Ever since November 8th last year most of us have known in our bones that Trump represents something more reminiscent of Germany, Italy and Spain of the 1930’s than the America that we have known, if not always fondly, in our lifetimes.
We knew something was really bad from all those rhetorically and physically violent, racist rallies that Trump held in those backward States no-one with sense ever visits, unless they really have to. They are not called flyover States for no reason.
For me, the proof of badness lay in Trump’s mockery of Serge Kovaleski’s disability. To mock someone like that is to devalue their worth and humanity; it is exactly what the Nazis did in Germany long before they came for the Jews or the Gypsies or the Lefties. I knew from my own life experience that Trump was made of similar stuff.
But what we lacked was proof or evidence of an ideology behind it all, a plan that would unmask the driving credo. Without this sort of verification then Trump was just another noisy if particularly repellant right-wing pol, a species America has never been short of.
Then he recruited Steve Bannon, first to head his election campaign and then as his principal adviser. Promoting the former head of Breitbart, the mouthpiece of the so-call alt.right, whatever that meant, suggested Bannon might exert a Svengali-like influence over the new President. But for what purpose? Apart from the hatred of Muslims and a vague populism that he shared with Trump, what would Bannon contribute to Trumpism?
Well, I think we have an answer now courtesy of one of the most important pieces of journalism crafted since November 8th. The article appears in this weekend’s New York Times magazine although the Times has made it available on its website today.
Written by Emily Bazelon, the article is called ‘Department of Justification’.
The answer to the question ‘What is Trumpism about?’, according to Ms Bazelon, lies not just in the appointment of Steve Bannon but also Jeff Sessions, the former Alabama Senator and Attorney-General of a State that was once, in the heyday of the cotton trade, the primary destination of slaves from Africa.
Between them, if Emily Bazelon is correct, Trump, Bannon and Sessions will use the Department of Justice to craft an America that will be a Christian, white supremacist state, a country that will, in important ways, more resemble the Europe of the 1930’s than the America of more recent times.
Unless Trump and his friends can be stopped.
You can access the full article here. It is quite long but a fascinating if disturbing read.