Trump’s Love Affair With Violence in the Age of Fascist Nihilism
Without a care as to how his own vicious and aggressive rhetoric has legitimated and galvanized acts of violence by an assortment of members of the “alt-right,” neo-Nazis and white supremacists, Trump responded to the pipe bomb threats by claiming it was the fault of the mainstream media, which he labeled as “fake news.” Trump appears clueless and incapable of empathy regarding the suffering of others, all while displaying great hypocrisy. For instance, he claims political opponents should not be compared to historical villains and then proceeds to villainize his political rivals when he speaks to his base. The most obvious instance is when he whips up his base by encouraging chants aimed at Hillary Clinton such as “lock her up” or when he claims at his rallies that the Democrats are funding the caravan from Central America that is making its way to the United States border.
Trump is the endpoint of a malady that has been growing for decades. What is different about Trump is that he basks in his role, as George Scialabba puts it in Slouching Toward Utopia, as a “famous social parasite.” He is unapologetic about the looting of the country by the ultra-rich (including him) and by megacorporations. He embodies with unchecked bravado the sorts of sadistic impulses that could condemn generations of children to a future of misery. He loves people who believe that politics is undermined by anyone who has a conscience, and he promotes and thrives in a culture of violence and cruelty. He is not refiguring the character of democracy, he is destroying it, and in doing so, resurrecting all the elements of a fascist politics that many people thought would never re-emerge after the horrors and death inflicted on millions by fascist dictators. As Gil Scott-Heron once noted in the title of his studio album, it is “Winter in America.” Actually, it is worse: It is winter in fascist America.