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On January 9, 2021, I authored an article that called for a condemnation of political violence. I cautioned that, if we failed to do this, the violence could spiral out of control, and we all would pay dearly. I re-iterate this warning. My appeal was intended for everyone, no matter their politics, and it proceeded from my understanding of history, and my concern for the safety of us all. I also unequivocally condemned what happened in Washington DC and called for a thorough investigation and prosecution of anyone, who participated in that melee. I stand by that position.
Robin Connell submitted a response to my article in which she used my appeal to attack my political affiliation, implying that I and other Trump supporters, bear responsibility for the disorder in Washington D.C. She then invoked the word “fascist” associating it with President Trump and by implication anyone, who supported him. The term has a very explicit definition. Robert O. Paxton, an expert on the subject, in his book “Anatomy of Fascism”, provides a description of its characteristics. These include: contempt for due process, utilization of crisis, and the demonization of opponents as enemies of the state. Fascism also lays claim to history, a contribution made by philosopher Friedrich Hegel. The twentieth century was replete with movements, who thought they owned history. Their legacy brought death, misery and destruction to an entire generation.
Despite my condemnation of the violence in Washington, Ms. Connell seems intent on holding me and anyone, who has doubts and concerns about the election of 2020, responsible for the violence. Our condemnations are meaningless, in her eyes, because we are “on the wrong side of history” and whatever we say has no standing. This is hardly a liberal position, so what does that make her ?
Associating all Trump supporters with the riot in the US Capitol is eerily reminiscent of the Reichstag fire of 1933, which was used as a pretext to invoke martial law in Germany, banning political dissent and imprisoning critics of the state. When someone has the audacity to claim ownership of history, they should at least know it, or as Winston Churchill warns, they are doomed to repeat it.
Dennis Galvin is a Westford resident.