Trump’s words at CPAC are exactly what Fascists say when laying the groundwork for violence
AG Garland should take a lesson from Argentina
"Never again," were the final two words of Argentinian prosecutor Julio Strassera’s closing argument in the 1985 criminal trial of the former leaders of Argentina’s military junta that had waged a successful coup and brutally ruled the nation from 1976 to 1983. Strassera’s bravery of standing up to death threats leveled against himself, his family and fellow prosecutors are depicted in the award-winning 2022 film, “Argentina, 1985,” that was just nominated by the Academy Award for Best International Feature Film. (It’s available on Amazon and I highly recommend it.)
In the end, the military leaders who waged what was known as “The Dirty War” that involved the suspension of civil liberties and both the torture and killing of thousands of political critics were convicted and sentenced to jail--including a life sentence for their leader Lieut. Gen. Jorge Rafaél Videla. More importantly, Argentina--a nation that had been plagued for decades by military coups overturning democratic elections--has ever since been a robust democracy. The Freedom House--an organization that monitors freedoms worldwide—notes that Argentina is currently “a vibrant representative democracy with competitive elections, lively media and civil society sectors, and unfettered public debate.”
But what if the generals who waged that coup were never prosecuted? Would Argentina be the “vibrant” democracy it is today? Unlikely, given the history of military coups in that South American nation that had occurred almost every ten years from the 1930’s through the 1970’s.
What happened in Argentina, though, stands in stark and alarming contrast to what has occurred in the United States after Trump’s coup attempt. This Monday, March 6, will mark two years and two months since Trump’s attempted coup and his Jan 6 terrorist attack. (And yes, DOJ has designated Jan 6 as an act of “domestic terrorism” and it should be referred to as that.)
Even more bone-chilling are the words Trump uttered at CPAC on Saturday that appear to be building the justification to engage in a U.S. version of “The Dirty War” that took place in Argentina. I’m deadly serious. Trump told the MAGA faithful Saturday that: “I am your warrior. I am your justice.” He then added, “And for those who have been wronged and betrayed: I am your retribution.”
Have you ever hard a leading American presidential candidate vow retribution on behalf of his supporters against their perceived political enemies?! Of course not. That is not the language of people involved in Democratic Republic. It’s the language of dictators and fascists.
And like fascists from Hitler to Argentina’s Videla, Trump at CPAC painted fellow countrymen and women as the true threat to the nation. Trump told the cheering crowd: “We will drive out the globalists. We will cast out the communists. We will throw off the political class that hates our country.” Building to a crescendo, he then went after RINOs and Biden, finally bellowing, “We will liberate America from these villains and scoundrels once and for all.”
Again, when have you heard a leading political figure speak of “liberating” America from their political opponents?! That, too, is the language used by fascists.
As the late Madeline Albright explained in her book, “Fascism: A Warning:” “What differentiates fascism from other ideological movements is the use of violence and anger to achieve political ends.” She continued: “Fascism is always, in the end, about stirring people up and giving them someone to hate.” And ultimately this leads to violence on behalf of the fascist leader: “Fascism involves the endorsement and use of violence to achieve political goals and stay in power.”
That is EXACTLY what we saw on Jan 6 with the MAGA terrorist attack.
If Trump were to win in 2024, he will not leave the White House peacefully. After all, he did not leave peacefully in 2020. And if he won, we can expect Trump to challenge the 22nd Amendment of the Constitution that limits a President to two terms. Trump will likely claim that he didn’t have a true first term because of the impeachment hearings, etc. Do you doubt that Trump supporters would choose Trump remaining in office over what the US Constitution states? You shouldn’t given that Trump supporters are all in for Trump despite his attempted coup to overturn the will of the people.
We can’t go backwards in time but clearly Attorney General Garland should’ve appointed a Special Counsel as soon as he was sworn in as in March 2021. The reason being was that just a month before in February 2021, Trump spoke at CPAC-his first appearance after the Jan 6 attack-where he already began teasing a 2024 run for President. He told the audience, “It is far from being over,” adding, “We will be victorious and America will be stronger and greater than ever before.”
Thus, Garland knew in February 2021 that Trump had every intention of remaining in politics and potentially running against President Biden. That is the time a Special Counsel was warranted. Instead, Garland waited until November 2022—dragging this out into the heart of the 2024 cycle.
Will DOJ ever charge Trump? We don’t know. However, Garland has already failed in one way: By waiting over two years and counting to bring charges, Garland has dangerously sent the message that what Trump did was not that serious. It was. Trump attempted a coup.
The lesson historians can draw from Argentina’s 1985 prosecution of the leaders of that nation’s coup is clear: If you prosecute those involved in a coup, you are taking key steps to preserve a robust democracy. If Garland fails to charge Trump, historians will likely note that was the key failure that led to the end of the United States of America remaining a Republic. That is, assuming historians are allowed to write freely in such a future.
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