Donald Trump and Alt-Right's "Triumph of The Will"

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For those who followed candidate Donald Trump’'s campaign rhetoric closely, his appointment of Steve Bannon as his chief White House strategist and retired general Michael Flynn as his national security advisor once he became president did not come as a surprise.

Having had neither the experience nor the discipline to apply himself to learn about the intricate national and international policy issues of governance, Trump has come to rely on these two individuals in shaping the agenda and the nation's policies. One of his first actions as president, the executive order banning citizens of seven majority-Muslim countries is said to be the handiwork of these two.

A brief look at their history may shed some light. Bannon who was chairman of Breitbart News before he became Trump’'s top advisor describes the news outlet as a forum for the Alt-Right movement whose guiding principle is white nationalism; an ideological home to many white supremacists, anti-Semites and Islamophobes.

Let Richard Spencer, the leader of the Alt-Right explain in his own words. His dream he says is “a new society, an ethno-state that would be a gathering point for all Europeans.” He's also called for “peaceful "ethnic cleansing."”

Spencer views Trump’'s rise as a "Victory of Will" a term eerily reminiscent of the Nazi-era propaganda “"Triumph of the Will”" which was well conveyed by Hitler's favorite filmmaker the masterful Leni Riefenstahl in a classic by the same name. The film offers lessons in the 21st century.

Spencer considers Trump as an Alt-Right hero and sees the appointment of Bannon as the president'’s senior advisor and chief strategist the best possible position from which to influence policy. He is dead on in that regard. Spencer talks about "“lugenpresse," again a Nazi-era favorite term meaning "lying press," a term Trump has made his own to dismiss news or reports that do not conform to his world of alternate facts.

In the classic "“Triumph of the Will"” which Leni Riefenstahl made for Hitler, SS-Obergruppenführer Jacob Otto Dietrich, the Nazi party's Press Chief (whose sometimes rival was Joseph Goebbels) states: "Truth is the foundation upon which the press stands and falls. Reporting the truth about Germany is our only demand of the press, including the foreign press." (One need only insert "America" in place of "Germany" to see how the statement sound like some of today's attacks on the press by the Trump team; Dietrich was of course insisting that media focus on alternative facts).

Trump's media team has continued the pre-White house confrontational approach to the press. Bannon has said "The media here is the opposition party."” Trump himself declaring that he has a "running war" with media. "They are among the most dishonest human beings in the world."

General Flynn who served as head of Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) was fired in 2014 for his disruptive and chaotic management style. The general has a propensity to retweet comments by known anti-Semites and racists and also to quote dubious conspiracy theories and fake news sources so much so that his subordinates at DIA came to label them as "Flynn facts."

He tells his Twitter followers to follow Cernovich who had in July tweeted, "The 'alt-right' hasn't killed anyone, but #BlackLivesMatter regularly slaughters the innocent. Know the real threat. Think! #Dallas" In an op-ed piece in the New York Post, Flynn stated: "I’ve been at war with Islam, or a component of Islam, for the last decade." Flynn is a Board member of ACT! For America, founded by the virulently anti-Muslim Bridget Gabriel.

The Southern Poverty Law Center lists the organization as a hate group. Brigitte Gabriel rightly boasts that she has now direct access to the White House. The U.S. government is now under the control of a Trump-Bannon-Flynn triumvirate.

We have a president elected by a minority of voters by virtue of losing by 2.8 million popular votes and winning the Electoral College. He has over the years made racist, misogynist, anti-immigrant statements and outlandish false claims, peddling a policy based on fear of the "other" and appealing to white nationalism and patriotism.

Samuel Johnson'’s definition of patriotism comes to mind, “"Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel." As White House advisor and chief strategist who was a propagandist for the Alt-Right movement, Steve Bannon makes no secret of the fact the Breitbart News under him was a forum for the Alt-Right movement.

He is now the second most powerful man in the land. A New York Times editorial goes further and wonders if in fact he is not the de facto president. He is credited with being the author of the Muslim Ban executive action and, reports are now coming out that he insinuated himself to a seat at the National Security Council by having the president sign an executive order he had not read making Bannon a member of the NSC.

General Flynn is Trump'’s national security advisor. A self-avowed Islamophobe he sees America’s "war on terror" as a war against Islam which he considers a "cancer" that needs to be excised from 1.7 billion adherents of the religion. The Trump regime has embarked on an all-out attack on the press trying to discredit it in the eyes of the public and is offering instead "alternative facts," lies and outright fabrications such as the "Bowling Green massacre," fantasy by leading advisor Kellyanne Conway --an event that never occurred.

Here again the “"Triumph of the Will”" is very instructive and highly recommended for viewing. We are told by the White House that the Muslim ban is "not a ban" nor is it directed against Muslims. Welcome to the Trumpian Newspeak in today’'s America.

Playing fast and loose with facts and invoking national security when challenged has become the order of the day. A compliant Congress has abdicated its constitutional duty to rein in an imperious president and we are moving headlong into fascist white supremacist authoritarianism.

The last bastion of resistance is "people power" as we have seen past several days sending the president a message of resounding "no" to the ban. The judiciary, the institution standing in his way, is being constantly attacked by the president who is trying to preempt its decision by holding it accountable if a terrorist incident occurs in the future.

Appeals to national security, honor, and patriotism are convenient concepts used by current and past despots around the world. The Constitution may not be there to protect us unless we protect it from being trampled upon by a cabal of racists and xenophobes now occupying the White House.

The great American sage and true patriot, Benjamin Franklin said it best: "“Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety”."

 

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