Of Hard-Boiled Frog

fascist-flagLet’s get one thing out of the way: we live in a fascist country. The President-Elect of the USA has the open and public endorsement of the Ku Klux Klan, the American Nazi Party, and every lesser neo-Nazi, fascist and racist organization in the land. As Sinclair Lewis famously said, “When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.” Today fascism swaggers through the halls of power wrapped in the flag, dragging a cross through the swamp-muck and wearing a red hat. Contrary to popular wisdom, this does not come as much of a surprise.

It was a surprise that the fascist takeover of the executive branch was so blatant and so complete; but it has been happening elsewhere for a long time. The slow courtship of government and industry has been consummated to the point where the participants exchange not only money and favors, but roles and careers. Healthy patriotism has degenerated into jingoistic, militant nationalism. Large segments of the population live in ever increasing misery, yet blame other equally disenfranchised groups instead of identifying those responsible: the malignant alliance of corrupt politicians, greedy financiers and amoral industrialists.

And now we have for President-Elect a tax-dodging entertainment tycoon who has lived extravagantly on everyone else’s dime, yet poses as a man of the people. His cabinet consists entirely of industry lobbyists, anti-science radicals, religious extremists and career politicians bent on destroying any semblance of a social safety net. Presiding over the whole sordid spectacle is the spokesman of American racism, misogyny, anti-Semitism and general neo-Nazi hatred: Stephen Bannon, CEO of Breitbart. The obscene metamorphosis is complete. The party of Lincoln, once the liberal party that fought for civil rights, has mutated into yet another fascist government. It is perhaps fitting that American neo-Nazis have appropriated the image of a frog as their symbol; frogs are famous for being able to sit in a pot of water as it heats to boiling, oblivious to their fate as they die. Our American fascists have long been working to subvert, conquer and divide. Now they have won control of the government. The surprise is that it took many of us this long to see it.

Not convinced the USA has become a fascist state? Dr. Lawrence Britt, a political scientist, analyzed five classical fascist regimes – Hitler’s Germany, Mussolini’s Italy, Franco’s Spain, Suharto’s Indonesia and Pinochet’s Chile – and described the characteristics shared by all five. Does any of this sound familiar?

  1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism
  2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights
  3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause
  4. Supremacy of the Military
  5. Rampant Sexism
  6. Controlled Mass Media
  7. Obsession with National Security
  8. Religion and Government are Intertwined
  9. Corporate Power is Protected
  10. Labor Power is Suppressed
  11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts
  12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment
  13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption
  14. Fraudulent Elections

It seems we have a lot in common with 20th-century fascist states. We are in the pot; the water is heating around us.  Are you OK with becoming a hard-boiled frog?