|Madeleine Albright photo by Smithsonian Magazine|
"...why, this far into the twenty-first century, are we once again talking about Fascism? One reason, frankly, is Donald Trump, If we think of Fascism as a wound from the past that had almost healed, putting Trump in the White House was like ripping off the bandage and picking at the scab." (Albright & Woodward, "Fascism A Warning" p.5)
On page 95 in the book, Albright quotes President Harry S. Truman's address at the fledgling United Nations in San Francisco that "Fascism did not die with Mussolini. Hitler is finished, but the seeds spread by his disordered mind have firm root in too many fanatical brains. It is easier to remove tyrants and destroy concentration camps than to kill the ideas which give them birth." (Albright & Woodward, "Fascism A Warning" p. 95.) Harry S. Truman did not know and did not meet TRAITOR & Spawn Of Satan Trump so far as we know. But that quotation tells me and should also tell you that he "knew" the man. TRAITOR & Spawn of Satan Trump's brain was one of those to which President Truman was referring. Today, along the US border with Mexico, concentration camps have been created for men, women, and children who are attempting to escape drug wars, murder, and starvation across Central and South America. Children are being gassed and kidnapped from their parents and placed in tent cities without due process or any modicum of human decency which should be commonplace in a so-called "civilized country" such as ours. Many of those children and their parents may never be reunited because ICE did not create or even bother to attempt to create a tracking system for the parents and children in order to facilitate their eventual reunions. Whether or not those parents are being deported, they have a legal right to regain custody of their children. Doing anything less than facilitating those reunions is a crime. It is kidnapping! It is Fascism in practice.
Returning to our direct discussion of Madeleine Albright's truly important work in this book, on page 184 in the book in a section primarily about the Fascist practises of Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Mihaly Orban, she extends into a discussion of the Fascist uses of the plebiscite to spread and validate a falsehood. The plebiscite is used widely in America by Right Wing Radical Repugnican political consultants in the form of political "polls" which are composed of "questions" which are preceded by relatively long introductions phrased in such a way as to alter the "subjects" responses in favor of the candidate or position these "pollsters" are promoting. They were quite commonly used by Right Wing Radical Repugnican candidates who favored the TRAITOR & Spawn Of Satan Trump during the 2016 and 2018 US elections. A typical "question in such "polls" might be phrased in this manner: "Candidate A (the "pollsters" opposition candidate) believes that baby ducks should be decapitated via use of his teeth and mouth. Candidate B (the "pollsters" supported candidate and employer) believes that baby ducks should be protected from all forms of physical violence." Then comes the "question" phrased to virtually guarantee a response in favor the "pollsters" candidate. "Does knowing this make you more or less likely to vote for Candidate B?" When "polls" and their "questions" are phrased in such a manner, it allows the "pollsters" and their candidates to receive "results" they have directly and deliberately influenced and doctored to make it appear that their candidate is winning and to discourage support for the opposition candidate. These tactics in the use of so-called "plebiscites or polls" absolutely makes a mockery of what ethical researchers and pollsters call "validity", "reliability", and "generalizability", which are defined in this manner. Validity is defined as the extent to which a concept is accurately measured in a quantitative study. Reliability is defined as the accuracy of a research poll. Generalizability can be defined as the extension of research findings and conclusions from a study conducted on a sample population to the population at large. The more ethical and honest, or shall we say the more Valid and Reliable a poll or plebiscite is, the more one can Generalize the results. Albright concludes her discussion of these tactics in this manner:
"...the misuse of plebiscites was perfected by the Third Reich, which employed it to attach a small thread of legality to Hitler's rule. 'The most effective form of persuasion', said Goebbels, "is when you are aware of being persuaded." (Albright and Woodward, p. 184-185.)
The use of these doctored, unethical, and deliberately manipulative "polls" is quite common among the Repugnican Party today. It is a practice which was perfected by and arose from the work of Fascists. No matter what your political persuasion is, you should always ask yourself when you are taking a political poll, "Are these questions intended to induce me to give a particular response or come to a specified conclusion?" If the answer to that question is yes, you are taking an Invalid, Unreliable, and Ungeneralizable "poll" and you should not come to any conclusion it is intended to produce. You should not provide the answers it is seeking. You should not support the candidate paying for that poll. You should not ever, at any later date, believe any "poll" being produced by that company or "pollster".
