“A weightless world is indifferent”

Roger Cohen, in the NYT, writing about the re-emergence of Mussolini-likes in Italy.

“Liberation is a poor word to devalue, especially when hundreds of thousands have died for it. Salvini, the leader of the League party and a central figure in the pan-European rightist resurgence, did a disservice to history and honor that will delight his followers. Italy’s liberation by the Allies and partisan resistance forces was not some debatable “derby” devoid of moral significance, but a victory that laid the foundation for Italy’s postwar re-emergence as a decent, democratic country….

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Benito Mussolini, second left in front, in Rome with Nazi officers in 1936. CreditAssociated Press

All that, however, took place in the faraway 20th century. Words that marked that century’s course — Fascism, Communism, totalitarianism, Holocaust — have become weightless in the 21st century, fungible elements in a furious fake-news theater. The risk is that a weightless world is indifferent.
Montgomery, Ala., home of the year-old National Memorial for Peace and Justice , a monument to the 4,400 African Americans lynched by white mobs between Reconstruction and the civil rights era…. As I stood awed by the pain the monument represented, an older black man approached … and as we gazed together at the dangling blocks of metal, he said something I don’t often pause to consider: “As bad as things are now,” he said, “we’ve gone through much worse.”
I stand with Lewis today when he promises to cause all “necessary trouble” to face down Trump. “Whatever he tries to do, he cannot take us back,” Lewis says. There will be some setbacks. But the American people are not going back.

Philip Waring: I don’t know about you but I don’t know where to turn. The political parties that might have impeached the man for obstruction don’t seem now to want to do so. How could they not want to do that? And then how could we have, millions of us anyway, elected this Mussolini-like? Where is the fault, in the electoral system or in ourselves?

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