Billboard Depicting Dumb Führer As Greedy Warmonger Is Why Democracy Needs Art

Like all fascist movements, today’s Republicans purport to be about “free speech” when idiots like Milo Yiannopoulos are regurgitating racist lies.  “Speech” that holds a mirror in front of them, daring them to see themselves for what they truly are… well… that’s “speech” they don’t like.   Now, they’re attacking artist Karen Fiorito‘s billboard in Arizona, depicting Dumb Führer flanked by Swastika-like dollar symbols and mushroom cloud explosions.  The billboard’s back side depicts five diverse fists forming sign language letters for the word “unity” – and that’s something they can’t have that either.


According to AZ Central, “Fiorito first shared the billboard on her Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. She added the hashtag #TheResistance in a tweet, referencing anti-Trump sentiment on social media.

‘So this happened today. Still awaiting the backlash, death threats and the like,’ Fiorito said on her Facebook page, Buddha Cat Press.”


In an NBC 12 News  interview, the artist said, “‘I think a lot of people are feeling this way and I’m just trying to express what I think is on a lot of people’s minds these days.” Something that really concerned us was this idea of a dictatorship where things were going in a certain direction.’

But look closely at the mushroom clouds and you’ll see clown faces. There’s a Russian flag on Trump’s lapel.

‘I tried to put a little bit of humor in things that are really dark and hard to take,’ Fiorito said.

The billboard art was commissioned by the billboard owner, Beatrice Moore, a longtime patron of the arts on Grand Avenue.

‘Some of these issues are so important you can’t not speak out,’ Moore said in an interview.


…Moore and Fiorito do expect blowback from Trump supporters.

‘I just hope that everyone involved in helping bring this message out is safe and that we all get through this unharmed,’ Fiorito said.

Of course, Trumpanzees are already losing their minds.  The so-called “Capitalist Right” are cheering that the artist used their official symbol on the billboard, as if that’s some kind of victory for them.

Others, like this one, who describes herself as a “Christian,” proclaim to be happy because the billboard will “scare foreigners.”  Clearly missing the point of both the Bible and the nation she pretends to love.

Like all fascists, today’s Republicans think art should function as a propaganda arm propping up the authoritarian who they hope will trickle upon them.  That is, if they’re good little useful idiots and promptly respond their cues to cheer their own demise.

Though this billboard is privately funded, pieces – like Fiorito’s – that challenge Trump’s dupes to awake from their stupor are why the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) are in the crosshairs Trump and Bannon’s “deconstruction of the administrative state.”

As if we needed more wake up calls from history, let’s not forget that Weimar Germany was a hub of experimental and controversial art such as dada, expressionism and cubism.  Unsurprisingly, in Mein Kampf, Hitler attacked modern art as “the sick production of crazy people. Pity the people who are no longer able to control this sickness.”   It’s not an accident that Trump and the Republican fascists are now coming for the NEA, NEH and the CPB.

An article from The Hill written by Trump cheerleader Romina Boccia of the Heritage Foundation proclaims,  “Taxpayers should not be forced to pay for plays, paintings, pageants, and scholarly journals, regardless of the works’ attraction or merit. In the words of Citizens Against Government Waste, “actors, artists, and academics are no more deserving of subsidies than their counterparts in other fields; the federal government should refrain from funding all of them.”

Yes, but “taxpayers” should be “forced” to pay for more tax giveaways to Trump and his oligarchs and weapons of mass destruction that benefit no one while threatening life on Earth.

The right wing attack on art and its public financing are nothing nothing less than an attack on liberal democracy itself.  Which is exactly why Putin and his pals helped put their puppet in the Oval Office.  A functioning, liberal democracy can only survive with public campaign financing and progressive taxation that cultivates society from the ground up.  Freedom and democracy are never trickled down from the top.  As for financing, while Karen Fiorito was fortunate enough to find a patron, a society where art is produced only by the graces of wealthy is the type of society our founders fought a revolution to escape.  The point of this “America-thingie” is we’re all patrons.  Liberty and democracy can handle the criticism.  In fact, it can’t live without it.  Despite what Trump and the fascist Republicans say, there’s also plenty of money for more than just the war machine.  It’s just funneled to the top.  The oligarchs who hoard it don’t want liberal democracy getting in the way of their treating Mother Earth like an exploitable resource and her inhabitants as nothing but cannon fodder and/or hosts from which to suck profit and discard.

Of course, what these incipient fascist don’t seem to “get” is that the purpose of art is not just to recreate aesthetically pleasing images to distract red hat-wearing dupes from the fact that the unpopularly-elected autocrat they cheer is now trying to strip them of health care.  It is to make us think and, ultimately, help us progress in the direction of “justice and liberality,” as George Washington himself hoped.

As I wrote in an earlier post.  “Dear Trump Supporters, you ‘movement’ is called FASCISM.”  Anyone with a grasp on history and reality sees it.   I’m sure, back in the 1939, when the 22,000 American Nazis rallied for “True Americanism” at Madison Square Garden, they believed they we just doing their part to “make America great.”  In hindsight, we look back at them with the same derision that will one day be bestowed upon Trump supporters.

What today’s Trump supporters seem unwilling to accept is that, in this story, they are the Nazi villains and the heroes are all those who resist.  Keep up the great work, Ms. Fiorito.

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