President-elect Donald Trump is bringing his post-election tour of gratitude to Hershey tonight, returning to the Giant Center six weeks after he was there for a last-minute push to win over Pennsylvania voters before Election Day.
Michael Vadon [CC BY-SA 4.0

Donald Trump’s Authoritarian Politics of Memory

In The Captive Mind, Czeslaw Milosz tells a story about a man who ventures out in the immediate aftermath of the fall of a regime. Papers full of state secrets lie in the streets, their knowledge less important for the moment than that of where to find something to eat. A little boy plays in a bombed-out street, whistling a song about the leader. “The song remains, but the leader of yesterday is already part of an extinct past.”

When authoritarians fall from power, even if they are secretly mourned, they must be publicly forgotten. Yet they remain as traces within the bodies of their people. The muscle memory to salute, to sing their songs, to fear their wrath, can be hard to shake. My years of studying Mussolini and his two-decade long regime have taught me not to underestimate the individual and collective work of disentanglement that comes with the ruler’s fall from power.   

Read the entire essay at The Atlantic

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pocket
Share on email
Share on print
This website uses first or third-party tools that store cookies on your device to allow the site to run properly and ensure you get the best experience on our website. Read our privacy policy.