When Donald Trump said, at his inauguration ceremony in January of 2017, “the American carnage ends here and ends now!”, that was the moment the American carnage actually began to manifest itself into American mainstream society. Over 70 million people who voted for him the second time around are proof that this problem is greater than anticipated, and it will not go away simply because Trump leaves the national political stage. It will still exist, and it will likely find another leader to forment the hate, to bolster their fragile egos and to declare themselves the greatest of the great patriots America ever had.
Complicit in all of this is the Republican party, itself a conglomerate of opportunistic, power hungry, and megalomanic politicians who bastardized the congressional districts to ensure to win on the local level, when in fact they have lost the popular vote to do so in most of the cases (also known as “cheating”, or “stealing the vote”, if you will – that is not mere projection, that truly happens; the district lines sometimes look like an amorphous Tetris game session gone awry). So, to know where this all comes from, we need to identify what MAGA truly is, and why they behave in the way they do. Let’s begin…
MAGA followers are more than just nationlists, they are fascists.
It sounds like hyperbole, but following over four years of screams of disdain, shouts of hate and acts of violence, this should not be of any surprise. Nationalists in a political sense have a political agenda. MAGA followers don’t. The only belief they truly and consistently have is: They believe to be special specifically because they are US citizens. This might not be all to obvious, but you will have a hard time finding any MAGA follower who harbors comprehensive policy ideas. You don’t see them talk about the inner complexity of a reformed immigration policy. You will only hear “Mexicans are rapists and take our women, our jobs and our freedom!” or any variation thereof. This is true for all the other possible policy issues they might use as a smoke screen to bolster their severe, collective inferiority complex. They self-agrandize to be patriots that “fight” for “American values”, while in fact they use these terms with great bravado to minimize the risk of confronting a rather clear cut reality, that seems otherwise to be too traumatic for them to confront.
Imagine what we all try to do by talking to them: We try to make them accept facts and maybe even turn away from the destructive path they chosed and that ultimately led them to the attempted coup at the US Capitol on Jan. 6th. 2021. But they refuse, because they would have to acknowledge to be wrong all these years, and actually being part of a destructive, anti-democratic fascist movement. It is not the only reason why they do this, because the White Nationalists and Nazis among them have a clear political agenda which differentiates them from the run-of-the-mill MAGA follower, but for the average MAGA person that is the main reason.
To be clear: Trumpism and especially MAGA is a fascist movement. It is even in their slogan: “Make America Great Again”. What does that mean? It asserts that there was once a time in which America was great, while today it would be no longer and is in dire need to be made great “again”. This is a myth, and not even a very specific one, but still a myth they need to claim something is lacking; something that needs to be corrected.
Fascism creates myths to define a special purpose; a priviliged few over the hordes that are not part of them and ostensibly only intend to destroy them. Example: In Nazi Germany the Nazis formented the myth of the superior Ubermensch who is part of the “master race”, and to no surprise: The Germans (a complex conglomerate of ancient tribes, that are nothing like the myth the Nazis tried to portray them to be for their own opportunistic purposes) were defined as being that one master race. Specifcally blonde, blue-eyed, tall, white european people were peddled by Hitler and cohorts (himself physically not living up to his own ideal) as being the pertinent indicators of said master race. Ridiculous, of course, but the myth that has been created to demonize everything that differs from this myth. Fascism needs such a myth, because it allows it to point to an asserted ‘wrong’ that needs to be made right “again” (you can see now why the word “again” is an integral part of this myth making).
So, America, that is in the eyes of the MAGA people not great, needs to be made great again. In order to do that, you need to identify the things that took away its greatness… and that right there is where White Nationalism and racism comes into MAGA. A scapegoat must also be defined, simply because a fight without an enemy can not take place. The myth is not enough: MAGA, like any other fascist movement in history before it, needs this scapegoat to fight against or it does not work in any way; its structure does not allow for self-stablizing ideologies, but needs the outside ominous, diffuse “danger” to merit its radical violent ideas and to an extent even its very own existence. And that scapegoat are the underprivileged minorities and poor immigrants – the traditional targets of the white nationalist racists of America like the Proud Boys, the Boogaloos and other milita-like anti-democratic terrorist organisations. There is actually nothing mystical about their motives – it’s clearly visible to everybody who cares to look at it and identify its pertinent parts. MAGA is all that – and this makes it a fascist ideology.
