To the Tea Party and Republicans:
The violence you seek to dismiss as “random” is anything but. Please consider the possibility that you are supporting a genuinely fascist movement, ascendant in America since at least 9/11.
Please understand that I’m not trying to insult you; both Republicans and Democrats have led us to this frightening place (Republicans with their demagoguery; and Democrats with their cowardice).
Besides which, the term “fascism” should never be used as a bludgeon, simply to silence those with whom we disagree. It has a specific meaning derived from its historical context: Italy under Mussolini; Germany under Hitler; Spain under Franco. Those regimes were distinguished by the following characteristics:— Aggressive nationalism, waging foreign wars and aggression; — Populism based on identity politics, demonizing minorities (based on race, religion, sexuality); — Hostility toward liberalism, communism, labor unions, artists, and intellectuals; — Corporatism that merges the interests of the state with those of big business; — The culture of victimhood, stoking xenophobia and resentment in the majority; — Acceptance of state violence, including torture and executions; and — Intolerance of dissenting views — the end of civil discourse.
Many of us have understood for years that America is devolving into a fascist state (Naomi Wolf has written an excellent book on the subject).
We watched in horror as George W. Bush embraced the methods and rhetoric of fascism, from his political purges at the Justice Department and expert manipulation of the media, all the way down to his employment of the Nazi’s preferred euphemism, “enhanced interrogation techniques,” to refer to institutionalized TORTURE.
Obama has simply continued the Bush policies. A corporatist lackey like his predecessor, he could not be further from a “Leftist” or “Socialist” — and the people who routinely label him such are simply demonizing him to push him even further to the right.
Such pundits and politicians are not your advocates. Posturing aside, they demonstrate nothing but contempt for the Constitution, habeas corpus, civil rights, and America’s traditional values.
They constantly tell us WHO TO BLAME for the damage wrought to our economy and society, and HOW THREATENED our traditions and values are…
They blame immigrants, gays, progressives, minorities, intellectuals (anyone but the true power elite: the mega-banks and speculators who plundered the world’s economy; oil companies that prop up dictators and extremists like the House of Saud; health-related industries with their actual death panels; telecommunications giants that marginalize dissent out of existence; the military-industrial complex that makes America hated and feared in the world; and so on.
Raised in Arizona, I consider myself a socially-liberal conservative with libertarian tendencies. PLEASE trust me that I have labored long and hard, putting facts before ideology, to understand the forces that are threatening our future.
It isn’t “Liberalism” that’s destroying America (NIXON was more liberal than Obama). It is the 30-year assault on the middle class and the massive transfer of wealth to the top 1%, led by “free-trading” outsourcers (slavers) and faux-conservatives in both political parties, stripping away the regulations that once protected Capitalism and helped our markets run smoothly.
No self-respecting American should even consider voting for an establishment Republican or Democrat in this environment.
The dogs of fascism (using Orwell’s metaphor), railing against “the other” and inciting hate and fear — “birther” conspiracies and “death panel” foolishness — are America’s REAL enemies. They use the language of violent revolt and draw rifle-sights over their political opponents, urging us to hate and distrust our neighbors (“divide and conquer” is their mantra).
Like my father the veteran (and dozens of other old-school conservatives I respect) most center-right Americans are better than these creeps. They should not buy into their cheap, ugly worldview (for there is no “War on Christmas”). These fearmongers are our enemies — not the “straw man” liberals they invent. They would incite us to turn this great country into an anarchic state where political violence is common and free discourse is nonexistent.
If we don’t resist them, they will continue to steal elections (Florida 2000 and Ohio 2004); intimidate open debate (town halls in 2010); drain our national wealth (forests, oceans, mountains, and lakes); and squelch competition and the free market (subsidizing corporate giants at the expense of small businesses).
I beg you to consider alternative views. Read Thomas Franks’ What’s the Matter with Kansas?, Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine, or Noam Chomsky’s Hegemony or Survival. Listen to Amy Goodman’s DemocracyNow! It turns out that the marginalized folks have gotten it right for years — on WMD lies, Wall Street bailouts, “free” trade pacts, cap & trade schemes, and more.
Stop passively accepting the cheap, seductive lies of the new “conservatives.” They are, quite simply, the proponents of a new American fascism, and we must stop them.