History teaches us the past can help predict the future. It is said “if we don’t learn from history we are destined to repeat it”. It is also said “history repeats itself”? Truths we often choose to forget.
We have the luxury of knowing the history of Germany and the rise of Hitler. How an advanced Western Christian country could in a few short years fall pray to a madman who led the country to some of the greatest crimes in human history. Years from now we will see the history of how a man like Donald Trump could take the worlds greatest democracy – also largely Christian – to the brink of turning that democracy into an authoritarian state. And, like Germany, the starting point was a democratic election. Perhaps some history will cover foreign influence via the internet – false stories planted the Russians or Chinese or others. But that will only be a small part of the story. Much more time will be devoted to the reality that Trump was supported by others along the way – others who gave that support for their own reasons that enabled Trump. In fact if that support had not been there Trump would never have succeeded. The same was true for Hitler.
Much of the blame has been directed towards the Republican Party and “enablers” like Ted Cruz, Lindsey Graham, Jim Jordan and the like. As history will show is that was only one side of the equation – and not the most important side in my view. Worse was the media that supported Trump as that also supported the Republican Trump supporters. If that media had not been prepared to fuel the Trump band wagon and help spread the exaggerations and outright lies, the Republican supporters would have moderated their support accordingly. So the real blame must go to the media that stood to gain – largely a financial gain – from Trump. Rupert Murdoch will not come out unscathed. Nor the architect of Fox “news” Roger Ailes who correctly identified a potential audience that the mainstream media was not covering. The fact that the mainstream did not cater to that audience was simply that it was an audience of grievance, open to conspiracy theories and NOT of news. Ailes was right and Fox made a lot of money out of it. And still does.
Then comes the happy Fox stooges who made out like bandits. Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, and the like. Hannity will be one of the figures who will suffer the worst disgrace as he was an unabashed supporter even after the Capital insurrection of January 6, 2021. Though not the brightest tool in the shed, one has to admit that supporting lies can generate substantial personal gain. It will be interesting to see how the Newsmax people come out – and of course internet platforms as well.
Also history will show that there was a prelude to all of this. Extreme right wing pundits like Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin who made a nice living fueling gradience, anger and making wild accusations. They laid the groundwork for the Trump era. They proved there was a market for nutty views, conspiracy theories, and general bullshit. Blame also has to be laid on them.