On March 9, 2016, Parker J. Palmer wrote a blog on OnBeing.org about the danger of fascism with the rise of Donald Trump. It caught my eye, because Palmer is one of my favorite writers and thinkers. I have read all of his books, and I counted on him to ground—and direct—me as a teacher. His latest book Healing the Heart of Democracy: The Courage to Create a Politics Worthy of the Human Spirit is wonderful, a guide to how we can live together in mutual respect, care and peace. I know him to be a careful thinker, so I paid attention when he used the word fascism.
I am used to people being afraid of people who are caught in the criminal justice system, whether they are behind bars or out in the world trying to put their lives back together. What I don’t understand is the fear that stalks our hearts and streets, making us so afraid of each other that we have to have so many guns. I do not want to ignore the fears and anxieties of Trump supporters, and part of me applauds their efforts to be heard. What I’m hearing is that they are hurting and scared. They feel ignored. Many of their lives are not exactly examples of the great American dream. What scares me is Trump’s ability to scapegoat, blaming immigrants, especially Mexicans and Muslims. He is a master at “othering,” pointing the finger at people who are different than white people and blaming them for their loss of safety, security and jobs. I have watched in horror in the past week as he stoked fear into violence, throwing out anyone who dared disagree with him. Here is Palmer’s blog in its entirety: