BRANTFORD – “There seemed to be a vacancy in fast food and pizza parlours servicing Eagle Place,” says Six Nations Onondaga Turtle Clan member, Vince “Vinnie” Gilchrist of his families owned and operated business venture, Gillies Pizza and Wings, located at 207 Erie Ave. in Eagle Place/Brantford. Vinnie and his second oldest son Cory, along with other members of the Gilchrist family, decided to fill that void by opening Gillies Pizza. “We started this to give my kids a job and a career,” says Vinnie. “In today’s world when you can’t count on much, the entrepreneurial spirit gives you control over your own destiny.” After learning the business and the method of cooking pizza and the other menu items while […]
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GUELPH — With cooler weather and longer nights finally here, Canadians everywhere are reminded that the holiday season is upon us. Everyone is looking forward to that white and frosty Christmas Eve, surrounded by family and friends by the fireplace, holding a hot cup of cocoa. “It is never too early to prepare for the holidays, and there is so much more to Christmas decorating than pine trees, wreaths and garland,” says Jesseline Gough, Marketing Co-ordinator at pickOntario. “This winter, encourage your family and friends to spice up their holiday décor with Ontario-grown flowers and plants.” And no, it is not all about poinsettias. With plenty of stunning flowers and plants growing right in your backyard, Gough has put together […]
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SIX NATIONS – It was 10 o’ clock Saturday morning at the Onondaga longhouse as chiefs, clan mothers and a few traditional adherents slowly entered in advance of a much-needed assembly of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy Chiefs Council. An assembly that didn’t proceed. There hasn’t been any confederacy business done in months as meetings after monthly meetings have been cancelled due to one situation after another usually involving issues with the sparse Elder Brothers bench. In recent months Allen McNaughton has walked out of confederacy meetings but this time, he didn’t show up. Some speculate, due to the controversy over who is to cultivate the former Burtch Industrial Farm lands. The confederacy contends that they gave lease for a five-year term […]
SIX NATIONS – At 1:56 a.m. Monday, two Six Nations Fire Stations and firefighters were dispatched for a report of a single vehicle rollover with possibly four patients near 2000 6th Line Road in the Six Nations of the Grand River territory. A quick response was made with Six Nations Pumper/Rescue #1 and Squad #1 arriving on scene at 2:02 a.m. First arriving crews reported that an SUV had left the road way, appeared to roll over an unknown number of times striking a hydro pole. The impact caused the hydro pole to break into pieces causing multiple hydro lines to land on the SUV and a transformer on the ground near the vehicle. Three patients were located a safe […]
HAMILTON – McMaster University commemorated a plaque for the families of Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women (MMIW) yesterday on campus — a large step forward considering not so long ago indigenous people would lose their status as an Indian for simply attending a post-secondary school. The commemoration ceremony, was held on December 6 on the National Day of Remembrance and Action Against Violence on MMIW and was organized by the Anti-Violence Network and Indigenous Studies Program. The national day of remembrance was established to remember the 14 women murdered on December 6, 1989 in the event also known as the “Montreal Massacre”, the five women from the McMaster community who have been murdered and to remember the 1,200 or more […]
SIX NATIONS – A new elders council has been formed to assist in offering advice and council to the attorney General of Ontario as they seek a more culturally responsive justice system in light of the disproportionate incarceration levels of First Nations people. Although it appears the Trudeau government has been making great strides in Canada’s reconciliation with First Peoples, to some it is too slow of a process; to others they see initiatives like this one a positive step forward. Thirteen indigenous elders from across Canada have been chosen to represent the indigenous worldview and culture as Ontario moves forward in recognizing round pegs do not easily fit in square holes. One of those selected was Six Nations elder, […]
Vice President Joe Biden spurred rumors on Capital Hill earlier this week when he hinted that he just may run for president again.
"Yeah I am, what the hell, man," he told an NBC reporter when asked if he was mulling a 2020 run.
But "Late Show" host Stephen Colbert had another important question for the Veep.
"You've said that you have regretted every day not running [in 2016]," Colbert reminded Biden. "Was there a particular day or days, because for me it was November 9, about three weeks ago."
