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Who’s the Fascist?

Donald Trump is the ill spoken, boorish, graceless version of every American president in modern history. He differs from them only in his unconcealed appeals to white nationalism. But Democrats aren’t much better. They pretend to work on behalf of human, civil and economic rights but those claims are lies. They are meant to hide their partnerships with corporate America, very wealthy individuals and the worldwide imperialist project.

If Trump is a fascist then he will fit in nicely with the pantheon of horrific men we are told to respect and venerate. Barack Obama charges and convicts whistle blowers with the little used espionage act from the era of Woodrow Wilson. He claims and has exercised an invented right to kill Americans. His predecessor invaded and occupied Iraq but he continues the dirty deed there and in Afghanistan. He tries to fool the public by assassinating “al Qaeda number two,” over and over again. Al Qaeda certainly doesn’t lack for plan B staffers.

Bush the younger cut tax rates for rich people but Obama didn’t change that. Under the guise of compromising with intransigent Republicans he did the same thing. When he and the Democrats controlled Congress in 2009 and 2010 they raised the minimum wage a paltry 70 cents.

Conversely, Donald Trump says he would raise the minimum wage and says he would stop the endless efforts at regime change. Neither Hillary Clinton nor Bernie Sanders have questioned that fundamental premise of American foreign policy. Hillary Clinton has already proven herself to be particularly blood thirsty. She is happy to bomb Libya or Syria or any other country. Her so-called expertise amounts to nothing more than an expansion of state sponsored terror committed by the United States.

Trump says he wouldn’t cut Social Security while Barack Obama famously declared that he and his 2012 Republican opponent, Mitt Romney, agreed on the need to cut this program that was once called the “third rail” of politics.

Every president since the 1980s has grown the horrific mass incarceration industry. Using wars on drugs as a pretext they have locked up 2 million people, half of whom are black. No one comes into office with any intention of undoing America’s leadership as the world’s worst jailer.

American history teaches black people to be, at the very least, wary of public officials who are beloved by red necks as much as Trump is. When Trump speaks of preventing Muslim immigration or deporting all of the estimated 11 million undocumented people in this country he is making inherently racist appeals.

That is why he is protested and rightly so. But the protesters have already missed the mark by giving a pass to equally questionable policy actions and statements coming from Democrats. It is a Democratic president who brought back a cold war against Russia and recklessly brought troops to the edge of that country’s borders. This scenario was unheard of during the worst days of the cold war and now risks nuclear confrontation. That is because George W. Bush unilaterally abrogated the missile defense treaty with Russia. Perhaps he can be called a fascist also.

The trade deals passed by American presidents with congressional connivance grow worse. There is no longer any pretense that their goal is to help corporations maximize profits and minimize everyone else’s rights. Not even members of Congress were allowed access to the text of the Trans Pacific Partnership legislation.

If Trump is protested, Obama ought to be as well. He is spending his last year in office on an imperialism tour. He goes to Hiroshima for photo opportunities with atomic bomb survivors while building more nuclear warheads than any other president. He tells endless lies about Russian “aggression” but he is the provocative head of state.

Trump should be disliked by Latinos and everyone else when he says that Mexican immigrants are rapists and murderers. But Obama is the deporter in chief, sending a record number of Latino immigrants out of the country with dubious rationales, devastating them and their families.

Apparently all of the major party candidates fit the F word description in some way. Trump’s bombast and ignorance make him the easiest to pick out of the crowd but appearances are deceiving. It seems that if a politician has the right establishment credentials and knows how to give prepared speeches he or she can get away with committing any outrage.

In just the last 40 years American presidents or their allied partners in crime have killed people in Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Congo, Somalia, Haiti, Grenada, Gaza, Kosovo, Serbia, Sudan, Syria, Libya and Yemen. What do they have to do to be called fascists? Showing bad manners seems to be the only thing that sets off expressions of outrage among Americans.

There is already fascism in the White House, the Justice Department, the State Department and Congress. The only question is who will be the next person to keep that sick machinery running.

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Margaret Kimberley writes the Freedom Rider column for Black Agenda Report, where this essay originally appeared. 

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