Europeans like to laugh at Americans and how stupid they were to elect Donald Trump. Some of that is well-deserved.
But we Americans are not alone in our susceptibility to the siren call of fascism — excuse me, “semi-fascism” — and right-wing candidates. After all, the Italians appear set to choose Giorgia Meloni who thinks Mussolini was not all that bad:
Meloni’s critics say the world should wake up to just how extreme her views really are, warning of a return to the dark days of 1930s fascism. Media coverage pointing out that Italy’s new government should be sworn in around the time of the 100th anniversary of Mussolini’s March on Rome has reinforced the point.
For senior Democrat Laura Boldrini, a critic and political rival of the Brothers, Meloni “represents the far right in Italy which has not had a reckoning with its past.”
Boldrini said: “Brothers of Italy is infiltrated by declared fascist elements.” The party “clearly wants a closed society that looks to the past while Italy needs to look to the future. Medieval times are over.”
And now the Brits are saddled with, inexplicably, a prime minster who may be even worse than Boris Johnson, as writer James Ball recounts in his article titled, “39 good reasons Liz Truss will be a terrible Prime Minister.”
The threat of right-wing extremism never goes away, almost anywhere in the world. Even in places that liberal Americans think are more civilized than America.
This is especially true when economic times are tough and people are susceptible to the easy answers of the demagogue and the scapegoating of whomever the political Right paints as being the enemy.
Vigilance and voting are the only answers to it, as tiring as the vigilance part can be.
It’s been like extremist whack-a-mole my entire life. You bat them down in one place and one election and they just pop up in another place and another election. Sometimes it’s the same people. Sometimes it’s new people encouraged by the people you thought you’d defeated.
They never go away. I think steeling myself to that reality has helped me to not give in to despair.
You do what you do, you stay informed and vote where you can, because you’re trying to keep them from completely taking over. Which they will do if the rest of us are not out there opposing them.