|Benito Mussolini, Italian fascist dictator|
Fascism is not an ideology, although it can have an ideology. If we attempt to identify a person or movement as fascist based upon a laundry list of political planks or points. in a credo, we are doomed never to find a precise match and may fail in a quite plausible way to identify the rise of Donald Trump for the fascist victory it represents in contemporary American politics. Personally, l can find any number of reasons to refrain from identifying Trump with fascism. An aversion to making alarmist statements is only one of those reasons that is not utterly craven. l can no longer in good conscience refrain from saying that the Trump phenomenon is fundamentally fascist.
Here the obligation falls upon me to make my case, to show through historical precedent how requiring members of certain religious minorities to carry special ID, how having supporters who rough up political opponents, how invoking making a country "great again", how politicized xenophobia, how zealous appeal to the violence of warfare, such as we have seen in the Trump campaign, sketch a profile of a fascism. l would rebut those who say fascism requires the implementation of one-party rule and the squelching of individualism such as have not yet become manifest in Trump's career. In spite of my conscience | don't have the resources to make those arguments with the depth of documentation they deserve. I can only appeal to others from my own intuition about fascism that has been educated through a few decades of interest in history.
Beyond stating my impression | can only urge anyone who cares about the future of this country to become informed about fascism and totalitarianism in all the forms they have taken. One could do far worse than starting by reading this article by the recently deceased Italian scholar Umberto Eco who experienced fascism first hand. But even Wikipedia is a good-enough source to begin learning about fascism and its history.
The problem facing the country, by the way, is not Donald Trump. The problem runs much deeper in us as a society. The only solution I can propose today is this education of ourselves to recognize the potential for great evil when it presents itself and asks for our support--or for the glance of our blind eyes.