Commentary- Donald Trump: A maniac who matches mankind’s vilest

Commentary- Donald Trump: A maniac who matches mankind’s vilest
December 17
00:00 2015

Bill Turner

Guest  Columnist 

“Sieg heil!” — the Nazi Germany-era salute — was heard above the clamor as a protester was taken away for heckling Donald Trump at a rally preceding the most recent Republican presidential debate in Las Vegas this week.  Ross Douthat, writing in the New York Times a week ago, used the generally off-limits “F” word in inquiring of the basics of Mr. Trump’s attractiveness: “Is Donald Trump a fascist?”

It appears that Mr. Trump meets, matches, and exceeds the trademark characteristics of a fascist and demagogue.  He has a cult-like following that is intensely nationalistic, he is a bully whose brand is unified by bigotry, and Mr. Trump’s sweeping tirades, when scaled up, puts him in the same league with select world leaders whose extremism resulted in intolerance at best and genocide at worst.

Mr. Trump could become president of the United States next year and would, without a doubt join, and maybe even top, the list of  the most despotic and repressive dictators in world history.  Americans must remember that what are otherwise unspeakable acts of man’s inhumanity to man loom large in the short shadow of American history.

Could America find itself enacting some of the over-the-top policies Mr. Trump articulates so dogmatically?  Yes, we could.  Yes, we have.  Take immigration for example, one of the most controversial points in Mr. Trump’s cultural war catalog. During the height of the massive immigration of Europeans to the US – in the period between 1885-1910 – many Italians were “lumped” with those who were accused of bringing the Mafia to the US.  In New Orleans in 1891, there was a mass lynching of Italians.

In reaction to the murdering, according to Dr. Anthony Petrosino of the University of Texas, our country’s leaders, like Teddy Roosevelt, not yet president, famously said it was “a rather good thing.”

The response in the New York Times on March 16, 1891 referred to the victims of the lynchings as ” … sneaking and cowardly Sicilians, the descendants of bandits and assassins.” And John Parker, who later went on to be governor of Louisiana, said of Italians that they were “just a little worse than the Negro, being if anything filthier in [their] habits, lawless, and treacherous.”  Doesn’t this sound like Mr. Trump’s brash broadsides toward Mexicans and Muslims?  You bet it does.

Americans might wake up with Trump as president doing what President Franklin D. Roosevelt did just over 70 years ago, in 1942, when he required “aliens” from Italy, Germany, and Japan to register with the United States Department of Justice which, within a month, resulted in the full-scale internment of Japanese Americans.

Mr. Trump’s demagoguery about Berlin-type walls around America and his mockery of disabled people and his dirty digs on who is ugly or not, also brings to mind the list of other world leaders in times past whose thirst for dominion and power — and immortality — includes names such as Idi Amin Dada of Uganda, Kim Jung II of North Korea, Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, China’s Chiang Kai-Shek, and Joseph Stalin of Russia, among others.

Given Mr. Trump’s bombastic and ruthless pronouncements that involve potential atrocities, it is not too much of a stretch to compare him to Leopold II of Belgium who was famous for enslaving and killing more than 15 million Africans – in what he called (his) Free Congo State during the late 1800s, when America was just emerging from holding (African) slaves. Supported by the West, including America, Leopold II extracted the economic riches of The Congo, like a “successful businessman.”

Finally, the German phrase for The Leader – Der Fuhrer – is a brand that fits Mr. Trump quite well because, like Adolf Hitler, he needs no introduction.  Would Mr. Trump order the killing of 17 million people, including six million Jews, as Hitler did?  Would Mr. Trump lead the entire world into war? Probably not.  We won’t let him.

I don’t believe a critical mass of Americans  – enough to nominate Mr. Trump, let alone elect him our president – are swayed by the fear and resentment that marks his campaign oratory. But, just in case, if Americans want to keep our country’s name off the list of having one of the world’s most despotic leaders, they should – as Mr. Trump’s run for President continues toward the gorge of catastrophe – take note of the warning of George Santayana who said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

Dr. Bill Turner is a noted educator, writer and thinker who called Winston-Salem home for many years. Reach him at

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