Not that she deserved any respect, but Madeline Albright is now using the F word. She joins a long list of political players, pundits, and punks calling Trump a big-F Fascist. Indeed, you, too, can show off your smart understanding of history by calling the current President and his minions the return of Fascism. But from the very people who often go around saying “people need to be better educated,” they need a history lesson of their own.
Trump has no interest in being a fascist leader. That requires far more planning and worldview-thinking than he has interest or patience for. He wants to be King. He doesn’t want to build a bridge to the 1930s, he wants to return to the 1730s. He’s not interested in Fascism, it’s Feudalism he’s after. He wants to return to an era of aristocrats, of Biltmore estates, and smiling, loyal subjects. He craves both adoration and awe, which comes from his power to give and yank away riches at whim. He wants to hold glowing orbs with other Kings and to bestow favors to celebrities, our modern-day princes and princesses. Trump idolizes the French because he sees a history there, from Versailles to Napoleon that perfect suits his tastes and temperament. He’s only ridiculed Germany, Spain, and Italy.
Good news, though, is that the 1730s soon led to profound social transformations and it’s an era we’d do well to draw inspiration. Why worry about the next Supreme Court justice when we absolutely have to the power to throw out the entire lot. David Lynch was right to say Trump “could go down as one of the greatest presidents in history because he has disrupted the thing so much,” precisely because he’s shown past rules and even decorum can be all thrown out the window. There’s no reason for us to be weighed down by tradition, of approved politics or diplomacy, because Trump has shown they can be ignored with great success.
A NYT piece recently asked what readers would add, “If You Could Amend the Constitution.” It’s nice we’re in a moment when people are actively entertaining the idea, but no one suggested the proper response: Throw the whole thing out. Start over. We don’t just need to scrap the electoral college, we need a new Constitution, a fresh set of governing documents to escape this maze not-of-our-own making, a maze designed to keep the status quo, to maintain the power of the elite. We might even start with a new Declaration of Independence. (Emma Goldman wrote a nice one I’d vote to adopt.)
To a new Constitution, the right will of course proclaim the founding white fathers were divinely inspired, combining two of their favorite views, hero worship with a belief that God not only operates in the world but wants to see chosen people amass unlimited wealth. But if they’re true at all to their values, the right should embrace radical change. Their founding fathers certainly did. In any case, they don’t matter. Whether they appreciate it or not, they already did it with Trump. It’s time to abolish yet another King.