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So Far: Fascism Lite

Photo by Billie Grace Ward | CC BY 2.0

Yes, Trump’s approval ratings are going up. That fact in itself is not all that surprising, but this trend points to a disastrous movement in the US toward an increasing level of fascism (“Trump’s approval rating just reached its highest point in a year,” Business Insider, May 14, 2018). And the race to take over control of Congress is not quite as rosy as it once looked (“2018 Generic Congressional Vote,” RealClearPolitics, May 20, 2018). It may well be that a smiling variety of fascism with lots of goods available online and in retail outlets (that will keep the masses happy and engaged) has already taken a substantial hold of the U.S. and any claim to democratic traditions in the U.S. have been lost forever.

We’re already on the road to the complete loss of both freedom and humanity. Communities of color have known this fact for a long time and the warehousing of masses of people of color in ghettoes and prisons is a testament to this reality.

That moral outrage at a critical mass cannot stop the mass shootings, and especially the murder of innocent children and adolescents in schools, is yet another horrific reminder of the moral rot of much of the political class! Mass gun violence is most often carried out by male adolescents and young men, who are angry and sometimes have a profile that includes misogyny. They always have easy access to guns in a gun culture.

War has been made the usual course of business for this society since the Reagan-Bush years with the eradication of the Vietnam Syndrome and the beginning of the march of endless wars in innumerable countries and from hundreds of military bases spread around the globe. Lockheed-Martin, Boeing, et al, call the tune and their profits shoot through the ceiling as Iran is targeted and Saudi Arabia and Israel march to that lethal tune in the Middle East.  Six Democrats, yes SIX, go along with the CIA torture regime instituted by George W. Bush and those with any discernible conscience left know how to read the writing on the wall.

The election of 2000 that enthroned George W. Bush in the White House and initiated the final phase of total warfare and the end of democracy as we know it, led in a straight line to the Democrats fumbling in 2016 and the resulting disaster that is Trump. The Supreme Court shut democracy down in the 2000 election and we now face the prospect of a dictator for life. The Democrats went along in 2000 as they did with the vote on the CIA director. Enough of them will always go along! In 2000 the Democrats under Gore could have easily put people in the streets of Florida and Washington, D.C. to prevent the coup d’etat, but they didn’t have either the interest or the will to do so.

Income inequality is at historic levels and Trump gives his base what it wants to hear. There is a part of Trump’s base who would not question the use of violence against whole communities without blinking an eye. Now they have the religious fundamentalists in their camp who view the solidifying of Israel’s control of Biblical Israel as prophesy and they have Trump’s ear. Many among them view the disaster in the Middle East as the beginning of the coming of the messiah in the Book of the Delusional. These are lethal crazies!

Too big to fail from the economic recession of 2007-2008 and beyond made household names of Citigroup, Bank of America, JP Morgan, Wells Fargo and AIG. While these mega companies and others were bailed out, millions of those in the US lost all or part of their equity in their most basic possession and key to staying afloat: their homes. Others lost money through debt to private for-profit colleges and universities. But this didn’t matter to the few and the wealthy who pull the strings on the marionettes in Washington, D.C. They were saved and the rest of us were made to figure out how we could go it alone, which is increasingly the common denominator of survival in the U.S.

A few days ago a harrowing event took place on the rural road where I live. A woman was accosted while she jogged along the road. A man on the passenger side of the car that four men drove in, tried to abduct the runner. The crime was bad enough! Almost immediately some cries rang out in a local community group’s website to get the “Hispanics” responsible for the crime, carry guns while running, and put surveillance cameras all over the town in which this incident took place.  Although an outcry rose up countering the racism and violence in some of the posts about the incident, I thought of how the Nazis marshaled local death squads, the Einsatzgruppen, to take care of those based on perceived negative attributes. How far will right-wing repression go in the U.S.? It will depend on whether military-industrial-financial interests want to continue to carry out the smiling version of fascism or the bloody kind.

See Bill Blum’s master list for “Overthrowing other people’s governments.”

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Howard Lisnoff is a freelance writer. He is the author of Against the Wall: Memoir of a Vietnam-Era War Resister (2017).

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