Fascism? In my America?

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“When facism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross” ~Sinclair Lewis

I’m such a big fan of quotes, anyone that knows me, knows that this is true. This particular quote is from Sinclair Lewis, an author, philosopher and all around amazing man. The picture shows it emblazoned across Republican cheerleader Sarah Palin, wrapped up in an American flag. Essentially, I want to dish a little bit about fascism and the rise of fascism in America and American life – both from Republicans and Democrats. Before I bother anyone, I’d like to stress that I’m not calling either party fascists, nor am I calling Sarah Palin a fascist, it’s just a poignant picture expressing my views on the subject.

The first thing we need to think about is the rise of fascism. German fascism, specifically in the form of Hitler and the Nazi party, rose because of a Germany disillusioned and facing tremendous inflation after loosing WWI. They were essentially being blamed for the entire war, causing tremendous animosity between Germans and the rest of Europe. Italian fascism, with Mussolini and the blackshirts/camicie nere, arose because Italy involved itself in WWII with the expectation of getting certain rewards. Although they were on the winning side, they did not get what they felt that they “deserved” for taking part in the war,  and what they were promised.

Before I begin to draw parallels to America’s current situation, I want to be sure that we’re all on the same page regarding what fascism actually is. Wikipedia[2] explains that “Fascism, pronounced /ˈfæʃɪzəm/, is a radical and authoritarian nationalist political ideology. Fascists seek to organize a nation according to corporatist perspectives, values, and systems, including the political system and the economy.” Now, although most people I don’t think consider Nazism technically Fascism, there are so many strong parallels, that I would follow in the footsteps of my World History teacher, sophomore year, and link Nazism and Fascism. Nazism is, for me, Fascism with strong social darwinist undertones and a few different types of racism. In any case, Fascism can be generally be characterized by strong, strong nationalist currents, which comes along with a belief that “we” are better than “them.” Because of this, it’s not a large step to move toward racism and Anti-semitism, as as done by the Nazi party. Fascists generally see the nation as a creature, a being created of every member of the government and laity, which means that one must do everything in one’s power to keep this beast healthy and safe. The final important characteristic of fascism is that they generally see groups that haven’t been assimilated into the belly of the nation as inferior or downright nefarious. You can see where the small, closed Jewish communities, called shtetls, would be seen as a bad thing, here.

So, finally, we come to America. Most find the thought of fascism coming to America shocking, and moreover ridiculous, however we must remember that, as the Sinclair Lewis quote explains, fascism changes drastically based on the culture that it is bred in. American bred fascism is going to look very different from nazism or Italian Fascism because it draws on the traditional religious, social and cultural beliefs and values of the area. Fascism prevails because it draws on the individual prejudices of the area that it is involved with.

The first characteristic is lauding authoritarian government. From both sides of American politics lately, authoritarian governments are being cheered, because the country needs protecting from, you know, those scary brown people with the odd languages.  We’re embracing our government to protect us from the “Other,” and both the democrats and the republicans would urge us to believe that Americans as a whole are bumbling idiots, so we need mommy government to take care of us. This is simply not true. While the vast majority of Americans are indeed confused and uninformed about the world around them, it’s certainly not because they have some kind of stupid predisposition. Rather, it is because American culture condemns intelligence, and no one is making an effort to spread knowledge. We are forced into the open arms of authoritarianism, because the tools to take care of ourselves are being deprived to us. This is incredibly similar to what happened, particularly in Italy. Propaganda and misinformation are used to make the people believe what they need to believe, information is spread only on a “need-to-know basis.” American propaganda is just as much propaganda as the Nazi kind.

As I’ve briefly touched on, fascism embraces ethnic and racial tensions and uses them to influence the people. Americans have strong prejudices against…essentially anyone who isn’t a rich, straight, white, Christian male. Now, although there isn’t anything inherently wrong with Christians or straight people or anything else, the American breed of fascism embraces this prejudice to turn the majority of the American population against various groups, such as homosexuals, Jews, Arabs, Muslims, Mexicans, the list could go on and on. We, as Americans, need to see that we have these prejudices, and not allow them to be played up to our detriment.

