It is 99 days until the next U.S. congressional midterm election. Are you registered to vote?
In yesterday’s post, “Be heard,” I mentioned there are some Americans who are happy with “the current nationalistic track toward fascism.” A Facebook friend who has often exhibited support for President Trump asked what I meant by that. I deleted the comment (as I said I would) because I will not debate with someone whose mind is made up. However, the topic is something I intended to discuss later and … maybe, just maybe … the question sprang from an honest effort to understand.
Many of you have seen the poster pictured above. The original post of the photo went viral, during which some of the background information morphed. This Snopes article fills in the details. The poster was found in the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, but it was not a museum display; it was at one time sold in the gift shop, which is rather obvious in the photo.
The 14 early warning signs were compiled by amateur historian Laurence Britt in April 2003, after researching seven fascist regimes. At the time, he was alerting on early signals from the Bush / Cheney administration.
Many people have pointed out the poster reads like a Trump to-do list, most of which have been checked off or are developing.
Powerful and continuing nationalism – “Make America Great Again” and “America First”
Disdain for the recognition of human rights – taking babies from parents
Identification of enemies/scapegoats as a unifying cause – “rapist” Mexicans, “radical” Muslims
Supremacy of the military – current budget of $716 billion is 11.7 times larger than Russia’s and 4.7 times larger than China’s
Rampant sexism – “grab ’em by the …”
Controlled mass media – “fake news” and “enemy of the people,” threats against the free press
Obsession with national security – threatening to obliterate countries
Religion and government are intertwined – allowing extreme right-wing Christian principles to guide policy
Corporate power is protected – the 2017 tax scam
Labor power is suppressed — rolling back a broad range of employee protections
Disdain for intellectuals and the arts – rejection of science, making up names for anyone more popular than him
Obsession with crime and punishment – has suggested the death penalty for drug dealers and punishment for women who obtain abortions, “Lock her up”
Rampant cronyism and corruption – Ivanka, Jared and almost any Cabinet member, as well as making millions of dollars off taxpayers
Fraudulent elections – Trump’s role in Russia’s “meddling” in our last election has not been proven, but his ready and frequent defense of Moscow is troubling enough
It should be noted that fascism does not have a strict definition as it has been applied to different types of regimes, though they generally share the strong-armed, nationalistic feelings outlined by Britt. The seven dictatorships he studied were Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany, Benito Mussolini’s Italy, Francisco Franco’s Spain, Antontio de Oliveira Salazar’s Portugal, George Papadopoulos’s Greece, August Pinochet’s Chile, and Mohamed Suharto’s Indonesia.
Perhaps the question should be whether fascism – or something resembling fascism – is a bad thing.
Whether what is currently happening in our country is good or bad is central to my campaign to encourage eligible voters to get registered and to vote. There are so many areas right now (abuse of prisons, for one) where the United States is failing its citizens and humanity in general. We’ll continue touching on them over the next 99 days, but – spoiler alert! – the answer I’m pressing is that we need to vote out every Republican we can.
Do I want to kill off the Republican Party? No way. We need at least two vibrant parties. However, it seems likely, considering how low the GOP has sunk, they need to realize they cannot exist simply pandering to the vocal, far right but need to work for the entire country.