He made the decision not to enter the 2016 presidential race following the death of his son Beau. By October, he announced that he would not be seeking the Democratic nomination, a decision he said was ultimately the right call at the time. Instead, Biden took the time to heal with his family and work toward his "cancer moonshot."
While Biden has become a sort of cult figure in the Democratic Party, he joked that this may backfire should he run for president again.
"I did that for one reason," he said of his remarks about a 2020 run. "Now I'm not running to be popular again."
Colbert was disappointed.
"What the hell, Vice President?" Colbert asked.
Biden wouldn't say yes or no in response.
"I'm a great respecter of fate," Biden explained. "I don't plan on running again, but to say you know what's going to happen in four years, I just think is not rational."
"That is the sound of a door creaking open, that's what that is," Colbert told the VP.
One thing's for certain: Biden won't let his age discourage him.
"What I learned a long time ago was to never say never, you don't know what's going to happen. Hell, Donald Trump's going to be 74, I'll be 77, in better shape," Biden mused.
That gave Colbert an idea for a debate tactic. "Maybe arm-wrestling," he suggested.
The two then engaged in a pep talk for America on the cusp of a Trump presidency, and it's hilarious:Click here for reuse options! Related Stories
SIX NATIONS – Sara General has been busy making a name for herself within the talented group of writers and authors of Six Nations and recently launched her newest book Spirit & Intent: a collection of short stories. General was joined by Elizabeth “Betts” Doxtater, another Six Nations author and business owner at the launch held on November 25 at the Woodland Cultural Centre. Doxtater also released a new book titled Art of Peace. “This book explores the importance of peace, the rights and responsibilities of Indigenous women, treaties and reflections on the responsibilities that accompany treaty rights, as well as the importance of decolonization in healing and reconciliation,” said General. “In particular, I found myself doing a lot of […]
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SIX NATIONS – Many homeowners in Southern Ontario saw their first snowfall this week and will soon be having to, or have had to already, decide what kind of tree to put up this holiday season. Real or fake? This isn’t a topic that people normally find any grey area in — you either appreciate the ease and efficiency that comes with purchasing a store-bought artificial tree, or you love the smell and happy feelings attached with chopping down your own tree and hauling it home on the top of your car or dragging it behind you on your Ski-Doo. Twenty-year-old Kate Pelleboer, a homeowner and farmer near Sarnia, Ont., has never, and will never, put a fake tree up […]
Easement is a word. It is a legal term that means a right to cross or otherwise use someone else’s land for a specified purpose. There have been many easements happening since 1492, sometimes legal but mostly unlawful easements that have criss-crossed indigenous lands without consultation or consent. It’s kind of like having a visitor to your house and mentioning “Hey, make yourself at home”. A few years later and you are living in a back yard area reserved for you and your guest has the keys to the estate. These guests have revised history to retell the tale. They don’t like the truth, it sounds better to their ears if they aren’t guests at all and the Lakota Sioux […]
DUNDAS – Cam Sault had a big game against the Dundas Real McCoys in Dundas this past Saturday night, scoring a goal and assisting on two more in the Brantford Blast’s 8-4 doubling up of the McCoys. For a time it appeared the Blast were stronger on the powerplay than at even strength as the unit accounted for four goals on nine chances. There were a number of nasty penalties making the game a tense one. McCoys Dan Lapointe was the first player to be sent to the showers early after taking a spearing penalty and a match penalty. Jordan Foreman took a head-contact misconduct All that in the first period when Brantford took a 2-1 lead on goals scored by Andrew […]
CALEDONIA – It was a light work-week for the Caledonia Pro-Fit Corvairs with only one game on the schedule, that being Thursday night, Dec. 1, in Thorold, Ont., which the Corvairs won 7-2. Once again, as has become common with the Corvairs over the past few years, Caledonia outshot the opponent quite handily, 51-26 with their four-line attack. Blackhawks got the hometown crowd into it at 9:19 of the first period with Brendan Charlton scoring the first goal of the game. Just as the Blackhawks started thinking about taking a 1-0 lead into the second period, Josh DeFarias tied it up with 30 seconds remaining in the period assisted by Ryan Punkari with 30 seconds remaining. Quentin Maksimovich stunned the […]
