American Farce – Raising a Dictator

It’s obvious that Trump’s campaign slogans of 2016 had a hidden message, available to all but the truly naïve: when Trump wanted to “Make American Great Again”, he clearly meant to “Make White America Great Again”, and when he said “America First” he meant “White America First”.

When Trump ran for office, he did so as an economic move, a ploy to strengthen his position with the Russians. According to his own insiders, Trump never expected to win. His election to the presidency of the United States was the last thing he wanted and I’d wager the worst day of his life.

Unqualified, untrained, inept, and intent on his own aggrandizement, Trump set about conducting his office with all of those qualities pushed to the forefront. Trump is nothing but brazen and cannot be shamed. Anyone else would blanch at his own poor performance but Trump’s self-mythos demands he cannot do wrong, he cannot fail, and he never loses.

After tasting the power of his office, he’s become intoxicated. Always admiring of autocrats like Russian Premier Putin, North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un, and Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Trump imagines himself as the dictator of a New White America. After all, his self-mythos allows no checks and balances, no curtailing of power, no agreement from Congress, no reliance on a Supreme Court. He would dissolve all of these checks to his power if he could. As it is, he removed many key Inspector Generals, stacked the Attorney General’s office in his favor, removed the competent civilian commanders in the Pentagon, and surrounded himself with sycophants.

That his followers are delusional is both true and false. Some are, some aren’t. Those that are desire a return to the Jim Crow era of White Supremacy because they are too lazy to compete with their minority neighbor and would rather bemoan their plight than do better. Those that aren’t deluded are attempting to overthrow our democracy to make the return to the Jim Crow era of White Supremacy a reality, the only way they believe that will happen.

White, internal terrorists have been with us a long time. The bombing of the Oklahoma Federal building was the single largest loss of life through terrorism on US soil before 9/11. The Unabomber had an agenda. The sieges at Ruby Ridge and Waco, whose events are disputed on both sides, were propagated by firearms infractions and charges of stockpiling illegal weapons.

Now, these terrorist extremists have found their leader. And Trump wants to lead them. He believes in many of the same things they do, but his motivation is more prosaic: their gains increase his power. They make great show or protecting their constitutional rights, then spit on our constitutional institutions and don’t seem to mind abrogating these great rights to a dictator. They worship a man who will toss them aside at his convenience, and later strip them of their power when they threaten him. The extremists believe they have a genie in a bottle, but they are unprepared for the day they liberate him.

So who is Donald Trump? What does he believe in?

I want to quote from historian Alan Bullock’s biography of another would-be dictator:

He never trusted anyone; he never committed himself to anyone, never admitted any loyalty.… He learned to lie with conviction and dissemble with candour. To the end he refused to admit defeat and still held to the belief that by the power of will alone he could transform events.

Alan Bullock, 1971

On this man’s professed use of legal means:

However much [he] underlined his insistence upon legal methods, the character of the [activists he led] was such that the idea of a [coup] was bound to come naturally to men whose politics were conducted in an atmosphere of violence and semi-legality.

Alan Bullock, 1971

This would-be autocrat developed his ideas over years while observing the people around him, watching how they reacted to his outbursts of political fury, noting who was strong and who was weak, what ethnic minorities he could hate with little backlash in order to whip up the jealous anger of his political base. He wrapped his will to dominate in nationalistic banter, promising to make his country great again. He would fulfill the promise of the republic.

It worked. Slowly, over years, this would-be autocrat stoked the embers of his national fire until appointed to high office. Then he revealed his actual program. His great achievement had been mobilizing his gangs of street thugs into a fighting force. From hundreds he formed them into hundreds of thousands. His propaganda machine never ceased and he turned out his followers at elections for gains in the parliament. With parliamentarian support, he found his legal way into the highest office. The rest is history.

That was the turning point. Now with authority over the state, he could begin his autocratic rule, first by weeding out and destroying his enemies (any who defended the republic or opposed his insane autocratic rants) until he surrounded himself with yes-men of similar delusional inclinations. Empire—from a whispered hope, it became the watchword of a nation now bent on conquest.

In the man’s own words:

“I also came to understand that physical intimidation has its significance for the mass as well as the individual … For the successes which are thus obtained are taken by the adherents as a triumphant symbol of the righteousness of their own cause; while the beaten opponent very often loses faith in the effectiveness of any further resistance.”

Alan Bullock, 1971

Echoes of this sentiment ring true today. Back and forth, lawmakers debated whether pursuing action against the president for inciting a riot at the Capitol Building was wise. Excuses fluttered like the dying embers of a fire: “…will only make it worse … will rile up his supporters more … will lead to escalation….” among other specious comments.

Like deciding to confront a bully, one might think escalation only brings more severe beatings, but inaction emboldens the bully to greater acts of terror against you and ever stronger opponents.

We’ll achieve de-escalation only through strength within the boundaries of our law and ethos. If neither side backs down, don’t blame our mostly Democratic (and some Republican) lawmakers for standing up to tyranny and terrorism—this is the extremists’ fight, but the law-abiding citizens, those respecting our great Constitution, will end it.

Alan Bullock’s biographical subject could not have succeeded in his tyranny without collaborators at the highest level of the political spectrum. Collaborators took several forms: his adherents, worshipping the cult of his personality; those deluded into thinking this man was a means to a greater good; and those he duped into believing they could trust him.

His lack of scruple later took by surprise even those who prided themselves on their unscrupulousness.

Alan Bullock, 1971

And who were these collaborators?

But the heaviest responsibility of all rests on the [the country’s] Right, who not only failed to combine with the other parties in defence of the Republic but made [him] their partner…. What the [country’s] Right wanted was to regain its old position … as the ruling class … to put the working classes ‘”in their places”…. Blinded by interest and prejudice, the Right forsook the role of a true conservatism, abandoned its own traditions and made the gross mistake of supposing that in [this leader] they had found a man who would enable them to achieve their ends.

Alan Bullock, 1971

Donald Trump cannot be trusted. He is a person who is only interested in his own acclimation, his gain, his power, and his money. We have seen favored advisors, fed up with his nonsense, step out of line. He quickly and efficiently denounces them as if they were never close to him in the first place, indeed, he hardly knew them, and had he known of their traitorous intentions he would never have talked to them. Then they are vilified in the foulest terms.

Trump requires worship. Nothing else satisfies him. He is unwavering in his own rightness. He must be. His identity is so tied up in his self-perpetuating mythos of invincibility that any crack in its foundation will cause his ego to tumble into a black abyss.

This is a picture of a man with a closed mind, reading only to confirm what he already believes, ignoring what does not fit in with his preconceived scheme.

Alan Bullock, 1971

I’m sure you’ve guessed that the subject of Mr. Bullock’s biography is Adolph Hitler. All quotations are acknowledged as Mr. Alan Bullock’s copyright from his excellent book:

Hitler: A Study in Tyranny, Bullock, Alan, Perennial Library, Harper & Row, abridged edition, 1971.

I leave you with this image, chillingly applicable to both men:

When you lie, tell big lies…. Above all, never hesitate, never qualify what you say, never concede an inch to the other side, paint all your contrasts in black and white.

Alan Bullock, Hitler: A Study in Tyranny, abridged, 1971

Stay Friendly and Healthy.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s