The Bogosity of Trump’s ‘America First,’ by Sheldon Richman

There is no such word as “bogosity,” but it’s less cumbersome than bogusness, which is a word. From Sheldon Richman at antiwar.com:

It says something about the complexity of language (and me perhaps) that I took so long to realize that Donald Trump’s “America First” slogan, which I found off-putting from the start, consists of the same words as the name of the pre-World War II organization I’ve respected for decades.

The same phrase coming from Trump and John T. Flynn, author of the must-read anti-fascist work As We Go Marching, has two different meanings for me, as though the very words were different.

I think I know why. The America First Committee (AFC) had a single, admirable objective: to keep the United States out of another European war in light of the disastrous consequences – foreign and domestic – of Woodrow Wilson’s entry into the Great War in 1917. (See my condensed history of the committee here.) Its many members and supporters would have agreed on little else, considering that they included Socialist Party leader Norman Thomas, future presidents Gerald Ford and John F. Kennedy, future Kennedy in-law and Peace Corps head Sargent Shriver, future Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart, Sears, Roebuck Chairman Gen. Robert E. Wood, and individualist muckraking journalist Flynn. It had 800,000 dues payers.

America First has been unfairly maligned through the years, mostly because its national spokesman, famed aviator Charles Lindbergh, gave a speech in which he said U.S. entry into the war was being urged primarily by Britons and Jews. (On its face that’s neither an anti-British nor anti-Semitic statement.) However, after declaring that the AFC would “bring together all Americans, regardless of possible differences on other matters, who see eye-to-eye on these principles,” it added parenthetically: “This does not include Nazis, Fascists, Communists, or members of other groups that place the interests of any other nation above those of our own.” Ousted from the national committee were builder and American Olympic Association president Avery Brundage, who was suspected of having Nazi sympathies, and Henry Ford, who had written derogatorily about Jews. Indeed, Flynn, who headed the New York chapter, made it clear at large gathering at Madison Square Garden that anti-Semites and fascists should get the hell out of the hall. The crowd was so angry at the known fascist whom Flynn had singled out that the man needed police protection.

To continue reading: The Bogosity of Trump’s ‘America First’

 

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One response to “The Bogosity of Trump’s ‘America First,’ by Sheldon Richman

  1. There is no such word as “bogosity,” but it’s less cumbersome than bogusness, which is a word.
    Some people* would beg to differ.

    Seriously, though, I can accept – or at least entertain – the premise that Trump’s intentions are benign, but it’s painfully obvious that his personal intellectual and philosophical foundation is, to say it gently, less than robust.

    * Even including my very geriatric (and uncustomized) spell-checker – which didn’t recognize “bogusness”. 🙂

    Like

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