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Madeleine Albright warns of fascism in Denver book-tour stop

Author: Gabrielle Bryant - April 19, 2018 - Updated: April 26, 2018

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Former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright discusses her newest book, “Fascism: A Warning,”April 18, 2018, at Trinity United Methodist Church in Denver (Gabrielle Bryant, Colorado Politics)

Women, men and some children packed Denver’s oldest church Wednesday evening to hear former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright talk about her her new book, “Fascism: A Warning,” and her concerns about President Donald Trump.

Albright’s chat at Trinity United Methodist Church on Broadway downtown lasted around 25 minutes and briefly outlined the premise of book, discussing everything from her definition of fascism to the technology’s role in recent elections internationally and the 2016 election of Trump.

Albright, an immigrant from what is now the Czech Republic, spent her teen years in Denver while her father, Josef Korbel, taught political science and international relations at the University of Denver. She later interned at The Denver Post.

Under President Bill Clinton, Albright served as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations starting in 1993 and then as secretary of state from 1997 to 2001.

“One of the questions I answer in the book is, what went wrong? Why, almost 75 years after the deaths of Mussolini and Hitler, are we once again actually talking about fascism?” Albright said. She pointed to technology as a major separator of people, saying that although it has brought us closer together, it makes people want to “cling even more highly to their ethnic, cultural and religious identities.”

Albright has said that she does not consider Trump to be a fascist, but in an Atlantic interview this week, she called Trump “the least democratic president of modern history” because of his attacks on the press, his treatment of the judiciary and his talk of “us-versus-them” divisions.

She claims technology has indeed replaced many jobs, giving those impacted a reason to have someone to blame, which tends to be “outsiders.”

Albright also points to the rise of social media in that it allows us to instantaneously share our grievances with the world, “creating an opening for predatory political movements to circulate lies that undermine democratic institutions and that violate what we used to consider the boundaries of acceptable civic debate.”

She argued that this has resulted in more bigoted speech and the proliferation of “hate crimes, Islamophobia and anti-Semitism.”

Former U.S. Secretary Madeleine Albright stops in Denver for book tour. (Gabrielle Bryant, Colorado Politics)

Albright offered a five part solution:

  • Defend the truth,
  • Reinforce the doctrine that no one, including the president, is above the law,
  • Be an active participant in the Democratic process,
  • Listen respectfully to those with whom you disagree,
  • And take our cues from young people.

Most of her points were met with applause and the question-and-answer portion focused on inquiries about how young people and women could “find their voices” and be apart of the solution.

One attendee was escorted out after asking Albright about a 1996 “60 Minutes” interview in which she said the Clinton administration thought that the more than 500,000 children who died as a result of economic sanctions was “worth it.” Albright responded by reiterating that she’s since apologized for her remarks calling it a “mistake” and a “bad choice of words.”

The book signing and conversation was a Tattered Cover Bookstore production.

Gabrielle Bryant

Gabrielle Bryant

Gabrielle Bryant is a freelance journalist, host and Emmy Award-winning politics producer. You might recognize her TV work from "Colorado Inside Out" Friday nights on CPT12.