Friday, May 27, 2016

After Trump, the Deluge? New Media; New Moment of Risk to Democracy; What Comes Next?

On bad days, I don't think it matters who wins the general election. The Trump phenomenon has gone too far; it is a groundswell of vile, belligerent, violent anger stirred up not only by the right wing media, but all corporate media's pandering to Trump.
"Get him out of here. Get him out of here," Trump bellows at anyone in his audience who disagrees with him. A woman protester was pulled out by her heels, according to one radio or TV news report I heard. Trump is the person so many people want to be president.
I lived in Spain toward the end of the regime of Generalissmo Franco, the last fascist dictator. There was a Guardia Civile in the classroom of all law classes, a student told us.
If the Guardia thought a discussion had become too licentious, he took the barrel of his rifle and pounded it once on the floor. It signaled all discussion must stop. So there was this uneducated civil servant, equipped with a gun and the power of arrest, deciding what could be discussed by the law professor.
Are we headed in this direction, as a society, where the ignorant and narrow-minded dictate what others may think and say?
I have read arguments that Trump is not a fascist, because he does not have an ideology of fascism -- because he has no ideology at all. No one thought Hitler was making much sense either, yet his rambling diatribes energized people, as Trump seems to do.
Trump is a clown to me, but others seemed hypnotized. He works the media, he works people's emotions, and he does it well.
It really doesn't matter whether authoritarianism comes from the left or the right or out of an undefined political nowhere full of slogans and meaningless promises: I'll be the best president. I can promise you that."
Three political lions emerged in the immediate aftermath of the popularization of radio -- Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin. All were charismatic speakers. A devastating world war occurred.
Kennedy rode the crest of the relatively new medium of television with cool good looks, while people who heard his debate with Nixon thought Nixon had won. We lived through a Cold War then.
 Note: The expression, Apres moi, le deluge, is attributed to the Sun King, Louis XIV, whose spending excesses led France down a slippery slope to the revolution of 1789. The quotation also has been attributed to Mme. du Pompadour.