On page 211 in the book, Albright addresses the propensity of TRAITOR & Spawn Of Satan Trump to praise, cater to, and seek the approval of dictators world wide both living and dead. She discusses how he "often endorses actions by foreign leaders that weaken democratic institutions" and goes on to pick fights with, denigrate, and directly attack our allies while using his truncated phraseology by referring to those allies as "bad, very bad", or "sad, very sad". That kind of phraseology is both the mark of a poorly educated and marginally intelligent person but also intended to seek the approval of others who are even less educated and more likely to approve of such actions which are damaging to the rights of the general public. On the very next page of the book, page 212, Albright addresses how TRAITOR & Spawn Of Satan Trump has managed to spread his Fascist messages to the point that other similarly minded criminals take the actions which they believe he will approve such as Thai officials who kicked several American reporters out of the country and then responded to questions about that action by saying that "they perceived a clear message from Trump that "news broadcast by those media outlets doesn't reflect the truth" and that such media outlets "must respect the states power". Later in the same chapter, on page 215, Albright states that "His analysis is filled with full-throated assertions that are riddled with bunkum and his arguments are designed to exploit insecurities and stir up resentment." While those words are absolutely honest and accurate, they are also a major understatement of his willingness to lie deliberately and outrageously in order to get his way. On page 218 Albright goes on to discuss his repeated attacks on NATO as too expensive and damaging to the interests of the United States by saying "Personally, I have conceived of NATO as a business proposition; it is something far more valuable. The Alliance is a unique political and military arrangement that for more than seven decades has allowed Europe and the United States to prepare, train share intelligence, and fight against common dangers. It is the cornerstone of world peace and a living testament to our collective will; you can't put a price on that." But these attacks on NATO are parroted by TRAITOR & Spawn Of Satan Trump from similar attacks by Vladimir Putin. A recent article from the news service VOX uses this opening sentence to discuss the source of the attacks: "Russian President Vladimir Putin wants to divide NATO. President Donald Trump is doing that for him." Two pages later, Albright continues her argument by citing recent opinion poll figures from citizens of our allies concerning their level of trust for the leadership of America.
"Since early 2017, surveys show a marked decline in respect for the United States. In Germany, belief that the American president can be counted on to do the right thing shrank from 86 percent under his predecessor to 11 percent under Trump. In France, the fall was from 84 percent to 14; in Japan, 74 to 24; in South Korea 84 to 17." (Albright & Woodward, page 220.)On the next page, 221, Albright speaks her own mind about her faith in the United States to recover from the ongoing damage being generated by the TRAITOR who occupies the White House:
"I continue to believe that the United States banked enough international goodwill in the interval between George Washington and Barack Obama to recover from the present embarrassment-- but I am not sure how extensive or lasting the harm will be, hence the worries." (Albright & Woodward, p. 221.)My own opinion, as expressed briefly above, is that the damage to America is and will continue to be cumulative, will last for at least a generation, and could well lead to deterioration in this country socially, politically, morally, and ethically which will be nearly impossible to erase unless the American justice system, as personified by the Mueller investigation, takes the necessary and appropriate actions and indicts, convicts, impeaches, and imprisons this TRAITOR and all of his co-conspirators. In this country today, parents are raising a generation of children who have known no other occupant of the White House and have no other barometer by which to measure appropriate moral leadership until this conspiracy is brought to justice. The price, over their lifetimes could be sufficient to totally destroy both America and American Democracy. As she builds to her conclusion of the book, Albright states:
"What the country needs is a plainspoken commitment by responsible leaders from both parties to address national needs together, accompanied by a general plan of action for doing so....Years from now, we may look back on Trump as a one time oddity who taught us a lesson we will not forget about the quirks of democracy. We may also look back on his as the agent of a political fracturing from which it will take decades to recover, during which every president will fail because the only candidates elected are those who make promises impossible to keep." ( Albright & Woodward, pages 233-234.)
As she reaches her conclusions in the book, Albright comes to a bleak possibility and I concur with her in believing that the potential for such a disaster is very real. But I also know that she, I, and hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of Americans are working daily to keep the disaster she foresees as being possible from ever happening. But here is the conclusion she reaches and the reason we are fighting every day to prevent it:
"Trump is the first anti-democratic president in modern U. S. history...If transplanted to a country with fewer democratic safeguards, he would audition for dictator, because that is where his instincts lead. This frightening fact has consequences. The herd mentality is powerful in international affairs. Leaders around the globe observe, learn from, and mimic one another. They see where their peers are heading, what they can get away with, and how they can augment and perpetuate their power. They walk in one another's footsteps, as Hitler did with Mussolini--and today the herd is moving in a Fascist direction." (Albright & Woodward, p. 246.)That bleak and terrorizing picture is what we all must, as Americans, fight against on a daily basis. We must lot allow one criminal to destroy what several billion patriots have built over the last 250 years. We must hold firm to the values on which this country was built and has prospered. We must right the ship. We must protect, defend, and perpetuate American Democracy as the Founding Fathers created it and we must not allow one TRAITOR and his co-conspirators to destroy it.