Friday, March 11, 2016

Fear and Loathing in the US: If you’re not having a déjà vu moment, you may be part of the problem

I don’t typically scare easily. Oh sure, the occasional furry spider may startle me, but I don’t go into flash backs over it.  But coming from a Jewish back ground, and what with my parents having lost relatives in the Holocaust…I’m starting to get a funny feeling that I’ve seen this all before, and I’m scared. 

Before I go any further, I must apologize to my readers, especially those who bought my books. In them, more than once, I declared that the greatest threat to this nation is not radical Islam from without, but Christianity from within.  I may have been wrong and I’m sorry.

Perhaps I can be forgiven, because I was foolish enough to be lulled into accepting that what happened in Europe in the 1920s and through the 1930s could never happen here; that we learn from history; that we would never repeat its most heinous events; that we are better than that.  Well, it can, we didn’t, we may, and we aren’t.

Once this nation looked toward a bright future. Once our politicians, on both sides of the aisle, had high ideals and great hopes for our future.  We didn’t always accomplish those goals, those promises, but the promises were invariably predicated on hope, on growth, on advancement.  Usually only the method toward achievement divided us.  Not so anymore. 

As I hear the rhetoric of the GOP front runner, slathered with hate speech, with fear mongering, with innuendo, with encouragement to violence against those who may protest that speech a knot forms in my gut.  When I hear him espouse truncating the 1st amendment to be more to his liking and benefit I cringe. When I see the racism, scapegoating and demonizing of minorities as people coming to take American jobs while they perpetrate "rape and murder" throughout the land; or the lumping together every member of a given religion as “they all  hate us! I don’t know why...” , I know I’ve heard this somewhere before. 

When the throngs of followers, largely white, and largely less educated - are driven by that rhetoric to the point where they feel compelled even encouraged toward meting out violence and doing so with a sense of entitlement and impunity… I am seeing something I remember from old photographs and newsreels.  Only the brown shirts and the guttural speech and accents are missing. 

As I hear that would be leader, that con man, that hater and purveyor of hate- babble his circular and self aggrandizing say nothing babble, and as he directs his fanatical and mesmerized followers to pledge their allegiance to this cult of personality … a feeling of familiar dread comes over me. 

Some will say I’m exaggerating, that I’m being melodramatic, that I’m distorting this into more than it is.  They’re wrong. I’m seeing this for exactly what it is:  Fascism. To ignore it, to down play it, to say “it can never happen here” is to be in denial.  Worse, that denial makes us complicit in what could well be our future.  It’s not too horrible to contemplate… it is our duty to contemplate it now, before it’s too late.


Michael Chabler said...

I was alarmed the moment he suggested Mexicans were rapists. This irresponsible speech clearly strokes certain instincts making people angry enough to murder. And this is exactly from the Nazi playbook, e.g. the movie Jud Süß.

The media have often given Trump a free ride, because they're too happy with what he does for ratings. I wrote a blog article on what everyone should know about the media here:

Lisa said...

"Get 'em outta here!" has replaced "We're gonna make America great again" as Trump's slogan. After he repeats it another 50 times, we'll all have it committed to memory, consciously or not. And it won't just refer to protestors at his rallies; consider the possibilities. Scary.

Huffy1166 said...

Well said, Hump. I have had the same feeling about this guy and his movement. I have refrained from going there up until now, largely because such comparisons have traditionally been huge exaggerations that do not really match up. This one does, however. And it is scary.

I will say, however, that you were not wrong to blame Christians. If Christians today worshipped the Jesus who said let he who is without sin cast the first stone, or turn the other cheek, this guy would not have the support he does. But the Jesus of right wing Christians in America carries an automatic weapon, sports a confederate flag, hates minorities and those different (not white...and not male for the matter), and he supports wars and ins criminals killing the carpet bombing. Modern American Jesus looks more like a WWE wrestler than a humble shepherd. And modern right wing Christians are the enablers of this guy and his hateful viewpoints.

David said...

It seems to me the people most likely to defend their own right to free speech are privileged, rich, straight, white, Christian men. It is these same people who have no respect whatsoever for the same right of anyone else that may challenge their diatribe.

gerard26 said...

I too am deeply troubled by the nature of the rise of an American style fasism that seems to be underpined by the mass delusion of exceptionalism a doctrine anchored in Abrahamic monotheism, hyper patriotism and manifest destiny doctrines of Anglo-European peoples. A worldview that see itself as a force for good for the planet and all its inhabitants. Yes indeed, you are correct inconcluding you've seen this before. The governments in the American south largly operated like this at the end of the reconstrution period up until the passage of federal civll rights legislation outlawing de jure second class citizenship for American citizens denied equal rights. Looking back futher we witnessed this in Spain under Franco, Mussolini in Italy, and Hitler in Germany, all christian countries, all christian leaders, super patroitic with the worlview that they represented the best answers for humankind. The American religio/ rightwing has been on a steady march towards totalitarianism where the notion of democracy must be narrowly defined and only exercised by the few. I agree you are not being melodramitic, this is real. Trump is the template for others to follow that is demonstrating that his brand of fascism for acheiving power can do an end around of the political system and penetrate the highest of power centers in the nation, it is essential that we comtempate this menacefor the sake of our secular society, now.

Dale Leier said...

hump good to read your viewpoint again...haven't seen an update since scalia. Just to get a camel hurumphh! once in a while or a camel smile every couple of days on your blog would be nice. I get concerned a little when there is a hiatus on your blog... people need to hear viewpoints like yours. In 2008 I came down to western USA to see if people I encountered had the same sense that I had. I had read Naomi Wolfs' concern about what she was worried about... she feared a coup or continuation of the Bush presidency...a police state...fascism. At that time I was thinking that Obama was the most sane choice...what I think America needs now, and the world, is Bernie Sanders. Someone to flip the tables of the money lenders at the synagogue so to speak. IMHO

Anonymous said...

About a year ago, when Trump declared his candidacy, I thought the best possible outcome would be that he would win the GOP nomination, the GOP implode and there would be a democrat elected to office in 2016. Trump is well on his way to secure the GOP nomination, The GOP is most definitely (at least on a national level) imploding... I just hope that Clinton (or Sanders, but that seems less likely at this point) wins come November 4 which at this point given her issues and the Trump cult of personality not so a sure thing. Uggggg!

- Fastthumbs