Hunting down 'fascist' Donald Trump in expressly fascist ways

America and the world would be foolish to embark on a vengeful hunt of Trump's legacy instead of dealing with the real danger to free speech: Big Tech, the new colonisers.

Abhijit Majumder January 11, 2021 07:12:30 IST
Hunting down 'fascist' Donald Trump in expressly fascist ways

File image of Donald Trump. AFP

In his 2001 movie, Taking Sides, Hungarian master filmmaker Istvan Szabo shows how tyrannies are often overthrown and replaced by other tyrannies. The film is set in Germany during Denazification after the Second World War. It tells the story of a petty and power-drunk US Army general out to indict legendary music composer Wilhelm Furtwängler for being complicit with the Nazi regime.

Szabo’s message resonates in the United States of 2021.

An irresponsible, whimsical, megalomaniac, divisive and loose cannon of a president has been dethroned in an election which he has since been claiming was a fraud. His claims — as the mainstream media, authorities and even judges have rejected — seem to be high on conjecture and low on facts.

Some of his supporters were angry enough to storm the Capitol Hill in an unprecedented and dangerous lack of respect for rules. Five people, including 35-year-old Iraq war veteran Ashli Babbit, died in the clashes with the police.

While Trump even in his message to pacify his supporters kept claiming without much evidence that the election was stolen, his opponents pounced on him, accusing him of inciting the Capitol riots. They, ironically like the president himself, leaned heavily on innuendo and extrapolation. It is still not proven that Trump had given his supporters a direct call for violence.

But the hunt for Trump had begun. Big Tech struck first. Facebook and Twitter suspended his account permanently, displaying their immense power in silencing free speech. It also shows their spectacular hypocrisy in taking away Trump’s megaphone while he is losing power but allowing Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Pakistani prime minister Imran Khan to carry on hatred and incitement against communities like Kurds and Hindus.

Lie after lie of Chinese official handles and inflammable posts of Islamists from Ilhan Omar to Ayatollah Khomeini go uncensored as well.

Google, Amazon and Apple have pulled the Parler app — a growing platform that encourages the conservative voice — off their stores.

The Left has thrown away its sheep skin of ‘tolerance’ and is not just demanding Trump’s impeachment in his last days. Stooping to extraordinary pettiness, it wants Hollywood to delete the scene in Home Alone 2 in which Trump appears for a few seconds to guide the child inside a grand luxury hotel.

In a nation that leads the rest of the world in free speech, the extent of witch hunt and banning is disturbing, even sinister. It is as if the Communist Party of China has hacked into the US' software. It has even got many Democrats and free speech activists worried.

“We understand the desire to permanently suspend him now,” said Kate Ruane of the American Civil Liberties Union in a statement. “But it should concern everyone when companies like Facebook and Twitter wield the unchecked power to remove people from platforms that have become indispensable for the speech of billions — especially when political realities make those decisions easier.”

While rivals cheered when Trump’s megaphone was snatched away from him, many Democrats realise that Big Tech has grown too big for its boots. It wields a scary amount of reach and power. It functions in opaque, iron-curtained algorithms that do not respect a nation’s laws. It is entirely possible for shadowy powers and networks to work their influence through Big Tech.

A very controversial President is on his way out. But America and the world would be foolish to embark on a vengeful hunt of his legacy instead of dealing with the real danger to free speech: Big Tech, the new colonisers.

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