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Melania’s Jacket

History does not move in straight lines in which former ideas and movements are echoed in later similar ideas and movements. That having been said, let me wade into the debate about the message emblazoned on back of the jacket First Lady Melania Trump wore on her recent trip to the Texas-Mexico border. Consciously or unconsciously, its sentiment,” I don’t care. Do you?” is a clear, virtually literal, and troubling echo of the Italian fascist slogan, “Me ne frego.” Politely translated as “I don’t care,” the motto was adopted by the Black Shirt shock troops of Mussolini’s fascist Italy. Adorning arm bands and uniforms to demonstrably proclaim indifference to social norms and exalt physical courage over intellectual thought, this slogan survives today in neo fascist movements around the world. It is surely familiar to members of President Trump’s inner circle of anti-immigrant and anti-elite advisors.

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