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Trump’s Authoritarianism: Rethinking Orwell’s ‘1984’ and Strategizing the Resistance
By Henry Giroux
With the rise of Donald Trump to the office of president of the United States, politics has descended, like never before, to a theater of the absurd. Unbridled anti-intellectualism, deception and “vindictive chaos” offer the rhetorical tools for repeating elements of a morally reprehensible past in the guise of “making America great again.” Advancing an aggressively alarmist agenda bolstered by “alternative facts,” the Trump administration has unleashed a type of anti-politics that unburdens people of any responsibility to challenge, let alone collectively transform, the fundamental precepts of a society torn asunder by blatant misogyny, massive inequality, open bigotry and violence against immigrants, Muslims and poor minorities of color.
In the new age of Trump, justice becomes the enemy of democratic leadership and the capacity to name this collectively agreed-upon reality recedes with each assertion of fakery in infinite repetition. When evidence, science and reason are purged of their legitimacy, politics capitulates to the venomous ideals, policies and practices one associates with a totalitarian past. Despite his populist posturing, Trump’s contempt of democratic processes is matched by his commitment to the market and economic policies that favor the financial elite. In short, as the Washington Post observed, Trump is a “unique threat to democracy,” and a triumph for the forces of nativism, racism and misogyny.