Michigan Democrat Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s comments slurring Coronavirus lockdown protesters in her state as embodying “some of the worst racism and awful parts of our history in this country” are only the tip of the iceberg in an increasingly reckless demonization of citizens who have rallied against stringent social curbs in America in the name of public health.
A Yale professor whose “anti-fascist” studies have been featured in The New York Times labeled opponents of Whitmer’s exceedingly strict and constitutionally questionable shutdown of her state as “Trump’s paramilitary forces” primed to act violently on the president’s behalf at a given word.
Meanwhile, a prominent Bosnian-American writer, in a piece for the popular website The Intercept, compared the Trump administration to Serbian war criminals from the 1990s and concluded that Trump and his Republican backers “now have no choice but to follow their trajectory” of “conflict and destruction” to “its logical extreme … [t]hey will kill if they have to, or at least let Covid-19 do it.”
The abject horror and utter disgust that progressives and other statists feel in the marrow of their bones over the sight of U.S. citizens bearing guns have been a staple of criticism of populist conservatism for years. It began in earnest with the Tea Party revolt in 2009, with casual reference frequently made to “neo-Nazi radicals” and violent secessionists. But the rhetoric has ratcheted up to a genuinely frightening degree since Trump entered the White House in 2017.
The act of rallying against Democrat elected officials, who have used a health crisis to assume an unprecedented amount of control over the lives of the citizens they are meant to serve, has led to regular Americans being stamped as enemies of the state and violators of the common good. Average citizens are being stigmatized in a way not seen since the tumultuous days of the 1960s. The threat of bloodshed is markedly increased as a result. And it is all done in the name of scoring points against Trump and his supporters.
Ivy League Arsonist
“This coalition of the business elite, right-wing Christian evangelicals, and white nationalists and other white supremacists is very dangerous,” Jason Stanley, a professor of philosophy at Yale, told Salon in an interview published May 11. “Fascism is ultimately a death cult.”
Stanley sees the Coronavirus as Trump’s Hitler moment. “Remember, Adolf Hitler’s book was called, ‘My Struggle’ — that ‘struggle’ was survival of the fittest. That is exactly what we are seeing in this moment with Trump, the Republican Party and the coronavirus pandemic.”
Lest you think he is just another fringe campus crank, it must be noted that Stanley has regularly made the rounds of major establishment media organs. He has been interviewed or quoted by The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, CSPAN, NBC News, and NPR, to name just a few. In October 2018, Stanley was featured in The New York Times Opinion section with an op-ed and video presentation warning, “If You’re Not Scared About Fascism in the U.S., You Should Be.”
The Coronavirus has allowed Stanley to take his Trump-fascism obsession to even greater levels of hysteria. “Right now, we are seeing how many men with guns can be called out on to the street by Donald Trump and his administration,” Stanley told Salon of the Michigan lockdown protests. He elaborated in his interview:
“The United States military is controlled by civilians. But with Trump’s paramilitary forces and other armed groups, he can give them orders and then claim some type of plausible deniability. These types of armed militias and paramilitaries are given license to act by Donald Trump and other authoritarians.
“The official leaders in a full-on authoritarian regime or failing democracy then deny responsibility for the violence. The history of fascism repeatedly shows that leaders such as Donald Trump inspire these militias and paramilitaries to act, and then Trump can say, ‘No, that violence and those groups have nothing to do with me. They’re not the government. Those are some random people on the street!’”
Trump as Ethnic Cleanser
It’s hard to imagine a more irresponsible accusation against a political opponent in the United States than this, yet Aleksandar Hemon has somehow managed to pull it off. Like Stanley, Hemon is no obscure radical. A Bosnian-American novelist, Hemon has written regularly for The New Yorker. His 2008 book The Lazarus Project was “a finalist for the 2008 National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award,” his bio on publishing goliath MacMillan’s website states.
In a May 2 piece for The Intercept, Hemon plays on his heritage to paint Trump as a Balkan war criminal being aided and abetted by his bloodthirsty followers. “The conflictual essence of Trumpism was made fully evident very early, in the course of the Republican primaries in 2016,” Hemon wrote. “He promised, implicitly and explicitly, revenge and punishment for those who wronged white America. As we now know all too well, white America’s response to Trumpian revenge fantasies was quick and enthusiastic, and thus the GOP graduated from a routinely racist conservative party to one unquestionably committed to white nationalism, up to and including outright white supremacy.”
From there Hemon went on to assert that Warlord Trump had set machinery in motion that will resort to killing on a mass scale, including utilizing the Coronavirus as a lethal weapon if needed, in order to remain in power:
“For many of my fellow ex-Yugoslavs, it was instantly clear that once the GOP and Trump committed to conflict and destruction, they could never afford to quit, for that would constitute a tactical error leading to an irreversible defeat. They now have no choice but to follow their trajectory to its logical extreme, which must be victory and rebirth at all cost. They will kill if they have to, or at least let Covid-19 do it.”
There is a stark disconnect among great swaths of Americans today on fundamental issues such as liberty, equality, and basic cultural and social values. Those on the conservative side of the ledger should fully realize that millions of their fellow citizens are absorbing and digesting bitter propaganda from voices they have been taught to respect. These figures are telling them that those who disagree with them politically are dangerous extremists eager to turn violent at the drop of a hat. Civic discourse is hardly the only casualty here. This kind of virulent enmity will yield terrible results.
Read more from Joe Schaeffer.
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