Donald Trump Gains Overtly Fascist Lion Guard Militia
A Warning To All Anti-Trump Protesters: The Lion Guard Is Watching You And Is Likely To Become Violent
“Better to live a day as a lion than 100 years as a sheep.” — Benito Mussolini
“Better to be a lion for a day than a lamb for eternity.” — Trump Lion Guard
I admit that when I started writing the book Donald Trump and Adolf Hitler: Making A Serious Comparison, I felt a bit sheepish about the subject. It was already clear that parallels between Hitler and Trump were going to play a significant role in the 2016 presidential election, and I wanted to provide some mature perspective on the matter, beyond the simple taunts being traded on Twitter.
My goal in writing the book was to highlight both similarities and differences between Trump and Hitler, but I was aware of Godwin’s Law, a vague collection of standards for political speech generally holding that comparisons between Adolf Hitler and present-day politicians are socially unacceptable. I had no idea that, within a couple of weeks after the release of the book, Donald Trump would invite America’s top white supremacist radio show host to interview his son, that the American Nazi Party would endorse Trump for President, or that Trump supporters would begin to pose for cameras while giving the Nazi salute and shouting things like “Go to Auschwitz!”, leading to violence in the streets around Trump rallies. It’s all happened so quickly…
…and now this. On Monday, March 15, a group calling itself the Lion Guard has launched a web site, seeking to organize supporters of Donald Trump into a militia to counter protests at Trump rallies. The group claims to be “dedicated to the safety and security of Trump supporters,” but has also declared itself willing to use violence, “willing to forcefully protect” Donald Trump from people it perceives to be threats.
Over the weekend, the Lion Guard organized a Twitter account, which quickly gained over 500 followers, but then shut down in under 24 hours. This led many to believe that the Lion Guard was defunct. Attention to the militia faded, but it soon popped up again at a different Twitter account, and now is organizing through its own web site, at LionsOfTrump [.net].
The first question that comes to mind is why the militia calls itself the Lion Guard or the Lions of Trump. What’s up with the lion?
Actually, lion imagery is found throughout imagery used by Trump supporters, in bumper stickers, on tshirts, and on campaign buttons, as well as on graphics online. It’s not an accident that the Lion Guard chose that name for itself, or that it chose to create an image of a lion as its icon and as the header for its web site.
The reason Trump supporters use the lion in their materials is revealed in the main image from the Lion Guard web site, the image you see at the top of the article. The image of a lion is accompanied by the motto, “Better to be a lion for a day than a lamb for eternity.”
That motto is almost a word-for-word translation of a favorite saying of Italian Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini, who said, “It is better to live a day as a lion than 100 years as a sheep.” Is it a coincidence that the Lion Guard used this phrase in its call to form a militia for the “defense” of Donald Trump from protesters?
Sadly, no. Donald Trump himself has used that same Mussolini quote to promote his campaign. Trump refused to distance himself from Mussolini’s words, and told reporters, when the public realized that Trump was citing a bit of Fascist ideology, “It’s a very good quote.”
It’s a very well constructed quote, but its content was terrible, leading to death, destruction and the loss of Freedom throughout Italy.
Donald Trump’s repetition of the Mussolini quote was big news, talked about by reporters, commentators, and American voters for days. Anybody who has followed the presidential campaign of Donald Trump — as the Lion Guard founders do — couldn’t have missed it. It’s just not plausible that the Lion Guard placed that same Fascist motto front and center on their web site by coincidence. It was a deliberate choice, to send a chilling message about the character of the militia being formed.
If there is any question that perhaps the lion isn’t really a symbol for fascism, consider this image from the British Fascist party in the 1920s. It features, front and center, a lion, and not a serene, peaceful, defending lion, but a snarling lion, ready to attack.
The imagery of the Trump Lion Guard is also associated with Nazi Germany, and with modern Nazi skinhead groups. One of the members of the Lion Guard, using the Twitter username Rhalitra and the white supremacist “anti-cuck” code word, appears to be at the core of the new organization, using a clean, side profile version of the group’s lion icon that has been seen nowhere else before.
Rhalitra also uses another form of the Lion Guard graphic, a black and white version of the graphic in the middle of a good deal of ornamentation, and the motto “God With Trump” on top. God with Trump sounds innocuous, until one realizes that a nearly identical design was worn by Nazis during World War II, with only one different word in the motto: Uns. The Nazi motto was Gott Mit Uns — God With Us.
Here, Rhalitra’s graphic is in the middle. On the left is a graphic used by present-day neoNazis. On the right is a lapel pin worn by the Nazis. The similarities cannot be accidental. The Lion Guard being designed by American who idolize both the Italian Fascists and the Nazis. If you squint, at the bottom of Rhalitra’s Nazi graphic you can just barely see the letters MAGA — standing for Make America Great Again.
Those who cheer the formation of the Lion Guard militia to “defend” Donald Trump should remember that Benito Mussolini rose to power on the strength of his own militia, a group that also claimed to be “defending” the Fascist leader from Socialist enemies. The militia, commonly known as the Blackshirts, but organized under the formal title of the Milizia Volontaria per la Sicurezza Nazionale, or Voluntary Militia for National Security, engaged in street fights against the followers of Mussolini’s opponents, terrorized journalists, and eventually carried out assassinations of labor union leaders and anti-Fascist political leaders. It’s frightening that the Lion Guard would choose to invoke this sinister tradition at its founding.
The problem isn’t just that Donald Trump admires the words of Benito Mussolini. It’s that Trump — and his supporters — admire the meaning behind the words. Mussolini’s point, one that Trump and his fans embrace, is that people must choose between being strong predators or weak prey, and that, given this choice, it is better to prey upon the weak than to allow oneself to become prey.
This is a fundamentally fascist concept, and one that is familiar to anyone who has spent any time paying attention to Donald Trump’s speeches. Trump is almost constantly talking about how how “strong” he is, and how “weak” his rivals are. He complains that other leaders have allowed the United States to become a nation of weak losers, while he will ensure that our country starts winning — that he will Make America Great Again.
Trump promises to show no mercy to his enemies. He promises to torture, to engage in mass executions, to lock up cultural minorities in prison or exile them, to “bomb the shit out them.”
Trump encourages this violent posture among his followers as well. He tells people at his rallies that he longs for the days when protesters were beaten up until they had to be taken away on stretchers by medics. He instructs his crowds to “Knock the crap out of them,” whenever they see a protester, and pledges that he will pay the legal fees of any of his supporters who is brought to trial on assault charges.
Trump’s trick is that he always denies afterwards that he has ever urged his followers to violence. Even though these words are caught on videotape, Trump tells reporters that he condemns violence and wants his followers to be peaceful.
The Lion Guard of Trump supporters plays the same trick. First, they say that they are “willing to forcefully protect” Donald Trump’s rallies from anti-Trump protesters, but then, the Lion Guard organizers insist that they will only be gathering information on protesters, so that they can be watched, and escorted out of rallies.
If I were an anti-Trump protester, I wouldn’t accept the assurances of the Lion Guard militia at its word. We’ve all seen what happens to protesters while they are being escorted out of Trump rallies.
Please, spread the word about the true nature of the Lion Guard, so that Americans can be prepared when they stand up to Donald Trump.