American Fascism

Posted in Uncategorized on May 17, 2008 by delphiote

Lately, I’ve had the words from Rage Against the Machine’s “Ashes in the Fall” running around in my head:

This is the new sound
Just like the old sound
Just like the noose wound
Over the new ground

Listen to the fascist sing
Take hope here
War is elsewhere
You were chosen
This is god’s land
Soon well be free
Of blot and mixture
Seeds planted by our
Forefathers hand

This is because my eyes and ears keep encountering questions about Barak Obama’s “genuine American-ness.” My brain wishes whatever mouths and fingers render these pseudo-thoughts corporeal would knock it off for a while. It’s like a psychic knee to my mental groin. The latest assault on my thinking parts was a passage from Kathleen Parker quoted on Glenn Greenwald’s Blog:

It’s about blood equity, heritage and commitment to hard-won American values. And roots…

We love to boast that we are a nation of immigrants — and we are. But there’s a different sense of America among those who trace their bloodlines back through generations of sacrifice.

GAH! My MIND! Okay. The pain is passing. Sorry I had to do that to you.

But to anyone paying attention, there’s nothing special about this quote. You hear things like this all the time on talk radio. This is just one example of a common theme embraced by the political right in this country lately. The irony that the people who constantly draw analogies between their enemies and the Nazis of World War II regularly and unapologetically employ fascist language seems lost on the general public. Why is this hypocrisy not part of our national dialog? Is our knowledge of history just too shallow? It seems we don’t recognize actual fascism when we see it:

Fascism is a government, faction, movement, or political philosophy that raises nationalism, and frequently race, above the individual and is characterized by a centralized autocratic state governed by a dictatorial head, stringent organization of the economy and society, and aggressive repression of opposition.

We have this idea in our culture that what happened in Germany was the result of some magical spell cast by the evil Hitler. We forget that a population of people like us supported him because he employed precisely this kind of rhetoric.

The new sound of American Fascism sounds very much like the old sound of fascism.