Fascism … yeah, it could happen

October 12, 2008 | By | 3 Replies More

Sure it could. The same way fascism always happens. Not imposed, all of a sudden, from above, like a boot on your neck in the dead of night. It grows and festers in dark corners of society, feeding off the irrational fears and resentments and feelings of entitlement of an angry minority and growing ever stronger, with noone noticing it, until it bursts into pungent & infectious & malignant life, strangling its host. Fascism grows from the ground up and keeps growing uncontrolled until it stops – or is stopped.

Tim Wise at Redroom has written an eloquent and timely call-to-arms entitled “This Is How Fascism Comes: Reflections On The Cost Of Silence.

Before you read the whole thing, I present some snacks to whet the appetite:

If fascism comes it will dress like a hockey mom, or a NASCAR dad. It will believe Toby Keith to be an artist, Larry the Cable Guy to be a comic, and that the world was made in six literal days less than 6000 years ago.

If fascism comes it will come from the small towns; the ones Sarah Palin, quoting a famous racist and Jew-hater, said “grow good people,” and which occasionally do, but which, just as often grow provincial, isolated, fearful and superstitious ones. 

If fascism comes it will come from faux populism, from anti-immigrant hysteria, from persons who have more guns in their homes than books, or whose books, when they have them, are principally volumes of the Left Behind series, several different copies of the Bible, and a plethora of romance novels.

My favourite:

…democracy isn’t what you have, it’s what you do.

Mr Wise makes a bunch of good points and what I think people need to realise is this: while it’s clear as day that McCain is a flip-flopping, flat-out dishonest & unashamedly cynical manipulator and Palin is dangerously underqualified and undereducated, they have successfully mobilised the support of a huge number of people and have a decent chance of winning the election. Comments & interjections on video from recent GOP rallies, calling Obama “terrorist”, “traitor”, “muslim”, “Arab” (the last two clearly meant in as derogatory a manner as the old McCarthyist standby, “Communist”) speak volumes about exactly who liberals have to contend with. Not just regular people with whom you may share political differences, this new breed of radical, closet (or not) racist Republican carries a Bible & bullets to back it up. They don’t just disagree with you, they want you deported or silenced. You may think they’re just a noisy minority, the 25% that currently approves of George W Bush. You may think they’re just a bunch of kooks! You might be right, but think about the 2000 and 2004 elections. Accusations of Diebolding aside, both elections were close enough that, even if such dodgy Diebolding was indeed carried out, it only took a little shove (and a stacked Supreme Court) to get the GOP over the line. This time around, Democrats have to make it impossible for anything but a massive, obvious TILT of the electoral pinball machine to clinch it for the other side.

Please do yourselves and the entire world a favour, all you intelligent, thoughtful Americans, be you liberal, conservative, religious, atheist, whatever: don’t just vote for change. Be the change. This planet depends on you. It’s not just America that can’t handle four or eight more years of “compassionate conservatives” pandering to theocrats and their medieval “God first & no questions” morality while they scoff themselves silly at the public trough. The world has suffered since 2001through two illegal, unnecessary & reprehensible wars & the subsequent widening of the terrorists’ scope. Iraq & Afghanistan of course have suffered worse from terror (local and imposed externally by Coalition forces) than all but also Madrid, Bali & London have felt the sting of extremist anti-Western violence. People from all over the world continue to rot in US prisons, designated “enemy combatants” but charged with nothing. The world suffers even now, as the Wall Street incompetence & greed-inspired recession makes its shockwaves felt globally. Eight years of a redux of Reagan’s “trickle-down” economics, accompanied by offshoring of staggering amounts of jobs and unprecedented greed & corruption have culminated in people across the world, not just the USA,  being unsure of the security their hard-won savings, superannuation, investments and even their very livelihoods.

