emphasis on racial “purity” is reflected by Trump’s view of “real” Americans. Nazis openly march in Charlottesville, and Trump calls them, “very fine people.” Trump demonizes Hispanics, calling immigrants “rapists and drug dealers,” while separating asylum-seeking children from their families. This, alone, should shock and horrify us, unite us in revulsion in condemning this president. Child separation is a policy tantamount to Hitler’s relocation of the Jews. And yet, to my utter dismay, the traumatizing of children and their parents by ICE seems to have elicited nothing more than a collective yawn. And, despite Trump’s claim that Obama’s policy did the same, PolitiFact states that:
The Obama administration did not have a policy to separate families arriving illegally at the border. Family separations rarely happened under the Obama administration, which sought to keep families together in detention. Then, based on a court decision, it released families together out of detention.
Separations under Trump happened systematically as a result of his administration’s policy to prosecute all adults crossing the border illegally. After mounting public pressure and criticism, Trump signed an executive order to stop separating families. Around 2,800 children have been reunited with their families because a court ordered the Trump administration to do so.
Trump repeatedly attempts to change the narrative about family separations, but the facts remain the same. Obama did not pass down to Trump a policy to separate families.
Trump’s claim is inaccurate. We rate it False.
Jewish citizens living in 1940s Germany thought they had nothing to fear from their government, but Hitler tapped into centuries-old animosity between Jews and Christians to fuel his drive for power. In the same way, Trump uses racism to fuel division and consolidate his base, and it doesn’t matter whether he himself is racist or not. What matters is that the KKK and other White Supremacist groups consider him one of their own, and are emboldened to act out, sometimes violently, against card-carrying Americans. Trump compares the Black Lives Matter movement to a terrorist organization, while his supporters wave their Blue Lives Matter flags along with the stars and bars of the Confederacy. This surge in racist sentiment, spurred by the actions of the president, has created a volatile mix, with an emphasis on “national militants,” that we are currently seeing in this “America First” crowd, and “redemptive violence without ethical or legal restraint,” that we find in those Trumpians strutting about with their AR-15s, intimidating lawful protesters, shooting rubber bullets at reporters, even committing murder, as unidentified police push people into unmarked vehicles in the name of keeping the peace.
Once in power, dictators seek to silence opposition, challenging limits on free speech. Now I cannot stress this enough: THE MOST IMPORTANT FREEDOM WE HAVE is that of SPEECH. Why? Because the First Amendment, NOT the second, guarantees our other freedoms. If we are not allowed to speak, to assemble, to protest, we are powerless to argue against those who would take away our rights. In Africa, Russia, and in the Middle East, dictators imprison journalists for speaking against them, and today in America, Trump threatens anyone who disagrees with him, calling journalists liars, limiting access to press briefings, and taking whatever legal action he can to silence the opposing side. The only news agencies Trump has yet to condemn are those that praise his every word. These are the behaviors of a dictator.
Dictators tamper with elections and limit voting rights, creating the false appearance of democracy. In Russia, Putin arbitrarily extended his term limit to the year 2036, as his political rival was mysterious poisoned. And after four years in office, Trump has done nothing but praise Putin. When asked about accepting the 2020 election results, the president repeatedly dodged the question or suggested he would contest the results. As recently as this week, he had this to say:
“Well, we’re going to have to see what happens. You know that. I’ve been complaining very strongly about the ballots. And the ballots are a disaster. … We want to have — get rid of the ballots and you’ll have a very trans- — we’ll have a very peaceful — there won’t be a transfer, frankly; there’ll be a continuation. The ballots are out of control. You know it.”
This kind of talk sows doubts in the minds of his supporters, raising unfounded concerns over voter ID fraud and “busloads” of illegal voting immigrants. Even with regard to serving out his terms, Trump challenges the notion he should ever leave, following Putin’s example. But while Trump warns that the 2020 election could be rigged, he has done everything in his power to rig it himself, appointing his lackey to head the Post Office in June, who removed mail sorting devices (used to count ballots) months before the November election. This can only serve to disenfranchise minorities and lower-class citizens, who often can’t get out of work or can’t find transportation to visit a polling station.
None of this is normal. None of this is acceptable.
If I were to list all the terrible things Trump has said and done, his sexually assaulting women, his making fun of the handicapped, his cheating on his wife and bribing porn stars, his collusion with Russia, or just the fact that he IGNORED early warnings of COVID-19, costing 200,000+ American lives, well, this post would never end. But if you know all this, and still support him, you cannot be a good person. If you know black citizens are being murdered in the streets by police, while Trump equates black protesters to terrorists, then you cannot be a good person. If you know children sit scared and alone and shivering in cages on American soil, and our president shows no interest in stopping it, then you are not a good person.
If you simply do not care about other people, nothing I say or do will convince you otherwise, but you should know that the price for fascism is freedom.
America is NOT the ground we walk on, nor the mountains or the rivers or the trees that inhabit it—this land was here long before America and will exist long after we are gone. America is an IDEA, the idea that we are all created equal, equality safeguarded by the Constitution. If we abandon these principles in favor of our pocketbook, our personal interests, or a sports team mentality, if we vote Trump into office, then in no uncertain times we threaten this great, two-hundred-year experiment that is America.
Every day, I am brokenhearted by the many Trump signs I see flying from car windows, driveways, and private businesses. But we must remember this: dictators do not gain power on their own. PEOPLE put them in power. Hitler, Stalin, and Mao were well-beloved and popular leaders. But popularity does not, must not, equal good. Our moral duty, as American citizens, is to vote for what is RIGHT. What is JUST. What is GOOD. We hold in our hands the only weapon against tyranny. Against evil. That weapon is the VOTE. And we are morally bound to use it.
I leave you with this all-important poem by Martin Niemöller:
First, they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out— because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.