“Woe to those who call evil good and good evil . . .
who acquit the guilty for a bribe but deny justice for the innocent.” ~ Isaiah 5:20, 23
He crushed opposition with violence and projected an image of himself as a powerful, indispensable leader by fostering a cult of personality, celebrity, spectacle. That is, showmanship.
Sound like anyone you know? I’m talking about Mussolini. I’ve been thinking of him lately and the correlations between him and our current president’s immediate predecessor. Although the historical precedents and political circumstances differ, the comparisons in terms of character and style are downright scary.
Okay, enough talking in circles. Just as Mussolini took overtook the Fascist movement in Italy during the 1930s, Trump exploited the ultra-nationalist, alt-right movements in the United States in the 2010s.
Fascist regimes thrive on disorder and the chaos they foment, only to claim they are the only ones who can “fix it” ~ vis-a-vis both Trump and Mussolini. If things work out well, take all the credit. If things go badly, as they indeed did, blame everybody else.
Arrogant contempt, greed, hunger for power use deception to cause confusion and distrust. Trump exploited existing economic fears during the period leading up to the 2016 presidential election, just as Mussolini used prejudice against minority groups in Italy and sowed discontent among the populace to seize power.
Furthermore, both neutered institutions that challenged them. We have seen how Trump copied past ethnic-nationalistic movements in pre-WWII Europe, goading with “stand by” and “fight like hell” and shaking a fist at rally after rally, culminating in the insurrection in D.C. on 6 January 2021. Can you imagine where we would be today had he succeeded?
And he’s still fighting to regain control. Lord, have mercy.