Old wounds with Russia & Iran have been re-opened by straight-talkin’, wide-legged cowboy rhetoric & open threats. Iraq festers (except for that shining beacon, the multi-billion dollar fortified citadel known as the Green Zone) and continues to provide more recruits to the bin Laden cause than the big O himself could ever have drummed up in the mountains of Afghanistan, which itself is collapsing, unnoticed by most of the world, back into a poppy-fuelled Taliban-warlord showdown.

Extremists from the worlds of Islam & Christianity increasingly believe a showdown is coming and some enthusiastically welcome it. One such person wishes to be Vice President of the United States. Many of these people believe the upcoming showdown is more than just flipping a switch to choose a leader for their country who wears a Red or Blue badge: it’s the beginning of a battle for hearts, minds and peoples’ very souls. Christian Extremists in America, yearning to bring about biblical End Times, wish to impose their own Taliban and wage their own jihads against those they hold responsible for the countries’ woes: gays, atheists, liberals, pro-choice proponents, Darwinists (whatever they are), all the while ignoring that it’s their very own ballots & ignorance that have landed America where it is. The sad thing is, they have a good chance so long as liberals continue to take it whilst politely lying down. America needs more pissed-off liberals to get up and take these blinded ignorant bastards to task.

The political game has been changed in the last eight years – by the Republicans and their pandering to extremists & lobby groups, their media monopoly & their underhanded, underworld Rovian tactics. Democrats & liberals in general need to respond appropriately – not by sinking to the same despicable levels but by simply growing a pair. By standing up to the bible bullies & liars for Jesus and taking down their lies & their standard-bearers one by one. By not just getting mad, but by getting busy. The old sporting cliche goes “Well, they won it because they wanted it more”. Well, right now, the Christian extremists want it more. Which is a bit of a worry.

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Category: Current Events, Economy, Good and Evil, ignorance, Iraq, Politics, Religion, War

About the Author ()

Hank was born of bird-watching bushwalking music-loving parents from whom he gained his love of nature, the universe & bicycles. Today he's a musician, non-profit aid worker, beagle keeper and fair & balanced internet commentator - but that just means he has a chip on each shoulder.

Comments (3)

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  1. Erich Vieth says:

    These are desperate times, because a mere victory in November will only mean gridlock. There needs to be a landslide to allow us to do the work of preparing this country for the next 100 years.

    Hank: Your eloquent post reminds me that this is, indeed, a fight. A fight for minds. But it’s not a fight in the way that many ultra-conservatives envision fights. It’s not about manipulating information and threatening people with hell, torture, spite, or deportation if they don’t believe “proper” things. It’s about believing in people, and trusting that if they have access to accurate information, most of them will tend to do the right thing.

    The Neocons STILL have so many people hyper-worried about national security and convinced that McCain-Palin are prepared to do what’s necessary. This is such BS, and here’s why: the Republican right wing program for national security has made us LESS secure. Consider this list of myths concerning national security. Progressive Americans need to talk to their Republican-leaning friends about these myths, one by one.

    How do we get the job done? Do we stand on a soapbox and yell? Only if that’s your style. But all of us need to have the courage to broach the topic of our country’s long-term future with individuals and small groups, one-by-one. Gently but firmly make sure that your neighbors, co-workers and acquaintances are aware of the sorts of things that we’ve been discussing about McCain-Palin.

    There is a traditional story about a person who complains “I can’t help 1,000,000 people. I can’t even help 1,000 or 100.” The second person responds: “Start by helping one person. Just one.” Really, if we each start by walking up to a neighbor and discussing these important issues, we can do so with the assurance that millions of others are doing the same (I’ve seen massive voter canvassing and voter information drives throughout the city of St. Louis, where I live). You don’t have to be part of a formal organization to spread the word. Tell people what George W. Bush has done to our country, our economy, our reputation and our Constitution. Encourage them to look beyond their local newspapers and their local television “news” (where 70% of people still get almost all of their information).

