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Posted by gustav at 03:01PM, Saturday, December 04th, 2004

Death Solves All Problems

I'm coming to believe perhaps I was off the mark in comparing Bush to Fascist Germany, c. 1930. Not, as fascist apologists and blinkered faux-liberals might hope, because I think "it's not as bad as all that," or that we're not rushing headlong down the path to becoming a totalitarian state. Rather, because I may have been comparing the present "conservative" movement to the wrong totalitarian state.

Watch Republican Senator Cornyn quote Joseph Stalin.

What does it mean when our elected (well, who really knows in the days of Diebold) representatives in Congress start quoting Joseph Stalin talks about purges, when referring to our judiciary? What does it mean when, every time they talk, they evince a (real or affected) profound lack of understanding of the American system of government as laid out in the Constitution?

What does it mean when they call for vigilante attacks on judges, and then deny doing any such thing? What does it mean when their paid

propagandists claim that facts are off-base interpretations or allegations of events? What does it mean when the President angrily vows he never said things he's on videotape saying? (Remember, it's not the scandal that's offensive, it's the lying).

What does it mean when notorious fundraisers for perverted hate-mongers who campaign again and again on bigotry up and marry their partners in the one "not the real America" state where that's legal -- and which those for whom they've fund-raised have demonized in the most explicit terms? Or when gay hookers rail against homosexuality and gay marriage at the behest of the most corrupt presidential administration in history? What does it mean when politicians who happily exploited procedural rules when their party was the minority rail against them once the situation changes? This is no longer mere hypocrisy, people who've fallen from their righteous path, which they'd stick to if they could. This is, amongst other things, institutionalized classism: "I can be trusted with pornography, or drugs, or to marry the right person of the right gender and sex and race; but the teeming masses, they need strong leadership. They need to be told what to do. I may have an undisclosed number of drunk driving convictions, arrests for disorderly conduct, a coke habit, an ex-girlfriend with an aborted fetus, and my official spokesperson may be engaged in a gay affair. But goddamnit, Middle America needs me to tell them that all that is just wrong!"

It's not just hypocritical. It's cynical and manipulative. It's insulting, to both the enlightened progressives and the Middle Americans the hypocrites pretend to protect. It bespeaks a fundamental dishonesty without limits. Up is down, black is white, and wrong is right; as Orwell prophesied, language isn't a tool one can use to fight the establishment, if it's been stripped of all meaning.

What does it mean when friends I had thought of as enlightened ask me, evidently earnestly, whether I really think it's better to have guilty men go free than innocent ones rot in jail? What does it mean when other friends pooh-pooh the idea that we're living through troubling times, or that we could slip quickly into a fascist state without knowing?

For those at home not paying attention, it's not a matter of "could" any more. We've been there for a while. We flout the Geneva Conventions as official policy. We scoff at the U.N. We endorse torture. We've got the concentration camps. We've got the official propaganda in all sorts of government offices. We've made a mockery of free speech. We've got the holy warriors, the high priests of the hypocritical inquisition, claiming sole ownership not only of religion, but of values and morals. We have people with no experience, propelled to top government positions not for ability, but for how closely they toe the party line in the face of sheer incompetence -- and the party line is set by maniacal extremists actively planning for a holy war that will end the world and bring on the rapture. We've got the calls for purges, right now, in the USA. The question is, are we going to wait for our own version of Kristallnacht before we do something about it? Are we going to make the meme "America" mean freedom and liberal values again, as it did under Jefferson and Washington -- or let the neocons own it forever, and sully it until it's a synonym for the Third Reich or Rwanda or South-African Apartheid?

This is not the America I grew up in. I know our instinct, especially when we're not personally affected, is to hope for the best and try to believe things aren't as bad as all that. That instinct helped genocidal maniacs exterminate millions in the 20th Century. Please don't sit idly by while the America I remember turns into the Germany, or the Soviet Union, so many regretted. It's not up to us to decide whether it's time for the revolution; that choice has already been made, but not by us. Our choice is which way we will allow the revolution to go.

The United States Constitution
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