Thursday, January 14, 2021

the last book I ever read (Anne Applebaum's Twilight of Democracy, excerpt thirteen)

from Twilight of Democracy: The Seductive Lure of Authoritarianism by Anne Applebaum:

The inaugural speech did not directly express a longing for a cleansing episode of violence. But the speech on “Western civilization” that Trump delivered in Warsaw a year later, in July 2017—the one Bardaji and his friends helped write—most certainly did. Trump, who seemed surprised by some of what he was reading from the teleprompter (“Think of that!” he marveled at a mention of the Polish origins of Copernicus), was clearly not the author. But the real authors, including Bannon and Stephen Miller, used some of the same language as hey had in the inaugural: “the people, not the powerful … have always formed the foundation of freedom and the cornerstone of our defense,” they wrote, as if Trump himself were not a wealthy, powerful elite businessman who had dodged the draft and let others fight in his place. In a passage describing the Warsaw Uprising—a horrific and destructive battle in which, despite showing great courage, the Polish resistance was crushed by the Nazis—they had Trump declare that “those heroes remind us that the West was saved with the blood of patriots; that each generation must rise up and play their part in its defense.” The ominous overtone was hard to miss: “each generation” means that patriots in our generation will have to spill their blood in the coming battle to rescue America from its own decadence and corruption too.

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