Publication Date

October 30, 2020

Perspectives Section

Letters to the Editor

To the Editor:

James Grossman’s thoughtfully restrained comments regarding Trump administration rhetoric and interventions against public dissent (not to mention voting rights), written by his own account back in late July and printed in the September issue of Perspectives, are by now out of date. Having spent a lifetime working in journalism and academia, living in Italy and the United States, warning students and citizens not to use the “F” word “creeping into our political processes,” as Grossman rightly puts it, I’ve concluded that our current situation, with all its idiosyncrasies, is indeed like Weimar Germany. But unlike Germany, our imperfect exceptionalist democracy will have hopefully lasted much longer. I wonder when “proto-fascism” (as Roger Cohen has called Trumpism in the New York Times) becomes the real thing, and when speaking against these policies and tactics constitutes being labeled a “premature anti-fascist,” a term used after World War II against Lillian Hellman and others.

And of course, by the time this letter is printed in the November issue, this may too be out of date.

Ty Geltmaker
Los Angeles

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