President Bush has, over the course of his presidency, signed over 700 new laws, and almost every time has included a presidential statement to the effect that he will follow the new law only if he thinks it is constitutional (regardless of what the Supreme Court says) and only if it does not impede his agenda for making the United States safer from terrorism.
The Brady bill, signed years ago, already made it possible for the government to track every gun owner in the nation and to deny gun ownership to anyone the Federal government deems undesirable. Several states have also made it a felony to militarily train yourself or to belong to a paramilitary organization not sanctioned by the state or Federal governments, whether you train with them or not.
The Federal government passed the Real ID Act two years ago, not by virtue of its merits, but by hiding it in a bill to reauthorize budgeting for the Department of Justice. Add to this the Federal courts' rejection of our long accepted right not to be required to carry an identification document and the increasing arrogance of and detainment of citizens by our law enforcement community, it may not be too long before someone with a hat and overcoat steps up to you and says, "Papers, please," just like Nazi Germany in the movies.
Am I over-reacting? I think not. There have been countless cases in the past five years especially where citizens have been arrested for refusing to show identification when arbitrarily demanded by law enforcement officers. After the Oklahoma City bombing, all the members of an otherwise peaceful paramilitary group in Colorado were arrested, most for simply being associated with the group, some for merely being on their mailing list. Several Arab-Americans have been arrested in the past six years, detained for months, subjected to brutal interrogations. Some of them have been released without so much as an apology, others are still MIA. Congress recently passed a law requiring the president to cooperate with Congressional investigations, a law which the president signed, then summarily declared he was going to ignore with or without the Supreme Court declaring whether it was constitutional or not.
Add to all that the administration's labeling of anyone daring to oppose them as unAmerican or potential insurgents and the governments long standing position that Federal laws supercede state laws, especially when the state laws seek to protect the rights of American citizens, and the recipe is almost complete for the United States to become the Fourth Reich.
To understand why I say these things are evidence, let's look at the typical characteristics of a fascist society. A fascist state is one where the needs of the state are viewed as outweighing the rights and needs of individuals and local communities. The following points are symptomatic of a fascist state:
#1 - Powerful and continuing nationalism
Fascists try to wrap themselves in symbols of the nation and encourage others to do the same. Flags end up everywhere and anyone who resists this trend is looked upon with suspicion of seditious tendencies. In the United States, this comes in the form of politicians rallying people behind ideas like a Constitutional Amendment making flag burning or desecration a Federal offense.
#2 - Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights
Read "approval of torture, extended imprisonment without charges, and denial of habeas corpus" in this one. All things our current administration is guilty of. Might as well throw in President Bush's effectively ignoring our right of representation by ignoring the laws passed by our duly elected Congress here, too.
#3 - Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause
Okay, this one is blatant. Let me think ... Iranians, terrorists, latent communists, sex offenders (all of them), anyone opposing the administration's policies, anyone who objects to the war in Iraq, and anyone wearing tennis shoes on planes. Oh, and let's not forget anyone who dares spank their kids for misbehaving.
#4 - Supremacy of the Military
What does that mean? In part it means the build-up of military forces and weapons at the expense of social support services, especially the cutting of funding for them that is diverted into military spending. Plenty of that going on these days.
#5 - Rampant Sexism
This includes "strengthening" gender roles, discouragement of alternate lifestyles including homosexuality, bisexuality, and BDSM, which the administration all considers deviant or asocial behaviors. None of that going on you say? What about the push for gender-specific education and gender-segregation in education? Or the push to outlaw same-sex unions? Pink and black triangles anyone?
#6 - Controlled Mass Media
Let's see here, control over the media ...
- Imprisonment of reporters for refusing to divulge sources
- Governmental censorship of key events by failure to make public notices
- Illegal propoganda aimed at American citizens
- Official denial of official actions
- Arrest of reporters who "get too close" to the truth
Shall I go on?
#7 - Obsession with National Security
Does this really need any explanation or examples? Look at today's newspaper. Bet there is a story related to this issue again today.
#8 - Religion and Government are Intertwined
Officially they deny this has happened, but many years ago the Supreme Court recognized humanism as fitting the legal definition of a religion. Humanism is, for all intents, the refusal of religious icons as inspiring the concepts of right and wrong in favor of humans themselves embodying such concepts. Just look at how atheists have influenced our social policies over the past 40 years.
#9 - Corporate Power is Protected
Okay, several points on this one:
- Corporate welfare (bailing out bankrupt corporations, subsidies, etc.)
- Immunity to Constitutional provisions (freedom of speech/privacy)
- Deregulation of industries (lowering safety and other expectations)
- Tax breaks of shipping jobs overseas
- Ignoring of anti-trust and monopolistic action laws (wanna go to Walmart anyone?)
No doubt there is more, but I am getting tired here.
#10 - Labor Power is Suppressed
Herein lies our dearly departed unions ... and any rights we had as corporate employees. (Walmart again, anyone?)
#11 - Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts
Okay, one side of this is obvious, the other, well, almost as obvious. On one hand we have multiple professors and teachers loosing their jobs or getting arrested for politically incorrect views and on the other we have "art" that insults the meaning of the word, entering into the realm of total obscenity in many cases while true, meaningful art languishes near death for funding.
#12 - Obsession with Crime and Punishment
How long have our politicians cried out every election "I'm tougher on crime than my opponent is!" Our jails and prisons are bursting at the seams and our leaders are all-too-ready to put more in them.
#13 - Rampant Cronyism and Corruption
Don't get me started on this one, you will be reading for the next three days.
#14 - Fraudulent Elections
Want some real insights into this issue? Read Arianna Huffington's "How to Overthrow the Government" and you will learn more than you want to know, I promise you.
Most lists like this stop here, but I am going to add one more to give you something to think about.
#15 - Charismatic/Popular Leader/Dictator
When Hitler and Mussolini came to power, they did so on the backs of peasants and down-trodden citizens whom they wooed with promises of a better future under their "benign" rule. I think this is the only thing missing before the United States becomes totally fascist.
From here, I leave you to think about all this, but first, I shall give you some sources for additional information.
First, Old American Century is the source of the original list I used in writing this blog entry. They have many links to support articles and information. I highly recommend them.
And second, a wonderful article from CommonDreams.org, The Rise of Fascism in America
And lastly, The Dawning of Fascism in America, an article from SpiritOne.com.
As our good Lord said more than once, "He that hath ears, let him hear."