An American Descent Into Fascism
Below is the transcript from our podcast on August 15, 2021
This past week we’ve seen an overwhelming amount of tragic news come into view.
The delta variant of Covid has triggered a fourth wave of infections among the unvaccinated throughout the nation. Hospitals once again are being strained to the limit as their ICU beds fill to capacity.
The announcement of troop withdrawal from Afghanistan has sparked a sudden rush to power by the Taliban - going at such a rapid pace that surprised everyone, including - no doubt - the Taliban itself. As I sit here at the Democracy on the Move studio, Kabul itself appears ready to fall at any moment.
Massive forest fires sparked in no small part by Global Warming, tear up states in the west and northwest. Recent polling shows that even critics of global warming are starting to change their tune, as forests go up in flames and beachfront property suffers increasing damage from more frequent storm surges.
And we’ve seen a massive earthquake in Haiti, even more powerful than the devastating quake of 2010, hitting at a time when Haiti can least afford another disaster.
Is the earth coming to an end? It’s hard to say, but if indeed it is coming to an end, all but one of the aforementioned disasters were caused by mankind itself.
But this week, I’ll set all that aside and focus on an underlying political disaster that, much like global warming, has been a disaster in the making for several decades. If you’ve been listening to this podcast for any time - or if you’ve been following any of our tweets - you’ll know that we continue to rail against our slide into fascism. Like climate change - or as I prefer to call it, Global Warming - our slide into fascism has been so gradual for so many years that it was almost unconscious. But it was a slide that was very much consciously driven. The people behind this drive slid their messages into our churches over several decades. They slid it into our radio stations through a series of purposefully driven buyouts of radio spectrum, particularly in rural areas.
This gradual slide has been like putting on a silk glove, you barely feel it as it moves over your hand. Perhaps a better analogy would be the stealing of your wallet and watch by an experienced thief. In fact, I once challenged a magician to steal my wristwatch without me knowing it; and to be honest, if I wasn’t already conscious of what he was doing, I never would have felt the watch as it slipped off my wrist.
This is what I fear is happening in the U.S. at this moment. For example, over the past week, we watched as Tucker Carlson visited with Hungarian president Victor Orbán and emerged extolling the virtues of totalitarianism, calling Hungary a small country with a lot of lessons for the rest of us. Orbán has targeted various institutions that promote individual thought and freedom, such as universities, the judicial branch of government, and perhaps most alarmingly, the fourth estate; otherwise known as the news media.
Orbán’s government has overtly targeted members of the LGBTQ community, immigrants and intellectuals. He has suppressed many forms of opposition, even detaining a citizen for posting on Facebook, calling Orbán a dictator.
Orbán is embraced by many conservatives in the U.S.; not just Tucker Carlson. As noted in Vox magazine, prominent conservative writers from the National Review, the American Conservative and the New York Post have openly praised Orbán’s style of governing. As further noted by Vox, “Pro-Orbán Westerners tend to come from one of two overlapping camps in modern conservatism: religiously minded social conservatives and conservative nationalists.”
Even more alarming is western writers' tendency to lie about Orbán’s motives; they claim that Orbán’s extremist government takeover is more democratic than most other countries, including - by implication - the United States.
This is an overt lie that illustrates that people in pursuit of fascist power have no shame in lying and no guilt in pursuing power. The ends justify the means. Time and time again, for example, I see people trying to find the inconsistencies in what the GQP says from one moment to the next.
Let me pause here to say that I use the term "GQP" as a play on words, implying that the fascist elements of the GOP - Republicans - should be renamed to the GQP; where “Q” stands for Q-Anon. Q-Anon seems to have become the default megaphone for spreading false conspiracy theories, so therefore I use the letter Q in place of the letter O when speaking about the extremist fascist elements of the Republican Party. Also, let me be clear that the traditional Republican Party still believes in democracy, but many - if not most - of their members have abandoned democracy in exchange for power. They’ve made a deal with the devil, in my opinion.
The inconsistencies I cite are things like, “If the GQP says that abortion is murder, then why do they not get behind efforts to provide child support after the baby is born?” Obviously, this is an inconsistency, but only if you look for consistency in the first place. One of the tenets of fascism is that there is no allegiance to the truth - the truth is what they say it is. It’s an Orwellian concept called “doublethink” - the ability to hold two conflicting thoughts in your head and believe in both at the same time.
But why? Why does the GQP push fascism? Why would the GQP forsake democracy and tear up the constitution after it has served us so well for nearly 250 years?
This is perhaps the most important question of all, at least in my mind. It speaks to the motivation behind recent attempts to overthrow our government on January 6 of this year. It speaks to the ever-looming threat of domestic terrorism. It speaks to the heart of what’s going on with the proliferation of bad information - which has led, in many cases, to people dying of Covid in the false belief that our government is scheming against its population and forcing them to take a vaccine that will do more harm than good.