    The minute you have the courage to express your concerns to another person, you are part of a movement that cares deeply about the world we are leaving to our children and our children’s children. Don’t be intimidated by the Republican barking machine. Yes, you’ll have to have some patience to listen to that pre-packaged anger; it will all spill out, but then you’ll have your chance to ask a few good questions that will plant fast sprouting seeds. You will have the chance to tell Republican-leaning people that they need to have the courage to listen to a few alternative news sites to see the major concerns that exist regarding incompetency, dishonesty and dangerous tendencies McCain-Palin.

    Is Obama the perfect answer? Absolutely not. He’s a start, though. At least he won’t be doing things like plunging us into another needless war or driving us into debt to hand more tax breaks to the top 1% of wealthiest Americans. He’s a smart guy, smart enough to know what he doesn’t know—that’s why he surrounds himself with other smart people. The most important thing we can do now is to stop doing further damage to the U.S.A.

    I’ll close with a quote often attributed to Sinclair Lewis: “When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross."

  2. Hank says:

    Landslide – that's the word I was thinking of, thanks 🙂 Absolutely what's required. Not just a win for the Dems, but a crushing for the GOP and a slap in the face for the dangerously ignorant & treasonous fundie bigots they've been courting since '99. The 2006 Congressional elections sent a message, now it's time to back that up with a boot in the arse.

    I think your assessment of Obama's pretty spot-on. The smartest people always know their limits and choose people to complement & supplement their knowledge. They also choose people who'll disagree with them, point out flaws in their reasoning and give them perspective.

    The current boob in the Whitehouse knows nothing (and more than likely doesn't care) and is surrounded by people who tell him what they want him to know. Four more years of that would see that lovely country of yours sink further into a swamp it'd take decades to get out of. It's going to take long enough as it is to fix eight years' economic & diplomatic damage. Worst of all, regardless of McCain's health, Palin will always be the next in line and will inevitably fill in for him – can you imagine her talking to foreign leaders about … anything? If that doesn't make peoples' skin crawl they haven't been watching the non-Fox news – or they don't actually care that she's a complete joke. Which makes MY skin crawl. Whence this "Joe Sixpack" worship? Joe Sixpack is the bloke that reads my gas meter and he's a cool guy, but he's not the guy I want in charge of billions of dollars, millions of lives and thousands of warheads. The one thing I can't fathom about the US is the rabid anti-intellectualism. When exactly did intelligence & eloquence – "book smarts" – become worthy of such hateful scorn?

    There's a bit of "tall poppy" syndrome in Oz, where we seem to like hacking at hugely successful people, but I think that stems more from our intense dislike of conceit and pride more than anything. The old "pull your head in" mantra mixed with our historic refusal to just trust someone because they're in authority. We still seem to vote with our brains – and not those parts which govern who we'd have a pint with (because we'll have a pint with anyone). Last time we had a politician enter the federal arena with a supposed mandate from Betty Broomfluff & Bruce Beergut & carrying a sack of ignorant racist garbage (google Pauline Hanson), she was laughed off the political stage! In the US she's been offered the second-top job! Sheesh. We certainly like our salts-of-the-earth Down Here, but none of us want to leave the Village Idiot in charge of the bloody cash-drawer & the guns. I didn't vote for the last guy (Howard: pro-war, anti-refugee, anti-labour, hugely pro-big money, basically inert on gay rights, environment & Aborigines) but, to give him credit where it's due, he wasn't a complete idiot, played the game intelligently (he was in for a decade+) and he balanced the books. Not enough for me, but it was the one thing he did well.

    Here's hoping, audaciously, for a change the entire planet can freakin' believe in. Barry O isn't perfect, but he's the polar opposite of McBush & Caribou Barbie and that, in my humble opinion, is what's required.

  3. Niklaus Pfirsig says:

    Singer/songwriter John Fogerty, has a recent song titled "Gunslinger" in which he portrays the state of the nation as the town in an old western novel of movie, with the outlaws running the town through intimidation. He suggests we need "Someone tough to tame this town" and "there'll be justice all around"

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