The oppressor who claims to be the oppressed.
Equality is the enemy of white nationlism and fascism. Stringent organizations, like the evangelicals, are also prone to perceive it as an opponent. They hate equality because it does not allow them to diminish the social standing of other groups with differing ideologies, but rather acknowledge not just their existence but their right to be equal to the ruling class (the majority) as well. When you are the member of a priviliged group, equality can feel like opression. But you are not being oppressed when it is you who holds all the power, be it the white majority in certain de facto segregated parts of the country, or the evangelicals in the bible belt; it is a known tactic of them to pretend to be the oppressed party, when in fact they are not, specifically because they hold all the power in their social reference frame. Example: The fact that poor immigrants on the southern border exist, does not confirm the false belief that their mere existence is proof that your quality of life, your job-security or your social standing would be in any way diminished. The poor immigrant is literally the one entity, of all possible players, that possesses the least power over you and your life, if any at all. So that is entirely bunk, but it is still firmly believed by the right wing enthusiasts and especially by the extreme right and their fascist wing, the MAGA insurrectionists and White Nationalists.
The oppressor has no incentive to change the system to free the minorities from being oppressed… and playing to be a victim of oppression, while in fact you are the one who does the oppression, is one of the more disgusting tactics they utilize to silence any dissent from their own ideologies and ideals. This self-victimization can and does result in acts of violence with lethal consequences. So look at what your neighbors do. Do they harbor extreme right wing or even fascist ideas? Are they hoarding weapons? Do they threat people with bodily harm? If so: Do not hesitate and inform the authorities of this danger before people get murdered. A bit of civic awarness won’t kill you. A lack of it might.
The false call for civility and unity
When the Black Lives Matter protests last summer broke out to point to the brutal murder of George Floyd, the Right Wing, and especially its media behemoth FOX News, immediately called for civility from the protesters. The minority groups in Ameirca are well aware that their causes are largely ignored by the ruling political classes, unless they forcibly push their issues into the collective mind of the entire nation. This can morph into violent clashes with a violent police force – who hold the monopoly of deadly violence while claiming to be in more imminent danger than the minorities they frequently kill over white people. Now when the confrontation on the street level is the only functional way to force the issue to be debated by the ruling classes, calling for them to be “civil” and “obey the authorities”, is only meant to serve the following purpose: To silence the minorities. This is what the right wing call for “civility” means. You don’t hear them demanding civility when Nazis march through southern cities with their torches while despicably scremaing “Jews will not replace us”. You don’t hear them demanding civility from those who bring violence into otherwise peaceful Black Lives Matter protests (and instead blame it on the minorities, which is the reason for this exercise from the right wing extremists: To demonize the minority causes). It is very much the same with todays right wing calls for “unity”. The claim for unity is grossly ignoring the fact that all these issues and confrontations on the street level are happening specifically because of a severe disunity in the form of systemic racism.
Systemic racism is the diametrical opposite of any form of “unity”. So, demanding unity, in this case, also only seeks to silence those who are oppressed, or to help those who violated the laws of the land (like Donald Trump and his seditionist betrayal of his office and all of the American citiziens he promised to protect, not just them but also their freedom and the constituion they live by). As long as the conservatives of America, namely the Republican Party, refuses to acccept responsiblity for their own wrongdoings and even crimes against the United States of America, in my view as a German from the outside, I don’t think any call for unity will unite the nation. They just use it as yet another tool for opression and silencing dissent. And that’s because it is inherently dishonest and hypocritical to ask for something they themselves never wanted to achieve while it was them who hold all the political power in the country. Lies can’t reunite a nation. Only facts and truth can.