The Other "F" Word: "Chosen by the Grace of God"?
You could fill your lederhosen with razor blades and ride a bicycle down some
steps. You could administer yourself a boiling-hot clyster of Drano and minced
cactus. You could irritate a pride of lions whilst bedecked in a ham waistcoat.
But why take the easy way out? It's better to stand and fight. I refer to the
deeply Sisyphean task of opposing the neofascist regime which has taken over
the United States. There, I did it. I used the word 'fascist', which places me
in that camp, even if the word was prefixed with the modifier 'neo' as in 'o
neo f the worst ideas ever'.
It's been a long time coming, and not just because of Bob Dole's Viagra
(humorous joke, get it? Long time never mind). For all its strenuous efforts, I
could never give the Bush administration that much credit before. Fascism is
such a heavy term, so loaded with images of greasy newsreel dictators in Sam
Browne belts and tall boots. Too many commentators leapt on the 'Orwellian'
and 'fascist' bandwagons too quickly into Bush's sic volo, sic jubeo term of
office. After all, wasn't the WWI Sedition Act far worse than Ashcroft's Junior
Inquisition? How about the McCarthy Era, when a ventriloquist's dummy nearly
destroyed our nation's freedoms, just to deny Dalton Trumbo the screenwriting
credit for 'Roman Holiday'? For a long time I couldn't quite slap the 'F' word,
as fascism is coyly known among lefties, on Bush and his minions. No matter how
naughty the Man Who Would be President might be, for my tastes he never hit
that perfect Kafka note-- until recently. Him and his people weren't really
fascists. Just execrable excrudescent assholes. But 2003 has changed all that.
These people are fascists, and they make Mussolini look like a mezzafinook.
There is no component of American liberty of which they are unwilling to
relieve us, and no aspect of American life upon which they are unwilling to
relieve themselves. Where to begin? First, we must define 'fascism'. It is a
term like 'love', about which it can be said that everybody knows exactly what
it means, and nobody knows what they're talking about. Luckily I know
everything and so can clear the matter up, particularly if I consult
Mussolini's own diary, which I picked up on Ebay for a song (the song
was 'That's Amore' as sung by Dean Martin). For those not fluent in Italian, I
will paraphrase the definition before me in Il Duce's crabbed hand:
Fascism is an extreme right-wing ideology which embraces nationalism as the
transcendent value of society. The rise of Fascism relies upon the manipulation
of populist sentiment in times of national crisis. Based on fundamentalist
revolutionary ideas, Fascism defines itself through intense xenophobia,
militarism, and supremacist ideals. Although secular in nature, Fascism's
emphasis on mythic beliefs such as divine mandates, racial imperatives, and
violent struggle places highly concentrated power in the hands of a self-
selected elite from whom all authority flows to lesser elites, such as law
enforcement, intellectuals, and the media. What a rush. Must buy Clara a new
I couldn't have said it better myself. If we accept this general definition of
fascism, we can be forgiven for rushing to the bedroom and throwing some clean
underwear into a portmanteau ere catching the next train to Toronto. But we
must stand our ground, however eroded it may be. Our freedoms have been
undermined at home. Our nation has engaged in an outrageous military adventure
overseas, the tissue-thin justification for which has disappeared completely,
leaving America in the awkward position yclept 'hostile invader' by entities
such as the United Nations (you remember them, those nice colored folks over on
39th Street?) Meanwhile our states have mostly gone bankrupt, the first tax cut
during wartime since the 1840's more wealth for the wealthy- is in the works
while corporate feudalism runs rampant, our ability to respond to authentic
terrorist threats has been hobbled, the voting system has been co-opted by
digital pirates in the Republican party, the electoral system in general is
hostage to big money, our healthcare system is in meltdown, our national budget
is so far in the red we have to import ink from China just to keep up; the
prison population is exploding while our schools implode, civil rights are
verklempt and vivisepulturated, our businesses are folding by entire sectors
while the military-industrial complex thrives, and our environment is sinking
into crisis with the North Pole melted and environmental regulation evaporating
like so much ozone. Meanwhile, Jesus Christ is sleeping in the Lincoln Bedroom.
But because the American media has ceased to make its own news, relying instead
on a kind of government-hosted charabanc tour for journalists, nobody is
questioning this lunatic national retrenchment in a public forum- instead, we
demonize Arabs and teenagers and black people and homosexuals and poor folks
and drug users and anyone, God bless them, who has ever performed fellatio. And
that's only the tip of the scheisseberg. These are all harbingers and symptoms
and outcomes of fascism. But still, fascism is such an extreme notion. Once
could argue that these many fresh hells are the result of simple criminal
mismanagement, and for some time I have been so inclined (to argue thus, not to
criminally mismanage. For the latter I'd need an MBA.)
What specific enormity cemented the notion of Bush and his cabal as 'fascists'
in my mind? If I could sit out all of the above, surely nothing could compel me
to apply the scarlet 'F' to these vendible quantum-larrikins and their
erstwhile leader, the Ivy-League demagogue bogtrotter George W. Bush. I can
tell you the very moment, and if you missed it, it's worth finding a dog-eared
copy of the video and viewing it entire, although I caution you to keep a
bucket handy- these images are too graphic for many American stomachs.
An aircraft carrier in the Pacific, about an hour from San Diego, California.
You could row that far. A couple of jets on deck as props, lots of giddy
sailors. Here comes an airplane! It lands in the accustomed manner. Out springs
the Boy Prince, the Dauphin of D.C., the VIP of the GOP, George W. Bush in full
military flight suit, with his ejector harness giving him the worst moose
knuckle in presidential history. A bit of video for the election commercials
just in case the Democrats don't all curl up and die on their own, what's the
harm in that? I wish it was that simple. But what we really saw in that moment
was a coup d'etat. The president isn't supposed to wear a uniform. He's a
civilian. Rough Rider Teddy Roosevelt strapped on a pistol now and then and
we've had generals who made president before. That Kennedy fellow was a war
hero, too, and Bush Senior, the one who got elected, did his bit in the Pacific
while Grampy Prescott was supporting the Nazis in Europe. But when they were
president none of these men put on military uniforms. They understood that
there are three sacred lines with regard to American democracy that can never
be crossed: the line between privilege and power, the line between Church and
State, and the line between civilian and military leadership. Cross any of
them, and you're at fascism's doorstep. Cross two, you're on the threshold with
your hand on the doorknob.
George W. Bush, son of unimaginable privilege, crossed the first line when he
was selected to be president by the Supreme Court and accepted the job. He
crossed the second line when he revealed his divine imperative, such as when
(after the disaster of 9/11) he spoke of being "chosen by the grace of God to
lead at that moment." (attributed by Tim Goeglein, deputy direct
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