I feel I’ve talked quite a bit about the increasingly evident rise of right wing, anti-democracy, authoritarian, market based conservatism and Republicanism here in the USA, and I’m in danger of turning my once varied, entertaining, and far ranging blog into a sort of never ending statement of outrage and disgust at what conservatives have been doing to my beloved USA, but let’s face it, there’s something undeniably fascinating about watching the previously gradual but now ever more rapid rise of political fascism here in the USA. Horrifying, yes. Depressing, yes. Alarming, yes. But also fascinating. Some years ago I seem to recall there was a flurry of academic interest in what happened in Europe in the early and mid-twentieth century, with all sorts of fanciful theories put forward for the rise of the fascist state. However, it seems we here in the USA can now entertain that issue without delving into the funny ways of our foreign friends. We now can consider the issue in the context of the all too familiar good old boys, rednecks, racists, and religious nuts of our own country. So maybe I’ll just do one more on this theme and then try to give it a rest for a little while and talk about some other things.
What happened recently to prompt this post was that nearly every Republican in the US Senate voted to acquit former president Trump of any wrongdoing with respect to the deadly attack on the US Capitol he and his minions helped plan and promote for months, and which he did everything he could on the day to instigate and nothing to end once started. Reportedly, he found it all quite amusing and was outraged when he suspected others in his entourage failed to appreciate the spectacle and suggested he call it off. This recent vote was a very strong signal that the conservative Republican Party supports the future use of political violence and domestic terrorism here in the USA planned, organized, orchestrated, and encouraged by future US presidents, a position which is entirely consistent with their now often declared disdain for democratic government. Well, I suppose one must address political issues one way or another, right? And if one opposes addressing those issues using political democracy and voting, then I suppose supporting clubbing people over the head with fire extinguishers, bashing their heads in doorways, gouging out their eyes and with one’s bare hands, and trying to hang them from hastily constructed gallows on the front lawn are other options.
It is interesting to note that our homegrown American version of fascism is notably more dishonest and pusillanimous than the old European version, which appears from historical accounts to have taken itself very seriously indeed. The conservative Republicans in the US Senate who supported Mr. Trump’s recent activity publicly pretended to base their decision on the constitutionality of the proceedings rather than the evidence, which they famously ignored during the actual trial, preferring instead to doodle on bits of paper, look at their mobile phones, conserve with one another, laugh at the absurdity of it all, or in some cases simply not show up to hear at all. It was a comically disingenuous position because, of course, the very first order of business was to decide the constitutionality of the trial, so continuing to pretend that was still an issue in the next phase showed the typical fascist scorn for democratic government and law. A few unusually dishonest characters, such as the slippery fascist Senator “Moscow Mitch” McConnell of Kentucky, even delivered post election speeches trying to muddy the water by saying that although they voted to acquit the man of all wrong doing they certainly didn’t mean to suggest the man did no wrong. This sort of Orwellian doublespeak was perfectly predictable because fascists here in the USA have long felt public pressure to dissemble, which they call by various names such as “political correctness” and “cancel culture,” and which they portray as requiring them to say things they don’t really mean and no one is meant to take literally. One day one hopes they will attain the level of courage of their erstwhile European fellows in the German Nazi Party, for example, and declare their allegiance to the fascist cause, but for now it’s apparently meant to be some sort of open secret. Something to be winked at, and winked at hard, by those in the fold, but officially still denied in public. According to contemporary American conservative / fascist political strategy, this is apparently known as “flooding the zone with shit.”
Of course, the mere fact that American conservative and Republican fascists in the US Senate are now supporting future political violence and domestic terrorism instigated by American politicians up to and including future presidents of the USA does not necessarily spell the impending demise of American democracy. We still have a large group of people and one political party, the Democratic Party, who remain big believers in American democracy, and one hopes and assumes they will do everything they can, on their own, and over the determined and likely fanatical opposition of the fascists, to shore up our political democracy and prevent political violence in the future. However, it’s very much a touch and go situation right now. The very large contingent of American voters who now clearly support anti-democratic fascism and political violence as superior alternatives to peaceful democracy is not going anywhere soon. The titanic battle in the USA between the forces of democracy and fascism, decades in the making, will likely continue for decades to come. At least no reasonable person can still deny the situation at hand, so in that sense at least we may have finally made some progress. But it’s important right now that all patriotic and democracy loving Americans fight the intellectual and moral cancer of conservative and Republican fascism at the ballot box. Long live American democracy!