Sunday, November 22, 2015

SEEDS OF FASCISM ARE FINDING FERTILE GROUND IN AMERICA'S HEARTLAND (and some Black Friday sales pitches are causing trouble...)

          Back when Germany was a Weimar Republic after WWI, a lot of the folks there felt as if their country had gotten a raw deal from the treaty provisions that ended that war.  There was a sense that outside forces and foreigners were responsible for a lot of the economic hardship the average German citizen was experiencing.  A stock market collapse in America resulted in an economic downturn across the Atlantic, which caused a lot of unemployment and unrest in pre-Nazi Germany.  Conditions were ripe for the rise of a megalomaniac bigot, and a loud little man with a huge ego began to stoke the fires of xenophobia by pointing to Jews and Gypsies as the source of the problem. Hitler came to power after the burning of the Reichstag (Germany's parliament) in 1932 was blamed on Jews.

          Today's American economy and national mood are in no way synonymous with the conditions of pre-WWII Germany, but there are similarities worth noting. We have individuals in the political party currently out of power who are leading in Republican voter approval polls by making a point to bash "the other."  They point to illegal immigration as a source of underemployment among middle class white voters. They point to humanitarian efforts to resettle refugees in this country as a national security threat. One candidate has even suggested (then backtracked away from) a national database to keep track of Muslims in this country. He's indicated a willingness to monitor the members and activities of some mosques, and the closure of others.  He's even said that we need to go back to the Bush era tactics of waterboarding and enhanced interrogations to prevent future terror attacks.  His supporters recently threw down, kicked, and ejected a Black Lives Matter protester from one of his rallies, an incident he brushed off with the comment, "Maybe he should have been roughed up."  After all, he had been recorded yelling, "Get him the hell out of here!" as the event took place.

            If you take all of the deliberate efforts by individual Republican politicians to play to the prejudices of their Party base as a symptom of white unease and distrust of "the other", you can see parallels between modern America and pre-war Nazi Germany.  Toss in the economic insecurity and unemployment of white, middle class Americans, along with 24/7 propaganda mouthpieces on radio and television, and you have fertile ground for planting the seeds of fascism.  The drums of war are being pounded once again, and anyone who suggests a peaceful resolution to any situation is branded an appeaser, or weak on defense of America.

            I've stopped laughing at The Donald.  I know longer see him as a clown entertaining the rubes.

            He might never rise to actual political power in America, but the fact that so many think of him as a capable candidate is reason enough to be concerned for this country's future.  We have a legions of bigoted people who are just itching to blame their miserable lives on someone different from their own race, religion, or family, and they're looking for someone who is willing to express that bigotry openly in public.

             And the sad fact is, they're finding far too many politicians on the local, state, and national level willing to fill that role.  

Friday, November 20, 2015

THEY SHOULD HAVE TOLD US IT WAS ALL A JOKE! (Republicans pull a prank on the world...)

               I bought it all.  Hook, line, and sinker.  They had me as soon as they started talking about shutting off the flow of refugees from Syria.  I thought they were serious, and it made my blood pressure rise.  Then they began to one-up each other, with more and more Draconian suggestions, and I lapped it up like a damn fool.

               One guy would suggest a national database to keep track of Muslims. The next guy would step up to the microphone and infer that some Muslims are "rabid dogs" that need to be monitored in the neighborhood.  A local wingnut state legislator here in Tennessee has publicly called for the National Guard to round up all Syrian refugees who have been settled in the Volunteer State and have them delivered to ICE for internment camps.

               And like an idiot, I thought they were serious!

               God, I feel like such a dolt!

               Good one, guys.  You really got me this time!

                  Maybe we should have this printed on our currency, while we're up?

Thursday, November 19, 2015