To answer this question, let’s get to another important news event that occurred this past week; The Census bureau has released the numbers from all those census forms that we filled out last year. Guess what it found? For the first time ever, the share of the population in our nation that identifies as part of the white race has fallen below 60%. It is now at 57.8%. This confirms what a lot of people feared; that the center of power will soon slip out of the hands of white men and into the hands of the general populace.
Now I don’t want to go all Critical Race Theory or anything, but let’s face it, ever since the white man first landed on this continent, he has stolen everything in order to make this country his. (My use of the male pronoun is intentional, by the way.) He has suppressed - through brutal violence if necessary - any attempt to take away all that he has gained over the past 500 years. Native Americans were decimated, and continue to be suppressed to this day. Black people were imported like cargo and forced for generations to build the white man’s empire. Chinese were also imported when labor requirements in the west needed to be fulfilled. And it wasn’t sufficient to be white; you also had to be of one of the acceptable factions of Christianity. You also had to be heterosexual. And even if you fulfilled all those requirements, you had to be willing to play the inhuman game of oppression in order to partake in its benefits. So when slaves were freed after the Civil War, many whites saw to it that the underlying oppression remained alive and well, by use of Jim Crow laws to suppress the votes and withhold the fruits of economic success. It continues to this day, in the form of red-lining, gentrification, education, profiling and prisons.
And now we see that the percentage of white population is dropping. This alone is alarming enough to subscribers of white supremacy, but couple this with the fact that many - if not most - white people no longer support the ideas of oppression; they’re becoming aware of the incredible injustice foisted upon this continent and do not want to take part in it. The traditional power base built on white supremacy is therefore dissolving.
So the white supremacists feel threatened. Perhaps not personally threatened, but for generations, they’ve lived comfortably on the backs of the oppressed and do not want to fall from this position.
But this presents a problem; how to maintain control of a country whose national identity is shifting away from the traditional white supremacist base? In a recent podcast by Ezra Klein, he interviewed political scientist Lilliana Mason, author of the book Uncivil Agreement: How Politics Became Our Identity. Lilliana cited a poll taken by 8,000 participants over multiple years and found that the concepts more-or-less associated with white supremacy resonated with roughly 30% of the population. This sizable minority had no place in traditional politics to express their views. But when Donald Trump’s campaign in 2016 spoke unashamedly about these extremist perspectives, this 30% now had a place to put their support. In other words, Trump found a platform in which he would automatically seize 30% of the votes; and though a majority of these votes came from members of the Republican Party, many were from the Democratic Party as well as independents. Coupled with the fact that many people were already predisposed to voting for Republicans, this wave was enough to push Trump to the top of the ticket and ultimately win the presidency.
Does this mean that all Republicans are white supremacists? Absolutely not. In fact, I personally suspect it’s a minority even within the party. But the party overall benefits from the power it receives, and is perhaps even intoxicated by it. At the end of the day, however, it’s the minority - the 30% - that feel righteous in their beliefs to the extent that their white supremacist tendencies have found a home.
But 30% cannot control a nation. As Lilliana Mason pointed out, you cannot have a democracy if a minority is controlling the government. So a racist totalitarian government (i.e.; a fascist government) becomes deeply appealing.
The danger, in my perspective, is that even the Republicans that do not necessarily hold white supremacist views are nevertheless intoxicated by the power they get from having that 30% on board. Further, as individuals, their views can nevertheless be influenced by the party. So when the party issues statements like illegal immigrants are pouring over our southern border and bringing Covid with them, they’re met with an audience that listens. Of course, this is blatantly fascist, as one favorite technique of fascists is to convince the populace that we’re under attack from immigrants that bring disease, crime and drugs into our neighborhoods. The party continues with fake news that says every Democrat is a cannibalistic pedophile. They even go so far as to openly advocate for violence - even death - against their political enemies.
In all cases, make no mistake that this fascist tendency does not intend to take hostages. In their view, we are in a fight to the death, and there can be only one winner; one party will rule. And like Victor Orbán, they intend to crush opposition by eliminating the fourth estate. They intend to re-tool our schools and universities to teach fascist doctrine. They intend to crush any person that stands in their way - no matter their skin color, religion or sexual disposition.
Can they do it? It depends on whether we can feel the silk glove slipping over our hands. It depends on whether we can feel our wallets being lifted out of our pockets and our watches being slid off our wrists. It depends on whether we can wake ourselves out of the day-to-day fights over abortion, critical race theory, family values and any other of manufactured issues that have been cleverly designed to distract us from the horrific truth that lies at the heart of the modern American descent into fascism.
Our democracy will not survive if we do not wake up.