Monday, January 23, 2012

Breakdown - Fascism

In my post, Self-hating Jew, I linked to the 14 points of fascism. For the next few weeks, I'm going to show some of the concerns I have the direction the US is going.

1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism - Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays. How many times have you heard Republicans say liberals are not patriotic? What of the claims of American exceptionalism? I am proud of my country but think it does our country a disservice when politicians say that because I'm a liberal, I'm not a "real" American. It has been our country's liberal ideals that make us a truly great and unique nation. There have been mis-steps. The Founding Fathers allowed slavery to continue. It took a civil war to correct that injustice. Women were long denied the right to vote. The flood of Jewish, Irish, and other immigrants in the late 1800's and early 1900's led to quotas on immigration. During World War II we locked Japanese citizens on the West coast. Our country performed medical testing on blacks in Tuskegee.

2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights - Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of "need." The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc. After World War II, Japanese soldiers were executed for water-boarding US soldiers. Today, in the United States, water-boarding is called "enhanced interrogation technique". When news first came out that the US was water boarding, Shepard Smith stated We are America. We don't f**king torture. Gitmo is a festering sore. We do not need Gitmo. We do not need to torture. Our laws were sufficient to deal with terrorists.

3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause - The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial , ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc. Whose the biggest bogey man in the minds of many Americans? Muslims. Do we really need to pass laws that strike at the very heart of what it means to be free? The recently passed NDAA allows any president to have the military detain and US citizen arrested on US soil detained indefinitely. This is huge, huge, huge threat to our American way of life and it was started by President George W. Bush after 9-11 and sadly and much to my dismay, was signed into law by President Obama. Oh, to be sure both President Bush and Obama stated they would never use that power. But it shouldn't be a power they had to begin with. The PATRIOT Act, passed after 9-11 is an act which needs to be abolished.

We are Americans but too many are allowing fear to jeopardize the very things that make our country great. I wrote to my congressman before the passage of the PATRIOT Act urging him to vote no its passage. I've written to my current congressmen urging them not to pass NDAA with its truly un-American detention of US citizens. I wrote to them regarding the threat to free speech that SOPA and PIPA poses. All of my congressmen let me down. President Obama let me down by signing NDAA into law. But I'm hoping more and more Americans can see the power they have. If it weren't for the internet protests last week, we would have SOPA and PIPA.

If we can stop SOPA and PIPA, we can make Congress abolish the NDAA and the PATRIOT Act.

I cannot support any of the Republican nominees for president. They are just too dangerous to our country's future. We have given up some of our freedoms out of fear. The Republican candidates message is nothing but fear and more fear. If they truly believed in American exceptionalism, why do they keep feeding us fear? Aren't we the home of the brave? It's time to give up fear.

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