Governing like We are Still in the 1920’s

Photo of Hybrid Trump/Mussolini courtesy of Richard Drew Salon

When people think about the history of the 1920’s, some positive events probably come to mind.

They may think of Babe Ruth hitting 60 home runs for the 1927 Murders Row New York Yankees.

They may think this was the time of the Jazz Age.

They may think this was the time of the Harlem Renaissance.

They may think this was a time when talking motion pictures premiered.

They may think that humanity, through future America First Leader Charles Lindbergh, was first able to pioneer airplane technology (not aeronautic because Zeppelin crews had already accomplished the feat) by being the first to fly his plane, The Spirit of St. Louis, across the Atlantic.

While these are all events to commemorate, there are uglier historical lessons from this period that are making a reappearance in this administration.  It is like they are Governing like we are still in the 1920’s. The examples to illustrate this are:

* The Proliferation of Extreme Racism and Xenophobia towards all non-White Groups with a resurgence of hate groups like the Ku Klux Klan. Our current President, in his tweets, comments,  Attorney General, aides (current and former like Stephen Miller, Steve Bannon, and Sebastian Gorka) and endorsement by Klan leader David Duke personifies this vile period in our past.

* The withdrawal of the United States from global affairs. President Trump has signaled a return to isolationism with his withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership,  Paris Climate Agreement and the Nuclear Agreement with Iran. He wants to renegotiate N.A.F.T.A. and is willing to impose tariffs on our allies in a protectionist model that historically helped enlarge the Great Depression.

* The Embracing of Trickle Down Economics. While Presidents Reagan and Bush Jr. resurrected this tried-and-failed economic doctrine, the President with more severe draconian budget proposals and corporate tax cuts for the one percent, has gone where his conservative predecessors only fantasized about.

* An emphasis on faith over science. In the 1920’s (and still in some states today), it was the question of whether Evolution was a scientific fact. This was a focal point of the famous Scopes Monkey Trial. Today it is climate change and humanities responsibility in bringing it about.

* The Eroding of our Social Contract and the growth of Fascism. Watch how the President thinks the Justice Department is his private law firm. Listen to what he says about the “fake news” outlets that accurately report his transgressions. Watch and listen to how he lies and lies and lies in a bombastic tone at his rallies and you would think Mussolini had American descendants. Look how he shields himself around the flag in his denunciation of mostly African American athletes for exercising their First Amendment Rights by kneeling during the National Anthem at football games. These are all examples of tactics Fascist leaders utilize to main support and power.

As indicated in a previous post, we all need to heed the lessons of history. The old adage (often paraphrased) that those “that do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it” is especially applicable here.  We need to pay attention to history’s lessons because they are the most instructive in knowing how to move forward. If we do not learn from history, we risk, paraphrasing Sinclair Lewis “It Happening Here.”

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