I confess to having used terms such as democracy, socialism, communism, and fascism without clearly understanding what they meant. Per Merriam-Webster, Fascism is “A political philosophy, movement, or regime … that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition.” In Fascism: A Warning Madeleine Albright observes that “A Fascist is someone who claims to speak for a whole nation or group, is utterly unconcerned with the rights of others, and is willing to use violence and whatever other means are necessary to achieve the goals he or she might have.” Albright then describes historical Fascists—Mussolini, Hitler, and Franco—and more recent examples of their ilk—Milošević, Chávez, Erdoğan, and Kim Il-sung to illustrate her definition. In the final chapters of her book, Albright takes Donald Trump to task for casting a shadow over American democracy with his embrace of violence, disregard for the truth, lack of integrity, and vilification of the press. What to do? Albright encourages us to defend freedom, to ask the right questions of our leaders and ourselves, and to refuse to ignore answers that are inconsistent with our ideals of American democracy.

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