Thursday, September 21, 2023

Opinion: Presidential Math 101

A fascist, a communist and a socialist walk in to a bar… Guest columnist Rich Guay tries to decipher which one is Trump and which is Biden


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Guest column by Rich Guay, Albuquerque.

A fascist, a communist and a socialist walk in to a bar…You hear that one? Actually there is nothing amusing about the utter adulteration - by Trump’s Proud Boys, Oath Keepers and their adoptive Svengalis Stone and Bannon - of these terms as a sinister means to a catastrophic end.

Since her origins the United States of America has seen its fair share of unscrupulous
characters - and the schemes they attempt to unleash on an unsuspecting public - over the course of her lifetime thus far. Charlatans, grafters, and demigods alike have tested her fortitude for centuries, unfortunately at times enjoying success.

Like previous wars on America’s books Trump’s delusional war on America’s soul is generally being fought by the aforementioned factually - obtuse, working-class whites. I say “generally’ because unfortunately there are those in the ranks of Trump’s army that are well resourced and know better, however, their blind craving for the status quo and perhaps a spot in the Trump oligarchy runs strong. The former are the fourth or fifth coming of the planters class of the antebellum South, followed up by the champions of Jim Crow and the dubious dissenters of the civil rights movement. In case I haven’t been clear, Trump’s field troops are the portion of our citizenry that lay prostrate to tyrannical, racist rhetoric and consume it voraciously. For some reason, some of our friends refuse to learn the lessons - taken from previous wars for America’s soul - that those who took up the “cause” were (save the American Revolution and the War of 1812) predominately America’s youth, and those who lacked the resources to avoid conscription. Be sure when the proverbial dust settles it will not be Trump paying for his generalissimo-esque bloviating and unconstitutional provocations…it will be his unsuspecting para-military acolytes whose collective dearth of both intelligence and evidence who will pay for their demigod’s aggrandizement of self-relevance.

Note: This opinion should not fall on the deaf ears of Trump’s inner circle of influencers. They are by no means immune - unless of course they grow a pair and abandon the bankruptcy-king to the defenders of law and morality. Just ask Nixon’s White House Counsel, Chief of Staff and Attorney General (You can, however, only ask John Dean. Haldeman and Mitchell have passed). They all garnered hard time for Nixon’s “above the law” bravado.

I wanted to wait 'til closer to the election to produce this but I’m hopeful since we are well past Labor Day your readers are paying more attention to the midterms and the terrifying truth the 2024 is only 24 months away. When the meaning of words, philosophies and/or ideologies become contaminated unintentionally, forgiveness should be offered. However, when an egomaniacal virus like Donald J. Trump purposely manipulates terms such as fascism, communism, and socialism to shape the the impressionable minds of the fearful and angry for his own machiavellian designs, punitive action should take its rightful course. The fearful and angry should profit from time to repent, they are part and parcel of an electorate asphyxiated by armchair constitutionalists in thirty-second sound bites. Trump’s loyalists feed the argument that the human race was introduced to social media three hundred years prematurely. I question regularly whether or not our collective bandwidth harbors the capacity to differentiate volatile, un-vetted, unsubstantiated, conspiratorial lunacy cast upon the body- politic by inch-deep provocateurs from pragmatic, peer-reviewed fact. This nascent model of absorbing critical information has, is, and will continue to wreak havoc on our democratic process. Gone are the days when Americans researched, digested - and when deliberately consumed - communicated information back to his or her social network.

During his string of Inaugural speeches Trump used the White House as the background for one of the most unpresidential utterances to leak out of his vitriolic lips. On the White House lawn the newly-elected President ushered in his first and only term with these words, “WE are here, and THEY are not.” It was starkly clear at the time he was referring to republicans and democrats, however it encapsulated a much broader and ominous vision Trump had for himself (autocrat) and the nation (bitterly divided, skeptical of democracy,, and ultimately ripe for domination). If Trump’s inflammatory propaganda goes unchallenged, the United States of America risks an internecine conclusion to a madman’s machinations.

With that said, it is my hope the following description of what it truly means to prescribe to fascism, communism, and socialism will edify those pining for sanity and healing, and send voters to the booth armed with The Big Truth.

Sometimes when the truth has been conflated and dismantled to the point where it is no longer recognizable it is best to refer to a proven and trusted source; the dictionary.

The dictionary allowed me to conduct a sort-of-litmus test for Biden and Trump, and contrast the two by affixing to them the principles of all three styles of government.

Fascism: Fascists believe they have been victimized by the “cruelty” of foreign interests (Trump vs. China/Mexico). This fear and anger (very much a political arrow in the right’s quiver) tends to manifest in the following tenets of fascism - under an autocrat: Anti-Union. (Trump). Far-right Ideology. Religious fundamentalism, favors racial purity (Proud Boys), limited person freedom (Dodd decision). (Trump). Strength. Fascist governments flaunt military prowess as a means to an end. Military displays for the consideration of potential belligerents AND to flex the tyrants muscle in front of their subjects. Recall Trump’s intention to parade the U.S. military down Pennsylvania Ave. during the inauguration? (Trump).

