America’s Christo-Fascist Turn
Jeff Sharlet’s latest book, The Undertow: Scenes from a Slow Civil War, is the culmination of more than a dozen years’ reporting on the US religious right in America. He reports on how it has morphed and evolved and how Trump’s second campaign has changed, how he has tipped into the abyss of his own rhetoric and conspiracism and on how dismissing Trump’s performances as ‘theatre’ is missing the point. Seeking to return to office, Trump has threatened the media with charges of treason and hankered for the execution of Gen Mark Milley, the former chair of the joint chiefs of staff.
Sharlet “captures the rage, the despair, the dislocation, the alienation, the aesthetic of violence, and the magical thinking that are the foundations of all fascist movements—forces that are now coalescing around the Trump-led Republican Party.” He does two things which are important and different. He understands the motivations and drive behind these movements of the far-right without dismissing them and he points to the myths and almost complete passivity and inertia of liberal America in the face of this phenomenon.
Even two years ago Sharlet resisted using the term ‘fascist’ to describe Trump’s movement. Here he explains why he now uses that term.