HAGERSVILLE – The Hagersville Hawks continue to take one step forward and another step back in the Jr. C standings after winning 6-4 in Dunnville Friday, followed by a 3-1 loss Saturday night at home. Saturday, Dec. 3, the Hawks looked good in the first period posting a 1-0 lead with Derek Friesen converting a Jacob Harrison pass at 17:03. In the second period which the Hawks should have added to their lead, outshooting the Sailors 16-6, Dover’s Eric Mueller evened the score at 1-1 heading into the third. That’s when it all unravelled for the Hawks as frustration turned into fighting Game Misconduct penalties ejecting Clayton Millard and an unnamed new player in a sailor’s uniform. Then Jacob Harrison […]
TORONTO – Six Nations’ Karl “Razor” Hess cut down his first open class opponent at the infamous Cabbagetown Boxing Club which has produced some of Canada’s top professional boxers. Hess has moved up the Canadian Boxing ladder and is now fighting as an open class boxer. That means the rounds are now three minutes instead of two, and the fighters do not wear headgear. It’s a big step towards the professional ranking which Hess intends to go for. That showed in Toronto over the weekend when Hess scored a second round TKO over much touted Sam Gainer fighting under the Cabbagetown banner. “I can’t tell you how proud I am of Karl,” his coach Jackie Armour of the Black-Eye-Boxing Club, […]
By Jim Windle / Craig Rybczynski SIX NATIONS – NLL fans caught an early glimpse of the 2017 Buffalo Bandits, Rochester Knighthawks and New England Black Wolves this past weekend at the Iroquois Lacrosse Arena (ILA). The exhibition games were scheduled to give their respective teams general managers and coaches an opportunity to watch their new hopefuls interact with veteran NLL’ers in a game like situation. The Rochester Knighthawks dropped a close 12-10 preseason decision to the Buffalo Bandits Saturday afternoon at the ILA in Six Nations. Rochester was led by a six-point night from Dan Dawson (1+5) and three-point efforts from Cory Vitarelli (1+2) and Joe Resetarits (2+1), and rookies Josh Currier (2+1) and Kyle Jackson (2+1). “Heading into […]
The Indigenous Transgender Community and Transgender allies brainstormed a way to a better future during Aboriginal Aids Awareness Week at the 519 Community Centre on Church Street in Toronto with a series of seminars from guest speakers and workshops where most of the brainstorming was done. Frank and open discussion targeting among other things, what is being done in AIDS Service Organizations and National organizations like CAAN national Transgender Project. That included presentations about prevention and treatment for Indigenous Peoples living with HIV, a panel discussion with Indigenous community members around issues that Indigenous Transgender people face; including stigma. The event also featured front line community workers as special guests via Skype for a very informative question and answer session. […]
In 1995, Umberto Eco, the late Italian intellectual giant and novelist most famous for The Name of the Rose, wrote a guide describing the primary features of fascism. As a child, Eco was a loyalist of Mussolini, an experience that made him quick to detect the markers of fascism later in life, when he became a revered public intellectual and political voice. Eco noted that fascism looks different in each incarnation, morphing with time and leadership, as “it would be difficult for [it] to reappear in the same form in different historical circumstances.” It is a movement without “quintessence." Instead, it’s a sort of “fuzzy totalitarianism, a collage of different philosophical and political ideas, a beehive of contradictions,” he wrote.
Eco's famous 14-point list outlines what the author dubbed “Ur-Fascism, or Eternal Fascism”—and it fits hand in glove the political persona created by Donald Trump. Hours after 60 million Americans voted to give the presidency to a dangerously incompetent narcissist whose campaign was based on nativist fear-mongering and racist appeals, British historian Simon Schama lamented that Trump’s newly sealed win would “hearten fascists all over the world.” Sure enough, congratulations poured in from far-right admirers around the world, who recognized Trump as one of their ilk.
Throughout the campaign, comparisons of Trump to fascist leaders have been treated as unserious and even irresponsible. Now, as we watch him assemble a cabinet of frightening far-right nationalists, white supremacists, militarists, and free-marketeers, Eco’s list emerges as a must-read.
