Very few Americans of European descent have ever in their lives been face to face with fascism. I know of three in our community. They were born and raised in Europe, so they watched it all happen. The rest of us know a few things about it because we read a biography of Benito Mussolini, “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich,” took a college course in modern European history or followed the recent political rise and fall of Silvio Berlusconi in Italy. But that’s it, so we were not prepared for what happened on Nov. 8. We were blindsided by proto-fascism and because we’d never really seen it before, we we’re not skilled to resist it. But I truly believe we soon will be. Why? Because as a nation we have become so good at what it takes to resist tyranny and authoritarianism.
We were born resisting. The United States of America started out by revolting against dictatorial authority, and we have since fought and won a thousand more battles for every conceivable right and against every imaginable form of social control and injustice. In doing so, we have learned as a nation how to organize, demonstrate, petition, confront, litigate and defeat our homegrown deniers of liberty—the autocrats, plutocrats and war mongers who have worked so hard to gain control of the country. We have succeeded every time we’ve tried hard enough, and, as bad as this spasm of neo-fascism seems to us now, I truly believe we will succeed again.
This is our Berlusconi moment. As Silvio did in Italy, Trump will leave scars lasting decades. But by doing exactly what so many people in this and thousands of other communities in every state of this nation are doing to resist this frightening administration, enlightened democracy and the good values it protects will prevail, and America might actually become great again.
Mark Dowie has visited and done historical research in about half the 19 national museums of resistance scattered about the major cities of Western Europe. He would be glad to offer any interested parties a complete list of them all.