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Spiking temperatures, melting glaciers, rising seas, catastrophic hurricanes and unprecedented wildfires are clear signs of a climate emergency caused by humans. Denying the awful reality makes the situation worse. The same can be said of denial about the current momentum toward fascism under Donald Trump.
Trump's right-wing base and leading Republicans are in lockstep with both types of denial. They embrace the most absurd claims about climate, such as Trump's recent comment during a visit to fire-ravaged California that "I don't think science knows, actually." And they refuse to recognize or deplore his autocratic moves.
On the left, hardly anyone doubts the climate crisis. And there's widespread recognition that Trump's presidency is a full-blown emergency. But -- with justified enmity toward the neoliberal corporatism and militarism of Joe Biden and the Democratic Party -- some question or pooh-pooh the importance of ousting Trump with Biden.
Yet no one can credibly dispute, for instance, that Trump is increasingly aligned with white supremacy. Or that Trump is enabling more repressive actions by "law enforcement" and the courts. Any ambivalence about defeating Trump goes against the left's historic responsibility to fight tooth and nail against the extreme right.
Winning that fight is a victory for humanity as a whole. It also allows space for the left to function instead of being crushed.
But -- after nearly four years of the Trump presidency -- a normalization process has made denial a real hazard.
The book How Fascism Works, by Yale professor Jason Stanley, describes the dynamic this way: "Normalization of fascist ideology, by definition, would make charges of 'fascism' seem like an overreaction, even in societies whose norms are transforming along these worrisome lines. Normalization means precisely that encroaching ideologically extreme conditions are not recognized as such because they have come to seem normal. The charge of fascism will always seem extreme; normalization means that the goalposts for the legitimate use of 'extreme' terminology continually move."
Even now, despite all that Trump has done and is threatening to do, some progressives still have trouble wrapping their minds around the reality of the neo-fascist threat right in front of us in real time. The current "encroaching ideologically extreme conditions are not recognized as such because they have come to seem normal."
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