The Women’s March greeted me with pink hats, diverse women and a cardboard sign that placed images of Donald Trump and Adolf Hitler side by side. My morning skim through Instagram preaches of America’s undeniable fascism post the Administration’s ‘zero tolerance’ towards illegal immigration. These angry, yet witty, associations are fueled by our need to clearly state disapproval of this disappointing presidential reign; not realizing that immigration policies were all put in place under democracy, not realizing that one can be pro-women without emphasizing their anti-Trump-ness.
America has more issues on its money-hungry land than the strands of hair on Machiavelli’s head. However, to say that this country in its entirety holds a fascist, tyrannical dictatorship is far from read and right. Historically oblivious activists may conveniently compare President Trump to totalitarian figures such as Hitler in hopes of highlighting our tension-pact political climate. However, these extreme analogies are only manifesting such movements of progression down roads of self-defeat.
Fascism, as defined by its founder Benito Mussolini, is outlined by three principles of society: Everything in the state, Nothing outside the state, Nothing against the state. For everything to be in the state, practically all the power of the country must be fully encompassed by the government and ultimately one body: a dictator. Nothing outside the state refers to the granted goal of any fascist nation to dominate its land with each member of the state fully submitting itself to the government and outside of any other motivations. Opposing principles one and two definitively violates principle three, calling for nothing against the state. Inherently, the elected congress, freedom of religion and daily protests of America break all three leading conditions of fascism.
May I remind you: there is no white man wearing a MAGA hat that bears the title “minister of propaganda.” I can pick up my groceries while wearing a headscarf. The press is still free. What I’m writing right now cannot get me arrested. There is no authoritative hand silencing my throat. So no, Trump is not Hitler and 21st century America does not equate to 20th century fascist Italy. To what credibility do we owe a movement that compares an elected officer to a dictator that brutally murdered 12 million people for the heritage that flows in their veins?
Making such comparisons forfeits our past fights towards rewriting the rules of the ground. The thing is, we don’t get to throw away our history. We do not get to reduce the bodies and blood of our ancestral brothers and sisters to nothing. We do not get to dilute progress and dress in stagnation just to emphasize the legitimacy of the problems America faces today. The lives we wrongfully lose every week at the hand of an armed cop is enough evidence. We get upset about the president disrespecting the legitimacy of the press while simultaneously disrespecting the legitimacy of the laws that this country builds off. Voicing our outrage on twitter after reading viral (and often misleading) news articles on feeds, not doing our research before spreading the information, pointing out the faults of only one side, accustoming our tongues to generic phrases of activism, cherry-picking with the causes we fight for, advocating for acceptance while fostering ‘cancel culture’, and maintaining fogged outlooks of extremity are tactics to be used in the fight for power, not justice. Inconsistency is compromise.
There is great significance in the fact that Trump was chosen through our constant system of election to be president by the voters. That system remains, so long as we keep fighting with and for it. However, taking to the streets shouting, “Veto the Cheeto” and “arrest Putin’s puta” achieve only two things: 1) feeding severe partisanship and 2) giving the other side a reason to sympathize with the right-wing agenda.
Today’s progressive media does not give Trump a break. In return, today’s conservative media does everything it can to radicalize the left. Party loyalty has trumped (for lack of a better term) our ability to listen to the other side and we’ve taken all the white from red, white and blue. We have put a face to the oppression in the United States as if there is not an entire administration and millions of voters behind him. Let us not dwell on Trump’s viral tweets, physical appearance, intelligence nor words said behind closed doors. Let us instead dwell on the entire system’s policies and do everything we can to change them.
Dare I say it, but President Trump is not much different from many former US presidents. Our inability to see that is our downfall. The bluntly racist “Southern Strategy” was carried out under Nixon. ICE was created under the Bush Administration. Jackson is literally nicknamed “ The Indian Killer.” You’re fooling yourself if you think locker-room talk is exclusive to Trump. What sets Trump aside is his translucent attitude and big mouth, only making it easier for us to keep him in his place. So, if you weren’t worried before, I can’t see why you would be worried today. American dogma did not get Trump elected. American voters did. Until proven otherwise, Trump won the presidential election fair and rectangle (Hillary did win the popular vote, after all.) The fact that someone as controversial as Trump can get elected is a severely dangerous yet beautiful thing. It is direct and vivid evidence that this country is not fascist nor is it a hopeless cause. Recall that Obama was president just a couple years ago. Recall that he gained this presidency post the Bush era. The beauty lies in the sheer pendulum of the situation. At any point, we are subject to change; subject to creating change.
America is not a done deal. She is a work in progress. Motions of improvement breathe truth and require balance. Third grade me was once told by a wise fellow classmate -after a brutally defeating game of dodgeball- “don’t hate the player, hate the game”. Well, America, to you I say “don’t hate the president, get the voters to the polls”.