by Matthew Rothschild, Executive Director
February 18, 2019
(These are remarks Matt Rothschild gave at the rally in Madison sponsored by Indivisible Madison on February 18.)
Thanks for coming out today, and thanks to Indivisible Madison for calling this urgent action.
Let me cut to the chase: Our democracy is in an existential crisis right now: Will our democracy hold, or will it succumb to Donald Trump?
You know, we’ve been told since we were little kids that we’ve got this tremendous system of checks and balances.
Well, guess what?
It’s not so tremendous.
It turns out, lo and behold, that a president can just up and declare a national emergency whenever he wants, and get around Congress.
And you got to say this about Trump: He’s in touch with his inner Fascist.
I mean, did you watch that guy’s announcement on Friday? He was off the wall when he was describing the wall!
He continued to demonize immigrants on our southern border, he denied the fact that immigrants commit crimes at a lower rate than citizens born here, and he even talked about how great China’s policy was of executing drug dealers.
This was classic Trump – displaying his clinical narcissism, peddling lies and hatred and vengeance, and grabbing dictatorial powers.
And the thing is, it shouldn’t come as a surprise.
This is who Trump really is:
He’s an authoritarian, he’s a fascist, he has no respect for the institutions of our democracy.
It’s not like he hasn’t given us any warnings.
When President Xi of China essentially became president for life, Trump said: “I think it’s great. Maybe we’ll want to give that a shot someday.”
He loves other strongmen, too, including Kim Jong-Un, and Putin, and Duterte of the Philippines, who Trump also praised for executing drug dealers.
Trump is a bully, and fascists revel in bullying, and their supporters admire them for it. Orwell called such admirers “bully worshippers.”
And Trump speaks the language of the fascist.
He constantly uses the phrase “America First,” which was the slogan of the Nazi sympathizers here in the US before Pearl Harbor.
His refrain about “fake news” has ugly echoes, too, and he used the term again on Friday about CNN. The Nazis used the term “Lugenpresse,” which means “lying press” in German. In fact, some Trump supporters have picked it up in its original German.
And Goebbels used “the enemy of the people” to refer to Jews, and Trump says that “the media is the enemy of the people.”
He displays other trademarks of the fascist.
There’s Trump’s incessant lying.
Trump has broken all the records for Presidential lying. He’s uttered more than 6,500 lies or misrepresentations, according to the Washington Post.
His flagrant lying is a telltale sign, as Orwell warned us about.
Of course, there’s his racism.
That Trump is a racist is, at this point, incontrovertible. After all, he wouldn’t rent his apartments to black people. He led the vicious campaign against the Central Park Five and continued to vilify them after they were exonerated. And, of course, he led the Birther Movement against President Obama. And he launched his campaign with racist appeals against Muslims and Mexicans. And finally, after Charlottesville, it became totally undeniable, as it has with his obsession with the wall.
And then there is his ultra-nationalism. Trump makes no bones about being an ultra-nationalist. That’s what “America First” is about. Or look at “Make America Great Again.” At bottom, that’s an appeal to people’s sense of bereaved and betrayed patriotism, and that kind of appeal has been crucial to fascists and authoritarians, like Hitler, Mussolini, Pinochet, and Franco.
So let’s stop denying who Trump really is. He’s a fascist.
But America is not a Fascist state yet. If it was, I’d be arrested or beaten up as soon as I got done speaking, and you might be, too, just for being here.
But it’s getting closer and closer, by the day. In fact, it got a lot closer on Friday.
Yes, it can happen here! Yes, in fact, it is happening here!
That’s why it’s so crucial that you’re here, standing up and fighting back by protesting, and people all over the country are protesting today.
That’s why it’s so crucial that groups like the ACLU and Public Citizen and the State of California are standing up and fighting back, by taking Trump to court.
And that’s why it’s so disgraceful that Mitch McConnell is rolling over for Trump, and handing over power to Trump. Mitch McConnell is playing the role of Von Hindenburg in this little farce.
There’s a special place in hell for Mitch McConnell.
But there’s a place in heaven for all of you today.
And for all of you tomorrow.
Because we need to keep protesting, and we need to double our numbers and then double them again.
Next time, bring a friend or two.
And the next time, bring two more.
We must increase our numbers.
We must stand up, together.
And only by standing up, together, only by speaking out, together, only by fighting back, together, can we save our democracy.