There is an old adage that used to be said about many things in this country that were out of the mainstream “Well, yes, that happens over there. But it can’t happen here.”
It can’t happen here, we thought, because we have the vote. We would always vote those bastards out. You know the kind. The ones who would not accept immigrants from Italy or Ireland or Iran or China. The kind who made jokes about Jews behind their backs. It will take a while, we thought, but we are inexorably moving toward the day we will be a better…a truly good society.
But not all of us and not at all times. Yes, we eventually ended lynching. And now we have…and we do have it…irrational, excessive police brutality. And we’re trying to end that. So, it can happen here…all kinds of bad things do happen here.
But Fascism is a problem of another magnitude. Because Fascism says the following: I want to control a political party that runs the entire country without objection. I the leader want to run it my way…no matter what anyone else wants. I, the Fascist, …being a million or two or ten…of the entire 300 million population want all the political power. Here’s what it looks like when it gets big enough. Just watch.
Does this remind you of anything? “Take our country back!” “Make American Great Again!” For whom? For those “Patriots” who will pander to the rich who want to pay no taxes? To the Republicans in Congress who have already voted to remove health care protections from 30 million Americans and want to come back and take it from even more poor working citizens? Who are they talking about in this film? White, Anglo-Saxon Protestants….a group self-identified as those who are the “Right Kind of People.” Not, of course, the unions, as they attempted to fool the people in 1939…Hitler disbanded the unions in Germany and put the leaders in concentration camps.
And what about the symbols? The huge ceiling-high portrait of George Washington. Fascists always appeal to “patriotism.” It is a false sense of patriotism…the kind where you are either with us…or a traitor. And traitors are punished. It is a society in which everything is politicized, from the way you salute the flag…there is one accepted way…to the way you want people to live in their own homes.
We are not talking about the kinds of small-time sycophants who stood on that stage and laughed while a man who came to protest a system that was genocidically murdering his relatives in Auschwitz was beaten by a gang of thugs. These cyphers who merely stood on the stage in uniform were not the worst of the Fascists. We must remember that for every rally that Fascists held in Europe, there were legislators and judges who had quietly voted to remove all the rights and protections of the citizens. One by one, they stripped citizens of their rights and eventually their freedom. If you think that the people in Madison Square Garden that night would not have stripped American citizens of their rights, then you are dangerously naive.
I have lived in Germany. They are among the finest people in the world…decent, honorable and deeply compassionate, with a wonderful good humor. But they are the same people, the same ancestors, the same blood running through their veins, the same background and history. But they were baited lied to and propagandized into the same kinds of robots that you watched lift their arms in that film. They were turned into a monstrous political party sworn to an ideal of insensitivity and cruelty and exclusion and, ultimately, an unreasonable hatred of others–people whom, for the most part, they had never even known. They were propagandized repeatedly, daily, with no opposing viewpoint to believe that they were superior and others were wrong. In 1939, they were the people seeking power. Today, the majority of Americans are closer to them…we elected their President…than the image in which we have always seen ourselves. Unless we change, we will become those people.
It can happen here. Now you have seen it.
Today, we have those in power… in the Senate, in the House, in the Supreme Court and in the Presidency…and in 31 states at least…who work for powerful forces, men who believe that they, not you, deserve the fruits of this nation. Stockholders, not citizens are those who should run this country. They have purchased almost an entire political party to do so. They have the power and the funds to buy the television and radio commercials to persuade a majority of people to keep their candidates their legislators in power.
It will continue and get worse unless we resist. We saw the inklings of a revolution in politics last year, in the Sanders campaign. A true Populist, not, like Trump, a Fascist parading as a Populist, Sanders offers real solutions to the problems besetting the Middle Class. He offers a progressive, Populist plan to restore government to the people and, yes, take it back from those who work for billionaires and giant corporations who want to have more tax cuts for their extremely rich stockholders and send more jobs abroad.
It is time to wake up. The country is already in the control of one political party from local government through the Presidency, and with Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court, the most dangerous government ever in office in this country.
Watch the film again. Send a message to as many others as possible to watch it, either here or on YouTube. We are all in danger and the money from one more tax cut may be all the American Republican oligarchy needs to stamp out opposition forever.