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An Essay: Yes, it can happen here.

August 31, 2010

Whatever your issue — environmental, economic, social justice, civil liberties, please take note; because if today’s neo-fascists gain we will lose on all fronts.

"Patriots" burning the Koran, a "gay flag" and a copy of Roe vs. Wade. Source: http://www.barf.org/#theanswerisno

One of many book burnings conducted by the Nazi's to stir the fires of hatred during the 1930's and 40's. Source: http://mediamatters.org/research/201006070053

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Neo-Fascist is a strong term. It’s probably not appropriate to many Tea Party followers, but it’s apt for those who fan the flames of intolerance and hatred. I use the term to describe a political movement that works to maximize the the power of corporate interests in government. It’s uses demagoguery, scape-goating all wrapped nicely in the flag of country carried on a cross. It’s main tool — the Big Lie (the so-called “Ground-Zero Mosque” which is neither) — tell it over and over again and it becomes “the truth.” Islam is the Devil, Obama is either a Muslim (rumor being fed by extremists) or a defective Christian (Glenn Beck).

This stuff works when people are fearful and angry, when millions are out of work. But it’s all a side show, the magician waving his kerchief while hiding the Ace. In reality the Republican Party (all but captured by the ultra-right) has nothing to offer most Americans. In fact just the opposite –they want to strip away the fundamentals of a healthy middle class. Funded increasingly by Big Energy and Big Finance billionaires, the goal is to give these elites complete freedom to pursue their greedy interests — even if it means bankrupting the our families and communities. To see who is bankrolling the Tea Party and the Glenn Becks see the recent NY-Times Op Ed by Frank Rich.

Consider the new attacks by Beck and others on what they call “collective salvation.” Wow. That sounds a lot like social security, Medicare, or perhaps labor unions. This agenda is like a wrecking ball. If we allow it the movement of Palin, Beck and Limbaugh will destroy the fundamental progress that has allowed the middle class to grow and thrive in America. And we progressives need to do a much better job in explaining the stakes.

They want to gut any environmental regulations that would interfere with the “natural rights” of  big energy companies to do their thing regardless of the consequences. “Starve the beast” even if it means shutting down the local fire house and laying off cops and teachers. (Isn’t that what gated communities and private schools are for?)

I would guess that many Tea Party followers don’t know the hidden agenda — to promote a nation in which a wealthy elite is free to be greedy — without interference (regulations) but with the encouragement (huge, hidden subsidies) from government. (See Jim Hightower article as well).

The anti-Islamic wave being fanned by the ultra-right does a great deal of damage. As a young Jewish boy growing up in New Jersey in the 1950’s, I remember how painful it was to hear that I was a “kike” or being told that I would go to Hell because I wasn’t a Christian. I can only wonder how Muslim kids today must feel when they are equated with terrorists. How will they feel on September 11th when they see news videos of cheering mobs burning a book they believe to be sacred. Now we learn from General Petraeus and Secretary of Defense Gates that the burning will hurt our causes in the Islamic world and put or soldiers in harms way.

This is not the America of our founders whom embodied the freedom of religion and strict separation of church and state into the Constitution. There is a plaque in front of  one of the oldest synagogues in the nation, Congregation Mickve Israel in Savannah, Georgia that filled my heart with joy. It displays a copy of a letter from our first President George Washington welcoming the Jews to America. Here is the letter’s last paragraph:

“May the same wonder-working Deity, who long since delivered the Hebrews from their Egyptian oppressors, and planted them in the promised land, whose providential agency has lately been conspicuous in establishing these United States as an independent nation, still continue to water them with the dews of Heaven, and to make the inhabitants of every denomination participate in the temporal and spiritual blessings of that people whose God is Jehovah.” To see the letter in its entirety click here.

Mickve Israel in Savannah, Georgia: Source: http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/vjw/Savannah.html


Today I called and emailed the White House: I asked that the President make a major speech reminding America about the real values on which our nation was founded. Perhaps he can follow President Washington’s lead and write a letter formally welcoming our Muslim citizens to our own promised land.

I hope that you’ll urge the President to speak to the nation.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. August 31, 2010 9:18 pm

    I was appalled when you mentioned on my blog about this.. Hate is an easy distraction to keep the discontent from questioning the real cause and a method that has been used as long of society has existed. At least there are people, like yourself, who will not let such blindness permeate around them.

  2. August 31, 2010 6:47 pm

    I wouldn’t even bother to call them neo-fascists: See
    http://www.ratical.org/ratville/CAH/fasci14chars.html

    I missed that you were Jewish on my first read, but even Glenn Beck should be afraid if there is a theocracy since “true christians” see his Mormonism as a cult. The fact that Beck can spout such drivel given the Mormon church’s history of persecution makes me wonder where he is really coming from:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-Mormonism

    Stop by my blog as it is nice to see someone else with similar opinions (although I am ger toshav).

    or as I like to say: “No, I’m Scottish, but the jokes are pretty much the same.”

    • Henry S. Cole, Ph.D. permalink*
      August 31, 2010 7:07 pm

      Thanks for your input. The website listed by “Lacithedog”

      http://www.ratical.org/ratville/CAH/fasci14chars.html
      mentioned gives a pretty good list of the traits of fascism; I agree with most of the points.

      If you are wondering what “ger toshav” it means a “righteous gentile” one well appreciated and often protected by the Jews historically. For more do a Google search. Interesting stuff.

      Lacithedog’website is:

      http://lacithedog.wordpress.com/

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