Opinion

The Ides of March

A few weeks ago, I wrote an article on Steve Bannon, gently admonishing him for his association with right wing ideologues, as though he was being somehow influenced by them for whatever reason. Fact of the matter is he is the right wing ideologue, and a dangerous one at that.

First off, I don’t recall the American people having voted for Steve Bannon. He is one step shy of introducing fascist political thinking into the body politic of this country. He is the virus that can set us on a course toward all the ills of an extreme right wing ideology; one that approaches the darker arts of the totalitarian mindset.

I made a joke to some friends that Steve Bannon looked like a schlubby, unkempt version of Martin Bormann, the Reichsleiter in the retinue of AH’s high court. I dare not use the name, as its conjuration only stirs up and swirls with other implications. It’s best to use initials for the Unsaid Name.

Anyway, I was wrong to make such a comparison. He is the reincarnation of Martin Bormann and all the minister could and did represent. He is a Bormann in rumpled khakis and a fatigue jacket.

We are on a perilous journey with a feckless and gullible leader for president. He labors under the influence of Steve Bannon, and inch by inch, we are creeping toward the fascist state. The fact that I despise and can barely speak Trump’s name notwithstanding, we are already lurching toward that version of the well-policed state with Bannon as its unprincipled intellectual inspiration.

The selective Muslim ban at America’s airports is merely one furtive step toward the fascist state. The privately managed detention centers for ‘illegal’ immigrants are another such step. How easy would it be for these centers to be transformed into detention camps for disaffected Americans who disagree with the current trend in political thinking? Already, the neo-Nazis are champing at the bit in anticipation of introducing their racist and totalitarian views into the country’s mainstream. The detention centers are ready made for their nefarious purposes. All that’s required is the identification of who the ‘Others’ are and how to address their disposition.

This is not what the United States of America is supposed to look like, folks. We’ve been on this path before in its various iterations. Charles Lindberg’s flirtation with American Fascism is one example. McCarthyism is another. The Klan and its various racist subsets are another. All that’s required is the intellectual shift from democracy to demagoguery and we’re there, and Donald Trump’s the man in charge. A hate-spouting, fundamentally racist and unthinking mouthpiece for the dissatisfied masses of white America and we’ve arrived at an unconscionable destination.

Who’d of thunk it?

If I sound alarmist, I am. I’ve read enough history to know how easily manipulated people are into thinking certain forms of extremism are the norm, and there have been enough trends and actual events in America’s history to prove me right. Americans once thought human slavery a perfectly acceptable form of extracting labor. We once thought the extermination of the Native American a perfectly reasonable approach to settling the West. How about the invasion of Mexico? Jim Crow laws? Internment camps for Japanese Americans? Perfectly reasonable, eh?

Steve Bannon is merely the not-so-thin edge of the wedge that prises the tree toward its tipping point. The Tree of Liberty is already sawn partway through with this latest iteration of a putative election. A few more nudges in the Right direction and down she comes.

It’s March, and we’ve all heard the bleating of Shakespeare’s soothsayer. The Ides of March have become a stock in trade expression in the comedic repertoire. I don’t pretend to be that soothsayer, but I see the elements gathering, even from the heights of this northernmost perch. Bannon and his minions are out in force. Their knives cut.

The latest? The U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions had communications with the Russian ambassador during the election and did not disclose it to Congress. We can thank our Maine Senator for that one.

When does this end? How does it end?

Dave Wylie’s life and work experience runs the gamut from newspaper editor to carpenter to grant writer to boat builder with lots of other work wedged in-between. Born in 1953 in Canada, he admits not having found what he wants to be when he grows up. Wylie currently is president of a management company that oversees an elderly housing complex and president of the local historical society. He resides in Madawaska.

Get the Rest of the Story

Thank you for reading your 4 free articles this month. To continue reading, and support local, rural journalism, please subscribe.