Is America skirting dangerously close to fascism or at least fascism ideology?
First I'd like to say I'm Canadian so maybe I get more of a skewed view living outside the US. Also I know this is potentially an inflaming topic, as I've learned on other boards, and I'd hate to start a flame war but this seems like a much more open community.
By fascist I do not mean the fascist dictatorship of Hitler's Germany and the specter of concentration camps and mass murder. Instead I mean the ideological aspects of fascism, in many ways more sinister for their lack of conspicuousness. As defined in the wikipedai fascism is the political ideology which:
-exalts nation and sometimes race above the individual,
-uses violence and modern techniques of propaganda and censorship to forcibly suppress political opposition,
-engages in severe economic and social regimentation, and
-espouses nationalism and sometimes racism (ethnic nationalism).
I would largely remove the racist aspects of fascism here when talking about the US. Not that racism is not of grave concern, indeed it is, but it plays less of a central role in US politics from the point of view of this topic. That aside though I have seen some disturbing aspects over the past few years that do indeed bring fascist ideals to mind. America has always been something of a nationalistic country but I haven't seen anything on this scale before. Zel Millers speech at the RNC is a prime example of the kind of thing I mean. A truly horrific piece if you care to take a read: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/09/01/politics/main640299.shtml
However this isn't just relegated to the republicans. The other day I heard Hillary Clinton say something to the affect of "America is the greatest country the world has ever seen". I'm not arguing that such statements can't or should not be held by members of the populous but it seems that this kind of speech is being increasingly enshrined in the halls of government by politicians. You can't even get elected unless you mention in just about every major speech, the greatness of the country. Failure to do so risks the other side, Republican or Democrat, pulling out the old "unpatriotic" accusations. Perhaps scarier still is that such accusations should carry any weight. But it's a much deeper problem than that. With very few exceptions, there are some notable ones though, the media seems to be playing the same tune. Since when did real political debates become two guys towing their respective party lines throwing sound bites and personal insults at each other. I can turn to just about any channel and hear "and from the right we have" "and on the left" followed by 20 minutes of insults, calls of treason, and material that could have been written by your average grade 8 social studies student. Often even the moderator of the discussion will get in on the argument and accuse one of the guests, usually the guy on the "left", of lying. Overlying all of this is a layer of right wing Christian fundamentalism that seems to have smothered all sense of reasoning from the white house on down. You have an attorney general who had himself anointed with Crisco on assuming his office. You have Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, and Pearl who have been planning the invasion of Iraq for years before September 11th. Then of course there is Bush who can't seem to help almost quoting scripture in every major speech. Always trying to connect the War on terror with elements of heaven and hell and Gods will. Here is a letter that Bush sent out to fellow employees when he was governor of Texas in 1995:
I thought I would share with you a recent bit of Texas history which epitomizes our mission.
My very close personal friend from Midland, Joe. J. O'Neill, III, recently loaned me a portrait entitled "A Charge to Keep" by W.H.D. Koerner. This beautiful painting will hang on my wall for the next four years.
The reason I bring this up is that the painting is based upon the Charles Wesley hymn "A Charge to Keep I Have". I am particularly impressed by the second verse of this hymn. The second verse goes like this:
"To serve the present age, my calling to fulfill;
O may it all my powers engage to do my Master's will"
This is our mission. This verse captures our spirit.
Joe was inspired to make this generous loan during the church service preceding the inaugural ceremonies. It was in this church service when we sang the hymn "A Charge to Keep I Have".
When you come into my office, please take a look at the beautiful painting of a horseman determinedly charging up what appears to be a steep and rough trail. This is us. What adds complete life to the painting for me is the message of Charles Wesley that we serve One greater than ourselves.
Thank you for your hard work. Thank you for your service to our State. God Bless Texas!
That's how these people think. They actually believe that the war on terror is Gods will and that they are just here to carry out his orders.