Finally, a word on how we can prevent the spread of “American fascism:” First, and possibly most importantly, we mustn’t allow ourselves to be drawn to the allure of authoritarian government. As I’m fond of saying, everything would definitely be a lot easier under an authoritarian dictatorship. Life would be dictated to you, dissidents would be killed and everything would run smoothly. But is it right? That’s the important question each of us need to ask ourselves before allowing any of our ideological flaws to come out. Is the hateful, discriminatory speech you’re about to release right? I’ve talked your ear off, if you’ve made it this far through my spiel, I’ve got a lot of respect for you, thank you for listening. Please, feel free to leave comments, especially if you feel like my analysis is faulty or off in some way.

Smash the fash.

[1] https://vejewtarianpolyglot.files.wordpress.com/2010/07/fascist-palin.jpg?w=232

[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fascism

Airplane, airplane, fly me away

We’re en route to San Francisco, staying with a friend living in San Jose. We received terrible treatment at the hands of the airport, but my first experience flying with Alaska Airlines was just great. I was surprised at how efficiently they ran things, even being a small airline.

Of course, my most hilarious mishap was at a pizza stand. This God-awful hag, with a hypocritical mocking smile on her face had the audacity to say rude and dirty things about my family and the other customers waiting in line, straight to our faces. She hid behind a perceived language barrier, but I understood every word she said. Don’t you find that irritating when people assume you can’t understand them and just blurt out rude things? I’ve had really similar experiences dealing with Vietnamese-American immigrants. My mom works as a nail tech, therefore she receives quite a bit of experience with Asian-American nail artists. There’s a bit of stigma in the community against white women protruding into, what is perceived, as an Asian-American only area of business. It’s somewhat interesting, if infuriating at times. Feh.

I’ve really had a great experience on the way, although I surprised myself when we flew into San Jose. For some reason, I had it in my head that we were flying into the San Francisco airport, so, indeed, coming into San Jose left me very confused. Nonetheless, I’m looking forward to a change in scenery. Things are looking up 🙂

Shalom, aloha and all that jazz

How are you? This is my “hello” post, it’s not really an introduction, I’ve already got one of those, but it’s just a sort of explanation of why I’m blogging at you, and what you can expect to be seeing around here.

I’m a writer. I’ve been writing crap for a while, but this last year or so I’ve begun to write less crap, you know, quality stuff. I’ve had poetry and prose published by the Greensilk Journal and Underground Voices Magazine as well as a few zines over the internet and countless things submitted to nonprofit organizations. The big thing about writing, for me, is that, if I don’t force myself to do it, it won’t get done. I love the actual writing process, but I have a lot of trouble motivating myself to pick up my pen or sit down at the keyboard and actually get it out. That’s what this blog is for! I’ve been writing tons in a journal, but what the hell, I want to share it with the world! The idea being that, if other people know that I’m writing things, then I’ll be more motivated to actually say things. I’ve had countless blogs over the years, but most of them were very narrow in scope, this one is big, I’m just going to let it free and write about my interests, whatever they are.

So, if you’re interested in reading, I plan to talk about my big passions. I referenced some of them in the title of the blog, but you’ll primarily be seeing posts about writing, vegetarianism, religion and Judaism, language and linguistics and politics. I’m also working on breeding the little critic inside of me, so I’d like to leave criticisms and reviews of various pieces of music, art, novels and literature I come across. I’d like to share things about books and authors that I’ve read and enjoyed, but especially those of authors that I know personally. If you live in or around the Austin area, I’ll do my best to publicize events, poetry readings, shops, gigs and the like that I hear about or I’ll be visiting.

What you’ll probably not be seeing much of is original poetry or prose by me. You’ll also be seeing very little self-promotion. I’m not using this blog as a way to help myself become more read, or to promote my writing. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not in any way one of those writers who guards their writing like it’s a holy secret, but I just think that this is not the place to do that. I may periodically post a link or something to where you can check out some of my writing if you’d like, but I don’t want to be forcing anyone to look at it. I don’t write for money, I don’t write because I want to be famous. I write because I enjoy it, and I’d like to use it to touch people’s lives or provide entertainment.

If you’re interested in contacting, feel free to hit that “Links” tab at the top and go check out my Facebook and leave me message. I’m not comfortable publishing my email address visibly, but if you ask over a message on Facebook, I’ll gladly give it out.

I hope you have an absolutely wonderful day. I’ll be updating hopefully sometime this week or weekend. :] Shalom, salaam, peace.