1. The cult of tradition.
Remind me when America was great, again? Was it during the eras of native people genocide, slavery, black lynchings as white entertainment, Japanese-American internment, or Jim Crow?
Trump’s campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again,” is an expression of longing for an America in which black folks knew their place and gay people didn’t dare leave the closet; when the country’s residents and immigrants were whiter and almost uniformly Christian; when identity politics (which we have had since this country’s founding) centered on white male identity. The slogan is often coupled with Trump’s promise to “take back our country,” implying it has been stolen by the blacks, the browns and the gays. The Republican Party has been playing to white America’s nostalgia for unvarnished racism and sock hops for decades (Ronald Reagan also promised to “make America great again”), but Trump took the subtle racism of the phrase and married it to naked bigotry and xenophobia, which are also long-standing American traditions.
2. Rejection of modernism.
Eco points out that this is not a rejection of modern technology, as much as modern ideas and thinking. “The Enlightenment, the Age of Reason, is seen as the beginning of modern depravity,” Eco writes. “In this sense Ur-Fascism can be defined as irrationalism.”
Trump denies the scientific truth of climate change, once tweeting it was “created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.” More recently he labeled it “bunk” and possibly a conspiracy dreamed up by scientists, and has vowed to pull out of the Paris Climate Accords. He’s pro-fracking and anti-environmental regulations that protect the ozone layer but make his hair spray less effective. Trump has also pushed the discredited link between vaccination and autism, and appointed advisers who favor cuts to both NASA and the National Institutes of Health, which funds critical biomedical research.
Vice President-elect Mike Pence is a fervent denier of science and a religious zealot. He has taken a wait-and-see attitude on evolution and advocated for teaching intelligent design and creationism in schools. In a 2000 op-ed he wrote that “smoking doesn’t kill,” and penned a 2009 op-ed against embryonic stem cell use. Pence has written that global warming is a “myth,” that the earth is cooling and that there is “growing skepticism” among scientists about climate change—all the literal opposite of the truth. He also opted to pray instead of immediately changing a law that would have stunted the spread of HIV, resulting in the worst HIV outbreak in Indiana history.
Other modern concepts eschewed by Trump include multiculturalism, religious diversity, reproductive justice, civil rights for all, and other American ideals—in name, if not in deed—his followers have dismissively labeled “political correctness.”
3. The cult of action for action’s sake.
Eco writes that “action being beautiful in itself, it must be taken before, or without, any previous reflection. Thinking is a form of emasculation.” This attitude goes hand in hand with “distrust of the intellectual world.” He continues, “The official Fascist intellectuals were mainly engaged in attacking modern culture and the liberal intelligentsia for having betrayed traditional values.”
Anti-intellectualism and pride in idiocy—and disdain for complexity—are trademarks of today's Republican ideology. In this light, educated elites are the enemies of salt of the earth, hard-working (white) Americans. Their hatred of Obama was paired with disdain for what they view as his “effete snob[bery]” and proclivity for lattes and arugula.
Ironically, in their quest to overthrow the coastal elite establishment, Trump voters elected a billionaire, coastal elite, establishmentarian, Ivy League graduate (as he constantly reminds us). Trump, perhaps recognizing that many in his base hate the visible professional class while worshipping the out-of-sight rich, simultaneously boasted about his wealth and pedigree while boosting his own anti-intellectualism. He patronizingly gushed about loving “the poorly educated.” He told the Washington Post he has “never” read much because he makes decisions based on “very little knowledge...because I have a lot of common sense.”
Since winning the election, Trump has waived the daily intelligence briefings that far better prepared and knowledgeable predecessors made time for, despite his being the first president with no experience in government or the military. He hasn’t bothered to contact the State Department before getting on calls with foreign leaders which threaten to overturn decades of political protocol. He has steadfastly refused to the learn the basics of domestic or foreign policy—or the Constitution—seemingly believing he can just go with the flow.
