CHAPEL HILL, NC—Responding to concern about the Trump administration accusing hundreds of Hispanic people living near the U.S.–Mexico border of having fraudulent birth certificates and revoking their passports, political scientists reassured Americans Thursday that stripping minority groups of their citizenship is usually where the descent into fascism peters out. “I know people might be worried that a targeted effort by a country’s leaders to erode the civil liberties and question the citizenship of a specific minority group is some ominous sign of even worse things to come, but in nearly all cases, this actually represents the low-water mark for fascism,” said Brian Snelling, professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, echoing the sentiments of political scientists around the country in explaining that the Trump administration’s accelerating use of white supremacist beliefs, discrimination, and violence to guide policy-making was actually a sure sign that egalitarian democracy was just around the corner. “This is a classic historical trend—an increasingly authoritarian ruler repeatedly demonizes a minority group with false accusations, increases the illegal imprisonment and deportation of members of that minority group who don’t have proper documentation in an effort to get people accustomed to the idea that something about this minority group is inherently criminal, starts essentially just questioning those minorities’ rights to exist at all, and then everything goes back to normal in six months or so. In virtually every fascist regime throughout history, the creation of detention centers for a minority group is simply the first sign that those detention centers are about to go away. So we urge you not to judge the Trump administration for denying citizens passports based on race, as that’s the sign that fascism is about to come to an end.” Political scientists also reassured Americans that since a country’s descent into fascism virtually always just goes away on its own, there was absolutely no need for anyone to do anything.
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