Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Fascism phase II

We are in that post-holiday period of the year when many go into some form of hibernation. Part of it has to do with the letdown that accompanies the harried activity and build up that is our modern day version of the holidays. If you live in colder climes, part of it is due to the inhospitality of the weather and the shorter days.

Some might be jacked up by their New Years’ resolutions. Whether they are losing weight, getting a new job, spending that holiday cash, or some other form of self-delusion, after about a month, all those good intentions and other diversions will come crashing down. Life will revert to a boring routine of watching TV, renting movies, drinking/drugging and generally “tuning out” the realities of the real life, modern day progression of birth, school, work and death.

It’s in the context of this milieu that government and in particular, the current administration, is seeking to ram through legislation and additional elements of their blueprint designed to undermine democracy in the good ‘ole U.S.A.

If you don’t think what I’m talking about is progressing more rapidly than I care to imagine, try David Neiwert’s blog Orcinus, for a reality check about the shakeout from America’s shift rightward.

Just back from a couple of trips to Montana and Idaho, Neiwert gives us the lowdown on what’s shaking out in Red State America. If you read Neiwert at all, you know he’s thorough and analytical to a fault. Because of this his writing is so invaluable, as well as difficult to refute. I don’t like to do a lot of cut and paste, but with someone as good as Neiwert, it’s required. I’ll post just a bit here, but make sure you visit his site and read the entire piece; it’s very good, albeit scary:

(From Orcinus, Jan. 4, 2005)
Having made two post-election jaunts to the red state hinterlands of Idaho and Montana, I'm back to report that, well, things are getting ugly out there. In some cases, really ugly.I've been talking for some time about the course that eliminationist rhetoric on the right would eventually take by the force of its own nature: pretty soon we'd go from talking about liberals as traitors to overtly wishing for violence to be visited upon them and discussing locking them up, followed in due course by such violence and incarceration becoming a reality.Well, it is now becoming a commonly spoken sentiment on the right to wish for violence against liberals and to simultaneously suggest they and all "traitors" (including Muslim Americans) should be locked away. We're firmly into Phase II now.

You hear it when conservatives -- especially those red-state cultural conservatives from the working class who are most likely to vote against their own self-interest, and then blame liberals for how lousy their lives are -- get together among themselves for their communal liberal-bashing hatefests. They'll say it when they think no one else is listening. You can hear it from "fringe" radio figures like Michael Savage. Or you can read it in the unpublished letters to the editor that most publications choose not to run.It's the natural outgrowth of the kind of rhetoric we've gotten from the national conservative punditry, manifesting itself on a less sophisticated but more direct and plain-spoken mode.My very clear impression of the rank-and-file American right is that many if not most of them, at the behest of their leaders, now believe that opposing George W. Bush and the Iraq War, as well as his handling of the War on Terror, is an act of genuine treason worthy of the ultimate social condemnation, including incarceration and execution. They feel not only vindicated but profoundly empowered by the election result, empowered to silence their opposition, by force if need be.These aren't just my impressions from hanging out in Deep Red Country. The evidence is abundant elsewhere as well. Consider, for instance, some of the letters to the editor received by Editor and Publisher after it published a piece by former USA Today publisher Al Neuharth (who is not exactly a liberal) questioning the administration's handling of Iraq.One writer wished we had formed an alliance with Hitler (so we could have eliminated Commies and leftists from the planet first), while the rest called the offending authors "cowards and traitors", "unAmerican," "jackals," and the like. Then the threatening notes enter:

Their dissent equals treason. The terrorists got him just like all the other rich liberals who side against our victory. They forget that wars end, and then the country takes stock of who was where.

More along those lines:

  • Neuharth should be tried for treason along with a lot of other blowhards who should be spending their energies condemning the barbarism of our enemies, the same people who destroyed the Twin Towers.... In the end William Joyce was executed for giving aid and comfort to the enemy during war time. Would that the same fate befall Al Neuharth!
    The consummate expression of these attitudes was this:

    The Patriot Act will put both of you (Neuharth and Mitchell) on trial for treason and convict and execute both of you as traitors for running these stories in a time of war and it should be done on TV for other communist traitors like you two to know we mean business. This is war and you should be put in prison NOW for talking like this. Who the hell do you people think you are? You give aid and comfort to our enemies and aid them in murdering our proud soldiers. You people are a disgrace to America. Your families should be put in prison with you, then be made to leave and move to the Middle East ...This is a great Christian nation and god wants us to lead the world out of darkness with great leaders like President George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. Communists like Al and Greg will soon be in prison and on death row for your ugly papers. We won the election and now you are mad. We own America and all the rights, you people are trash, go back to Russia and Africa and take your friends with before we put you on death row after a fair trial.

Editor and Publisher had earlier been the recipient of a similar e-mail from a fellow named Joe M. Richardson voicing similar sentiments, while holding forth on the subject of the soldiers who dared to question Donald Rumsfeld (cited by Atrios):

  • The duped soldier should be put at the very front of the action, no armor. The cooperating sergeant's career should be over and maybe become MIA. Pitts and all his cronies should be executed as traitors. We are fighting a war, the debate is over, you’re either for us or against us, there is no middle ground. I say start executing the leftists in our country, soon.
    Bow-tied Beltway Republicans (and liberals, too) like to disregard talk like this as unrepresentative. But I don't think that's the case any longer. I think they're not just blowing smoke, they're deluding themselves. It's out there, and it's just about everywhere.

In addition to all of Neiwert's stuff, there is this on the Bush crime syndicate's concentration camp at Guantanamo, as well as—thanks to the machinations possible under USAPA—dissent can lead to indefinite imprisonment if the current administration has its way.

Maybe we should be paying a little more attention, don't you think? A good place to begin might be Mike Malloy's show via Air America. Become a truthseeker!

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