In the morning I open my eyes to a window bleeding slim rays on sunshine. They protrude my eyelids until there’s no sensation of sleep left in me. Beyond the walls of my home is a street that nowadays is hardly traversed with the exception of a jogger trying to keep their form amidst gym shutdowns or a family walking their children or dogs. In a standstill, life goes on with limited semblance to the fast paced hustle of normalcy that existed until just two months ago.
Long gone are the days I watch cable for my news, I opt to ingest my information through a few social media apps. The words “you can’t trust what you read on the internet” echo in my head more often than not, but the internet isn’t what it was in the 90’s as it bears more resemblance to an interactive newspaper at times. Articles scroll past my eyes — “Donald Trump Appoints Top Donor To Postmaster General”, “Steve Bannon, Owner Of White Nationalist News Syndicate Joins Trump Cabinet”, “Trump Claims ‘There Are Good People On Both Sides’ Amidst Charlottesville Rally”. I don’t know how to be affected by it anymore & I question if the reality I am in is a satirical simulation. It’s not.
Donald Trump’s rise to “glory” — a term I feel the need to specify I employ loosely — is not unfamiliar. Hell, the American ideology that’s sparked his journey to the highest office in the United States is nothing new in of itself, it’s just been largely ignored & optimistically assumed to be a minority mindset. In the 243 years that the U.S. has existed there has been the removal of Native Americans for livable space (Liebenstraum), the forced labor of African slaves, the fear-based internment of Japanese nationals in concentration camps. Our generation just happens to exist during the most recent facicst entombment of a republic.
The president used tactics all too similar to get himself into his precarious position. His incoherent babbling, dropping trigger terms amidst his tangents of ill-pronounced words, intending to spread hate and fear amongst the disenfranchised blue collar whites, is nothing short of gobbled up and digested. And how? To the empathic & the educated, it doesn’t make sense how easily a group of people can turn on another, seamlessly transitioning groups of a different color or religion from human to maggot. No matter how hard I rack my brain to understand, I can’t seem to do it… unless, I look to history.
“They came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me.”
It’s difficult to compare Donald Trump to the leaders of past regimes when his reign has only just begun, but it has to be done. Looking back at our history is the only way to predict our future, isn’t it? Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, European Christan monarchies, and modern America all have one thing in common, they fear what isn’t exactly like them.
Donald Trump has cultivated an idealist fear in the hearts and minds of his followers. A fear of losing their jobs and way of life to groups of people who have been coexisting with them for decades. The thing is, their fear isn’t new. Donald Trump didn’t create this fear out of thin air with his wavering voice and confused disposition — the fear has always been there, laying dormant, waiting for someone to approve of it & to weaponize it.
He hasn’t killed millions of people, yet, but it is only the middle of his third year as president. What he has done is successfully implant his own henchmen in every major position under him that he could. He attacks the media, one of the foundations of a free nation. He spreads hate and propaganda, utilizing new technology to spread his racist rhetoric. There is a reason to be afraid when you wake up in the morning still living in a nation being torn apart by an infallible mockery of the American Democratic Process. Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia were not built in a day. 40 million people weren’t killed in the immediacy of a new regime. It began with deportation. It began with slander. It began with bigotry & xenophobia & it ended in the pits of unmarked mass graves.
When I drive past an American flag I know longer feel the pride I did when I was young, to grow up & live in a country where freedom was a right not a privilege. No, when I pass a mid century house waving an american flag from its termite infested porch, or a person sporting one on their mesh-backed ball cap, I think about the police state America is becoming, where black men are shot for existing in their own skin, hispanic families are torn apart for being immigrants in an immigrant nation, and the jewish community once again lives in fear of the pride of a nation. For them, this is not home anymore, but the beginning of a nightmare from which they may never wake up.
“First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out— because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”