A Human Face Without Fascism

Definitions of fascism differ as much as fascists beg to differ that their respective brands of justice are unjust. But there is no such thing as a fascist whose subjects are free to choose their president, and a president who is powerful enough to stay in power, despite the existence of a free press.

Or, Donald Trump is the only fascist without the ultimate trump card, which belongs to the people and is first among equals. He attacks members of the press, as is his right; as he is sometimes right to do so, but I have yet to read about a critic too afraid to call the president everything from a criminal to an agent of a corrupt foreign government.

I know: What has yet to happen here is irrelevant, because it will happen—it has already happened, according to some—so long as President Trump remains in office. Allow me, in turn, to ask where I may send a donation, and to whom I should make my check payable to, so some wrongfully imprisoned socialist, who is also a pacifist and a five-time presidential candidate, may have the best lawyer money can buy.

You will forgive me, I hope, for having thought Eugene V. Debs was still in jail for having violated the Espionage Act. Imagine my surprise, then, when I learned it was a Democrat, Woodrow Wilson, who had refused to free Debs and a Republican, Warren G. Harding, who did. What was Debs’s crime, again—if that is what you want to call it—when all he did was call for America not to enter the Great War? Was Donald Trump’s candidacy not based, in part, on his opposition to the war in Iraq?

Perhaps my failure to hear the sound of jackboots renders me to deaf to the march of lynch mobs. Perhaps I do not believe the man who just posthumously pardoned Jack Johnson, boxing’s first African American heavyweight champion, is a fascist. Perhaps the real racist was the president to whom Johnson had sent a petition for redress from Leavenworth prison.

That man’s name was—surprise—Woodrow Wilson.

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