4. Opposition to analytical criticism; disagreement is treason.
Trump attempts to quell the slightest criticism or dissent with vitriol and calls for violence. On the campaign trail, Trump encouraged his base’s mob mentality, promising to “pay for the legal fees” if they would “knock the crap” out of protesters. He gushed about “the old days” when protesters would be “carried out on a stretcher.”
When the media finally began taking a critical tone after giving him billions in criticism-free press, Trump declared his real opponent was the “crooked press.” He pettily stripped reporters of press credentials when they wrote something he didn’t like, referred to individual reporters “as ‘scum,’ ‘slime,’ ‘dishonest’ and ‘disgusting,’” and claimed he would “open up” libel laws so he could sue over unfavorable—though not erroneous—coverage. In the latter stages of the campaign, Trump supporters took to berating the media with shouts of “lügenpresse,” a German phrase popular with Nazis that translates as “lying press.” Some Trump supporters also sported T-shirts suggesting journalists should be lynched.
Since the election, instead of boning up on policy, the thin-skinned president-elect has tweeted outrage at satirical comedy shows, Broadway actors and various media outlets, stating he would leave them alone if they were only nicer to him. Trump has also used social media to complain about protesters who oppose his presidency. That includes a tweet suggesting flag burning, a First Amendment right and fair game for expression of dissent, should carry a penalty of jail time or loss of citizenship.
5. Exploiting and exacerbating the natural fear of difference.
“The first appeal of a fascist or prematurely fascist movement is an appeal against the intruders,” Eco notes. “Thus Ur-Fascism is racist by definition.”
Before he officially threw his hat into the ring, Trump courted bigots and racists furious about Obama’s wins by pushing the birther lie and attempting to delegitimize the first black president. The only coherent policy proposals Trump made during his run were those that appealed to white racial resentments, promising to end Muslim immigration, build a wall along the southern border to keep Mexicans out and retweeting white nationalists’ made-up statistics about black criminality. The cornerstone of Trump’s campaign was fear and bigotry, making him the preferred candidate of the KKK, David Duke and the white nationalist “alt-right.” Trump supporters have repeatedly denied that racism and xenophobia motivated their votes, but more than 900 hate crimes documented since the election suggest some correlation. So does the frequency with which Trump’s name appears in racist graffiti and is shouted by perpetrators of hate crimes.
6. Appeal to a frustrated middle class.
Eco writes that fascism reaches out to “a class suffering from an economic crisis or feelings of political humiliation, and frightened by the pressure of lower social groups.”
Economic anxiety played a far smaller role in the election than the media has suggested; in fact, middle and upper-class white voters put Trump over the top. That said, Trump made overt appeals to whites who believe the American Dream is not so much slipping from their grasp as being snatched away by undeserving immigrants and other perceived outsiders. Trump made impossible promises to return manufacturing jobs and restore class and social mobility to a group of people nervous about falling down rungs on the ladder.
Trump, who immediately began hiring entrenched members of the Wall Street and Washington establishments he ran against and whose policies will largely benefit the very wealthy, took a page out of a Democrat’s book with this approach: "If you can convince the lowest white man he's better than the best colored man, he won't notice you're picking his pocket,” President Lyndon B. Johnson famously stated. “Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he'll empty his pockets for you."
7. Obsession with a plot, possibly an international one.
“To people who feel deprived of a clear social identity,” Eco writes, “their only privilege is the most common one, to be born in the same country. This is the origin of nationalism. Besides, the only ones who can provide an identity to the nation are its enemies. Thus at the root of the Ur-Fascist psychology there is the obsession with a plot, possibly an international one.”
Trump obviously appealed to racial and religious nationalist sentiments among a majority of white Americans by scapegoating Mexican and Muslim immigrants on issues of crime, job losses and terrorism. He pushed the idea that he would “put America first,” suggesting that Hillary Clinton would favor other nations over the U.S.
"Under a Trump administration, no American citizen will ever again feel that their needs come second to the citizens of foreign countries," Trump said, during one speech in April. "My foreign policy will always put the interests of the American people and American security first."
