Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Creeping Fascism

Be honest now. Your country is literally a wreck, the incumbent regime is all but invisible outside the capital and has plenty of corruption problems to boot. The local thug squad (which the US Armed Forces was unable to eradicate) has threatened your life just for voting. Are you sure that under these conditions you'd be willing to travel to the polls to cast a vote that might not make any difference anyway? It could be worse than being an Afghan these days, but I don't see how it could be much worse.

Here's a "good news" problem most of us will never face. Usain Bolt, the Jamaican sprinter who set two world records in the World Championships just concluded has been awarded a section of the old Berlin Wall by the event's German hosts weighing almost three tons. The wall slab is already painted with Bolt's image on one side. But how do you get it safely back to Jamaica? I hope they can get it done without charging Bolt the extra air fare for checked luggage. Yikes!

For those who wish they had paid a little more attention in comparative government class, fascism is an economic/political system which closely allies the state and private industry in the services of totalitarian government from the right. In theory, it's the opposite of Comminism, which is supposed to put the workers in charge. But in practice, life is very un-fun under either system.
When fascists try to gain power, it is always through thugs and violence, frequently with those who are officially charged with maintaining order simply looking the other way. Everyone remembers the anti-war protests of the Vietnam era, but those don't fit this model because they opposed rather than promoted war, and the protesters almost always were on the receiving end of the violence. Sure it was disruptive, and often just wrong, but nowhere near fascism.
But this year's political rough stuff comes, I believe, from a very different place. It's not young, unarmed people leading the way. These folks are deeply angry, though it's hard to say just why, since most of them have health insurance under favorable terms. They flaunt their arms, when local laws allow their display, and racism is at their gatherings, often just below the surface. It's not by accident that these folks are almost totally white, members of a Party that has shrunk in influence and now without a leader willing to tell them to put their guns away and join in reasonable discussion.
The leaders, such as they are, are media vampires joined at the hip to private companies, their advertisers. There are the gun guys, still screaming that the 2nd Amendment is somehow under threat and those whose anti-government views connect back to various bigotries which never quite disappeared. They are not too interested in the next election, because their cynicism now leads to distrusting anyone in office. They're willing to shout down a member of Congress or display things that would ordinarily offend most people. They have confused things they can legally do without thinking if it should be done. The old GOP are silent, hoping to benefit where democracy's normal workings would favor the majority Democrats.
These are, I believe, scary people. They don't realize that it's silly to refer to the president as a racist, as Glenn Beck did recently. They scream that they will boycott the products of the companies which have withdrawn as Beck sponsors on FOX NEWS. They're pretty fuzzy on the meaning of fascism, but they are, I fear, taking us that way.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

not too long and not too political, but I am still a little confused about the meaning of fascism


1:38 PM  

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