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Fascism Is Here, and It Isn’t from Trump

By | June 15, 2016 | 0 Comments

Protesters riot outside Trump rally in San Jose, California.
News report, 2016

Teenage boy flees from anti-Trump mob, is tackled to ground, then is refused help from fire truck, but finally reaches San Jose police – who had done nothing to aid him.
News report, 2016

San Jose police chief admits allowing rioters free reign so as not to “insight” more violence.
News report, 2016

San Jose mayor blames Trump for violence by anti-Trump demonstrators.
News report, 2016

Mob throws eggs and bottles at woman who supports Trump.
News report, 2016

Rioters claim egged woman was insulting them.
News report, 2016

NBC’s Andrea Mitchell blames Trump for woman being egged.
News report, 2016

Jews beaten and Jewish businesses trashed on Kristallnacht, but officials blame Jews for the violence.
News report, 1938

I grew up in San Francisco, about 50 miles from San Jose. When I was a kid, it was usually pronounced “Sanozay.” Gradually it became “San Hozay.” Now some newscasters are beginning to pronounce the J gutturally, similar to the German ch, as it is pronounced in Spanish.

But we aren’t speaking Spanish, at least not yet. We are still speaking American English. That is why I refuse to write the name of the city as San José, with the accent over the é, as some media are now spelling it. Similarly, I write the capital of Idaho as Boise, not Boisé, and I pronounce it “Boysee,” not “Bwazay.” If I can’t speak American English in America, where can I speak it?

Is this brief detour into linguistics relevant to what happened recently in San Jose – however you spell it? I believe so. I believe that in American cities, we should speak American English, and we should act like Americans – not like budding fascists in some tin-pot dictatorship.

Demonstrating for or against something or someone? Yes, this is a right of free people, guaranteed by the Constitution. But blocking political opponents from attending their rally? Assaulting them? Burning American flags and waving Mexican flags? Throwing raw eggs into the face and hair of a political opponent while spitting on her? No, these are the actions of bullies and would-be fascists.

Attempting to restore order but not over-reacting to mob violence? Yes, that is within the discretion of law-enforcement officers. But telling police to stand by idly while people are being assaulted and beaten bloody? No, that is cowardice at best, and abetting the rioters at worst. And blaming the victims of assault for bringing it on themselves? That is incipient fascism.

Nor is this the first time would-be fascists disrupted a Trump rally while police stood by. When Trump held a rally in equally Democratic Burlingame, California, police did not even clear a path through the demonstrators. His Secret Service convoy had to stop on the shoulder of a freeway, then hike up an embankment and enter the hotel through a back door. When was the last time this happened to a presidential candidate? Oh wait, it never happened. And once again, the mayor blamed Trump for the anti-Trump violence. They call themselves “progressives,” but they act like fascists.

             

Let me tell you a story. In 1932-1933, my parents were young students in Vienna. Austria was then a hotbed of Nazism, but the Nazis would not take over officially until 1938. My father was studying at the General Hospital, which was largely immune to demonstrations. But my mother was studying at the University of Vienna, and universities – then as now – were incubators of totalitarian ideology.

My mother sat in class with a student with a Nazi armband on one side of her, and a student with a socialist armband on the other side. She was caught in the crossfire of their angry glares and could not concentrate on the lecture. When increasing political unrest wracks our universities today, I feel great unease. It’s not just young people speaking out – it’s young thugs preventing political opponents from speaking at all.