Party Like It's 1939?
Smart And Spicy
August 24, 2017
The real danger:
Could Fascism replace our democracy?
Are we heading to a second Civil War?
Are we moving toward nuclear war?
Who thought fascism and a Civil War redux would rise again? In the U.S.? At the same time?
It's psychological warfare: gutting the EPA, health care, climate change (July 2017 was the hottest July in 137 years of record-keeping (NASA).
Fascists oppose democracy and want totalitarianism; Mussolini and Hitler were heroes.
It can't happen here. Right?
Slippery slope. Authoritarianism: no constitution, strong central power, limited political freedoms.
Fascism: a dictator, ruling by suppressing opposition while controlling business/industry.
In Italy, fascists gained power by violence and intimidation, with an aggressive foreign policy and a "Ministry of Corporations;" Hitler admired fascists.
What do neo-Nazis, white supremacists, white nationalists, racists and Ku Klux Klan members have in common?
They're the "alt-right," a new label for these groups.
"Antifa" (pronounced ON-ti-fa), short for anti-fascists, opposed fascism in Italy, Germany, and Franco's Spain.
"Most people have an all-or-nothing understanding of fascism that prevents them from taking fascists seriously until they seize power," says Mark Bray ("Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook".)
Donald Trump insists the enemy's the press, flouting the first amendment. He took two days to call out white supremacists in Charlottesville, but only one hour to attack Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier, who quit Trump's American Manufacturing Council in protest.
The press is not the enemy.
Perhaps Trump's alt-right policy advisors Bannon, Gorka, and Miller are the "good people" Trump sees on the alt-ride "side."
Dividing us into "sides" is Trump's theme song; his campaign's playlist was "Us versus Them."
Drive that wedge,
Donald.The ACLU defended neo-Nazis in Skokie, Illinois, supporting free speech rights in 1978. Who's sorry now?
Is 2017's version, showing up with fire torches, guns, ammunition, tear gas, still free speech?
What would it take for you - yes, *you* - to physically attack people taking away your rights?
"Do you do it after someone has died? They just did. Do you do it after a dozen people have died? Once they're at the footsteps of power? At what point do you say, 'Enough is enough?'" questions Bray.
1939 - While fascism grew, Americans saw "Gone With The Wind," with its Southern Civil War setting. With the recrudescence of neo-Nazis, is a second Civil War coming? "The radical right was more successful in entering the political mainstream last year than in half a century." The Southern Poverty Law Center credits Donald Trump for the surge in right-wing populism.
"Trump’s run for office electrified the radical right, which saw in him a champion of the idea that America is fundamentally a white man’s country.
"The 2016 presidential election polarized Americans; Donald Trump campaigned on divisions. In 2015, 72% of Americans had no college degree. Of those completing college, 44% have mostly liberal values. Of the majority of adults with no college degree, far fewer express liberal opinions (Pew Research Center).
Let's get those private school-for-profit vouchers going, by all means. Do you hear that, Betsy DeVos? The more people can't afford education, the less money going to public schools, the more uneducated people, the less ability to think critically. It's conducive to Trump's goals; it's a pattern.
Some Americans just can't quit prejudice. A Southern friend emailed, during Obama's candidacy, "Can you imagine pickaninnies playing in the Rose Garden?" I was horrified.
It's just a hop, skip and jump to Charlottesville. What's up with these statues, anyway? Is there room for hate in the U.S.?
The UN Secretary General compared Nazi violence to Charlottesville: "There's no place in our societies for the violent racism, anti-Semitism, xenophobia, and discrimination that we've seen in Charlottesville, Va."
"He was obsessed with Hitler," said the mother of James Fields, accused of driving the car that killed Heather Heyer in Charlottesville, "Make America Great Again" Really adog whistle to alt-right people, yet that genie's never going back in the box.
This weekend, why are extremist groups planning protests? Because Google fired the engineer who emailed colleagues that women were biologically inferior. Now he's a far-right hero.
The news is unbelievable. The Boston Holocaust Museum was vandalized; Abe Lincoln's statue covered in red graffiti.
Former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio was convicted of criminal contempt for defying a court order to stop deputies from racial profiling, then detaining people; President Trump called him "a great American patriot" and is considering pardoning him.
How to make sense of this? "When I look at confederate statues, I look at the entirety of American history," said Takiyah Thompson, who took down a confederate monument in Durham, NC.
"The statue is a symbol of nationalism, and white nationalism. Anything that gives pride to these people needs to be crushed, in the same way they want to crush black people and the other groups that they target."
"We can't continue to glorify a war fought in the defense of slavery," said N. Carolina Governor Roy Cooper. "These monuments should come down.
"The Civil War wasn't fought over states' rights - it was fought to defend slavery," he added.
"I am a descendant of the people for whom this flag represented enslavement," said Bree Newsome, who removed a confederate flag from S. Carolina's statehouse, after Dylann Roof shot 9 people in a church bible study.
"Donald Trump's whole rise to political power has been a racist reaction to Barack Obama," she added. Civil War? It's settled. Done. Dealt with. President Trump? He tweeted a cartoon of a train marked "Trump Train" killing a man labeled "CNN."
Echoes of the car crashing into Heather Heyer?
This schoolyard bully has got to stop empowering neo-Nazis and white supremacists.
"He has no place in the White House," suggested Stephen Colbert.
Can it get much worse?
Sure it can.
North Korea reacts.
The EPA is dissolved.
Trump declares himself reelected and passes supporting laws; feckless Congress votes for it.
Democrats continue to ignore the most popular politician in the country so they lose congressional elections – again – next year.
"A lot more people are going to die before we're done here, frankly," bragged Christopher Cantwell, a white supremacist. Charlottesville? "The amount of restraint our people showed out there was astounding."
Trump's serious threats to North Korea and Venezuela threaten us all. Nobody wants to play nuclear chicken.
"The Dis-United States of America." That's what my British friend M. wanted me to call this column. He asked what's happening to our beautiful country.
Maybe we'll wake up and everything will be okay, like one of those old "Twilight Zone" episodes. The deep state and things going on behind the curtain will just go away.
"People did not take fascism and Nazism seriously until it was too late," warns Mark Bray.
Carole Bell is a writer interested in everything. You can write to her at: firstname.lastname@example.org