Nationalism. The nation places her needs above those of other nations. I’d be disingenuous if I didn’t admit I believe all presidents do this. However, Trump’s isolationist (draconian tariffs) policies garner him the edge here as well. (Trump). Social Hierarchy. Fascists don’t believe in equality. Trump blends this with racial purity as he blatantly stokes class/race conflicts. (Trump).

Economic Regulation. Private profit is allowable IF the profit benefits the leader. (Neither).

NOTE: Anti-Neutralism, and Economic Regulation (Gov’t controls economic activity) were the final tenets and should not be fairly affixed to either Trump or Biden. The Federal Reserve and the SEC as economic regulators are the closest examples but they are regulatory…free-market U.S. capitalism IS our “economic activity.”

Communism. The ideological basis of communism is rather beautiful in its simplicity; that those responsible for producing wealth should share in said wealth. In reality in runs anathema to our deep-rooted instincts to achieve self-actualization. Additionally, its model invites authoritarian impulses and eventual succumbs to them.

Anti-Capitalism. Free markets and private profits are strictly prohibited. (Neither).

Anti-Religion. The father of communist doctrine, Carl Marx warned subscribers to communism to reject organized religion because it acts as an opiate served to the masses by capitalistic forces. (Neither)

Classlessness. The state is run by the working class, on behalf of the working class. (Neither)

Collectivism. ALL property is surrendered to the state to be shared by all. (Neither)

Government Control. The first part of the definition describes a government which intervenes on its citizenry to such an extent to keep some from achieving more than others. To this portion neither Trump or Biden guilty. (Neither) . The second portion of the definition covers “control over marriage and family.” Trumps assault on the LGBTQ community as well as his far-right abortion position is more than sufficient to win him this category. (Trump). The final 2 principals/tenets of communism I wish to combine because they offer support to one another and show what - in my opinion - was page one in Trumps playbook. They are: Authoritarianism and Revolution. Note: Following our American Revolution the framers of our democratic-republic were able to achieve “phase 3” (described below) as our nation's principle’s align with the ideology of communism. No modern communist state has realized its true objective (The sitting autocrat refused to relinquish absolute power). The first phase of authoritarianism comes in the form of revolution. Secondly, it is followed by a brief authoritarian regime. And thirdly, the regime - as agreed to in communist doctrine - surrenders control back to the citizens. Revolution, in our context here, is defined as achieving a utopia via revolt against the ruling class - violently if necessary. It goes on to say that “while some (revolutionaries) believe in reforming the existing government, most think that the entire structure must be overthrown and started again.” (Donald J. Trump and January 6, 2001).

Socialism. Share the wealth society. Pop culture would lead you to the political and governing style of Huey Long and/or the books of Upton Sinclair. But how is socialism defined?

Central Planning. Government-owned companies and government price-setting, and the
elimination of state, local governments. (Neither).

Collective Ownership. This principle “contends that the factors of production (labor, goods, natural resources) should be owned by all members of society. (Neither).

Distribution of Wealth. Socialist societies charge high-tax rates which get redistributed into government services and infrastructure. (Biden).

Protecting the Oppressed. The exact definition of “oppressed:” people treated cruelty or
prevented from having the same opportunities, freedom, and benefits as others.” Socialist societies believe government’s responsibilities include protecting the oppressed. (not even close…Biden). Trump’s anti-LGBTQ credentials are public record.

Separation of Church and State. (before Trump converted SCOTUS to the religious-right’s errand boy I would have said “both.” (Biden).

Worker’s Rights. “Like communists, socialists support workers’ rights. But instead of worker revolution (communism), socialists advocate for labor unions and workforce regulation.” (Biden).

OK. Let’s add em up:
Fascism. Trump scored an impressive 5 out of 6 while Biden scored a miserable 0-6.

Communism. (I combined two principles if you will recall so 1/2 scores were achievable). Trump scored a 1.5-6/7 while Biden, again garnered a 0.

Socialism. Trump scored (0-6) in this category while Biden scored a 4-6. I don’t want to get in to a whole “stop the steal” debate here so let’s dive into this win by Biden. Respectfully and patriotically both Biden and Trump reject the socialist tenets of Central Planning and Collectivism, however, this is where the similarities end. Regarding taxing Americans at a high rate for infrastructure; (transportation, public safety, social security, medicaid and medicare) Biden-1/ Trump-0. Charging the government with protecting the oppressed and disenfranchised; Biden-1/ Trump-0. Separation of Church and State; Biden-1/ Trump-0. Workers’Rights; (protecting fair and equal pay for fair and equal work) Biden-1/ Trump-0.

Governments take time to evolve. And our American experiment is no exception. Our founders were able to take a cafeteria-style approach while erecting the foundation of our republic. They had the luxury of pulling from the eloquent pens of Plato and Locke a system for the middle class, and the prophetic judicial enlightenment of the Magna Carta, to create a legislative, judicial, and executive infrastructure to serve its citizens.

Heed the math, and do the right thing


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