Critique of column, newspaper
My natural laziness has kept me from responding sooner to Slim Smith’s article of Nov. 9 in The Dispatch entitled “The Dawn of American Fascism?” Frankly, I was hoping someone else would, but c’est la vie.
The general scene is set by his opening reference to “a tyrant, a despot, a man whose reckless ambition would spread carnage and suffering across the globe.” He means Adolph Hitler … of course. To Smith, Hitler was a “mad man” who used fear and anger among his principal weapons. No one could reasonably argue with that belief.
He then accuses Hitler of inciting the masses with a vow to “make Germany great again.” Do those words sound familiar? Yes siree, Slim, you’re warming to your theme. “Until Tuesday” (Nov. 8), America had “heeded the warning … against self-imposed tyranny disguised as patriotism.” But along came Election Day, and what a terrible, dark day it was. Woe unto us. “Donald Trump is the modern incarnation of Hitler and America wakes today at the dawn of American Fascism.” So says Slim Smith, sportswriter.
And this is where Smith is at his best. Writing about subjects about which he is completely ignorant. Fascism, in this instance. He doesn’t define the term, because he can’t. To him it is a derogatory label of the most contemptible order, a term of abuse to apply to the enemy.
But Trump is not just another Hitler, he’s worse. He’s a “white nationalist” and an enemy of American Muslims, Latinos, the media, the educated, and you bet, lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders. Slim, let me ask you this: in order to be a good American, does one have to be in favor of same sex marriage? Just wondering.
Then, in a one sentence paragraph, we’re told “This morning, ignorance is a virtue, intolerance a mark of purity.” That appears to be a succinct definition of Smith’s own personal philosophy.
Why, we might ask, does Smith think “the Democratic Party has been rendered irrelevant”? It’s held the presidency for the last eight years. Now, though, “We are a one-party autocracy” and there is nothing to stand in the way of Republican fascism: “The era of American Fascism has begun.” “God help us,” he concludes. Do what? we might ask. Perhaps Mr. Smith can tell us, although, thus far, there is no indication that he can.
That Smith wrote the scathing and ignorant article is his fault. That The Dispatch published it is the newspaper’s fault. Both are equally responsible for the inexcusable and unpardonable absence of taste, decency and intelligence.
Ben C. Toledano