Trump also propagated conspiracies by right-wing figures such as Alex Jones and Michael Savage which hold that globalism, aka the New World Order, threatens American interests. Former Trump spokesperson Hope Hicks defined the idea as, “An economic and political ideology which puts allegiance to international institutions ahead of the nation-state; seeks the unrestricted movement of goods, labor and people across borders; and rejects the principle that the citizens of a country are entitled to preference for jobs and other economic considerations as a virtue of their citizenship.”
The New York Times writes that the “term encapsulates a conspiratorial worldview based on racism, xenophobia and anti-Semitism.”
8. Followers must feel humiliated by the ostentatious wealth and force of their enemies.
Trump conjured up a vision of America in a downward spiral, a nation fallen from its lofty position in the world to one deserving of shame and ridicule. He spent much of the campaign telling Americans they weren’t just losing, but had become the butt of an embarrassing worldwide joke.
In fact, since 1987, Trump has claimed more than 100 times that various entities are laughing at the U.S. The Washington Post tallied Trump’s quotes, and found that the parties he claims are mocking us include China (35 times), Mexico (five times), terrorists (three times), Russia (five times) and the entire rest of the world (28 times).
“We don't win anymore, whether it's ISIS or whether it's China with our trade agreements," Trump announced in an early campaign speech. "No matter what it is, we don't seem to have it."
"We have an enemy in the Middle East that's chopping off heads and drowning people in massive steel cages, OK?" Trump said in an interview in March. "We have an enemy that doesn't play by the laws. You could say laws, and they're laughing. They're laughing at us right now.”
9. Pacifism is trafficking with the enemy. It is bad because life is permanent warfare.
For Trump, this holds true in both his personal and political lives. “If you look at wars over the years—and I study wars—my life is war,” Trump told Bill O’Reilly in an interview last year. It’s an odd view for someone who was given five draft deferments during the Vietnam War, but it jibes with Eco’s point.
Fellow billionaire Richard Branson recounts a story in which Trump said he would “spend the rest of his life destroying the lives” of people he felt had betrayed him. In The Art of the Deal, Trump bragged, “I love getting even.” A perpetual victim, Trump spends time he could dedicate to learning the ropes of his new job on social media, sniping at perceived enemies. He is vicious and vengeful, a man you can famously “bait with a tweet,” who views himself as perpetually under attack, engaged in battle with advancing forces. Hair-trigger tempers are not great assets for heads of state.
Trump has made expansion of the U.S military a primary aim, putting the country in a perpetually defensive stance. In the past, he has reportedly demanded to know why the U.S. shouldn't use its nuclear weapons. In the weeks since the election, he has filled his cabinet with war hawks. On the campaign trail, Trump said his generals would have 30 days following his election to put together “a plan for soundly and quickly defeating ISIS." The Center for Strategic and International Studies predicts that military spending under Trump may increase by $900 billion over the next decade.
“I'm gonna build a military that's gonna be much stronger than it is right now,” Trump told CNN. “It's gonna be so strong, nobody's gonna mess with us.”
10. Popular elitism.
Eco writes that under Ur-Fascism, “Every citizen belongs to the best people of the world, the members of the party are the best among the citizens...Since the group is hierarchically organized (according to a military model), every subordinate leader despises his own underlings, and each of them despises his inferiors. This reinforces the sense of mass elitism.”
Trump repeatedly hails himself as the best. He has the best words, the best ideas, the best campaign, the best gold-plated penthouse, the best of all the best of the best things. Trump and his nationalist followers believe that America is the greatest country that has ever existed. That somehow makes Americans the best people on Earth, by dint of birth. In keeping with a long-standing right-wing lie about patriotism and love of country, conservatives are the best Americans, and Trump supporters are the best of all.
Eco writes that “aristocratic and militaristic elitism cruelly implies contempt for the weak.” Trump biographer Michael D’Antonio has written that Trump’s father instilled in his son that “most people are weaklings,” and thus don’t deserve respect. Trump, who has earned a reputation as a lifelong bully in both his public and private lives, has consistently bemoaned America’s weakness, resulting from the reign of weak cultural elites.
11. Everybody is educated to become a hero.
Trump’s base believes itself to be the last of a dying (white) breed of American heroes, enduring multiculturalism and political correctness to speak truth to the powerful elites and invading hordes of outsiders who have marginalized and oppressed them, or taken what’s rightfully theirs.
Eco writes that “this cult of heroism is strictly linked with the cult of death...the Ur-Fascist hero craves heroic death, advertised as the best reward for a heroic life. The Ur-Fascist hero is impatient to die. In his impatience, he more frequently sends other people to death.”
Though Trump has downplayed his war designs, he talks a big game about taking out ISIS, and is backed by advisers who have been vocal in denigrating Islam. If Trump does ever enter any kind of armed conflict, Eco’s prediction may prove true. Only time will tell.
12. Transfer of will to power to sexual matters.
“This is the origin of machismo (which implies both disdain for women and intolerance and condemnation of nonstandard sexual habits, from chastity to homosexuality),” Eco writes.
We are well acquainted with Trump’s machismo, which like all machismo, is inseparable from his loudly broadcast misogyny. This is a man who defended the size of his penis in the middle of a nationally televised political debate. For 30 years, including the 18 months of his campaign, Trump has consistently reduced women to their looks or what he deems the desirability of their bodies, including when talking about his own daughter, whom he constantly reminds us he would be dating if not for incest laws. Trump has been particularly vicious to women in the media, tweeting insults their way, suggesting they’re having their periods when they ask questions he doesn’t like, and verbally attacking them at rallies and inviting his supporters to follow suit. There’s also that notorious leaked 2005 recording of Trump discussing grabbing women by the genitalia, which was followed by a stream of women accusing him of sexual assault.
13. Selective populism.
“Since no large quantity of human beings can have a common will,” Eco writes, “the Leader pretends to be their interpreter...There is in our future a TV or internet populism, in which the emotional response of a selected group of citizens can be presented and accepted as the Voice of the People.”
Eco’s two-decade-old prediction is uncanny. Trump, a fixture on social media and reality television, has mastered a kind of TV and internet populism that makes his voice one with the angry masses of his base. At the Republican National Convention, after a rant about the terrible, dystopian shape of the country, he designated himself the nation's sole savior.
“I am your voice,” Trump said. “No one knows the system better than me. Which is why I alone can fix it.”
Trump has also declared he knows more than anyone else about a range of things, from tax laws to renewables to Facebook to Cory Booker (who he said he knows more about than Booker himself). He grants himself the supreme knowledge to make important statements and decisions on topics he has never studied.
Eco adds, “Because of its qualitative populism Ur-Fascism must be against 'rotten' parliamentary governments....Wherever a politician casts doubt on the legitimacy of a parliament because it no longer represents the Voice of the People, we can smell Ur-Fascism.”
Is there any more vivid example of Eco’s example than Trump’s repeated contention that the election was rigged? Trump painted himself as the savior of a people who could no longer rely on rich, powerful politicians. Save for him, of course.
14. The use of Newspeak.
“All the Nazi or Fascist schoolbooks made use of an impoverished vocabulary, and an elementary syntax, in order to limit the instruments for complex and critical reasoning,” Eco writes. “But we must be ready to identify other kinds of Newspeak, even if they take the apparently innocent form of a popular talk show.”
From the beginning, Trump's supporters praised him as a “straight shooter” who “tells it like it is.” He sprinkled his rally speeches with swear words and rambled instead of sticking to a script or following a teleprompter. Within months, his Republican opponents were trying to follow his lead, but without the same wholesale disregard for gentility or convention. Trump picked up followers who equated his unpreparedness and empty rhetoric with authenticity.
“There is a defiance in the language which is part of his schtick,” Allan Louden, a Wake Forest University professor of political communication told the Toronto Star. “Less formal language signals one is an ‘outsider’ from the ones cussed out, an attribute golden in this election cycle.”
Trump also kept his sentences short and his words to as few syllables as possible. He repeated words he wanted to drive home, and punctuated his speech with phrases meant to have maximum effect. In lots of cases, a single quote contained multiple contradictory statements. The takeaway from a Trump speech was whatever the listener wanted to hear, which turned out to be a winning strategy.Click here for reuse options! Related Stories