When fascism comes to America
In his 1935 novel on the rise of fascism in America, “It can’t happen here,” writes Sinclair Lewis, “But he also saw that in America the struggle was confused by the fact that the worst fascists were those who disowned the word ‘fascism’ and preached slavery to capitalism in the style of constitutional and traditional freedom of Native Americans.
The white replacement theory in America has deep roots in the efforts of slave-owning southern white plantation owners to protect their wealth and power and the lost cause of the post-Civil War era, mixed with European fascism (described in Encyclopedia Britannica online) of Mussolini and Hitler and modern neo-Nazism.
Its premise is that white, native-born, non-Hispanic, European-descent Americans are being deliberately replaced. Proponents say white America is threatened by the declining white birth rate and by women making their own reproductive decisions, some immigrants and refugees, same-sex relationships and the continued increase in inter-mixed relationships between women and men. non-Hispanic whites and others and children born to them. Propagandists blame feminists, Jews (George Soros), scientists, teachers, respected doctors and anyone who does not subscribe to the minutiae of their particular religious group. White nationalists claim that socialism, communism, cultural Marxism, elites and awakened leftists are preventing them from fulfilling their special planetary manifest destiny.
Like all fascist movements, this nativist conspiracy theory needs a villain, so the promoters choose to portray the Democratic Party as the driving force behind all of these imaginary threats. The supporters of this conspiracy claim to be true patriots and victims of oppression.
Their last stop, as is the case with authoritarian movements everywhere: if their first attempts to take control of the government fail, they will use force and violence to gain the upper hand.
We defeated these same fascists in World War II. It can’t happen here… or is it possible?
Far-right organizers and their armed thugs who tried to intimidate government officials in Lansing in April 2020 and later around the state are militarizing the uncertainty that still accompanies a global crisis (the COVID-19 pandemic) to sow distrust of American institutions and destabilize society. Their lies include portraying SARS-CoV-2 as an evil conspiracy and misinformation about the disease itself, vaccines and masks. The Big Lie about the 2020 election and the Jan.6 insurgency attempt by its supporters serves the same purposes. European fascists used similar tactics, attacking the wounds left after World War I.
The Sedition Caucus has attempted to obstruct the legitimate and peaceful transfer of power and is now busy passing laws that restrict voters’ ability to vote, allow interference with the counting of votes, and nullify election results in order to preserve the power. The current Michigan Legislative Assembly election bills and the Secure MI Vote petition campaign are prime examples of this. Their solution to problems that never existed is to pass laws that deprive citizens of their right to vote. It’s dangerous.
Most of us haven’t learned much about the contributions made by indigenous peoples, minorities, non-European immigrants, and women during our traditional upbringing, so we haven’t learned much. other about the world apart from the places we have lived and our own travels. . We cannot value what we do not know.
We would be a better nation if we taught children about democracy and about Americans of all races, ethnicities, religions and cultural traditions and learn from their stories. These men, women and children cultivated our food and fiber, waged our wars, constructed our buildings and infrastructure, made the things we use and wear, transported us, fed us and healed us, protected us and took care of us. Their skills and hard work have made America great, through their contributions in business, government, agriculture, literature, mathematics, science, medicine, engineering and technology, through their arts and culture. They still do today.
Hatred of fascism comes from fear, resentment, anger and greed. It has no place here or elsewhere. Instead of drawing the circle so small that democracy, freedom, and opportunity are only available to a subset of Americans, let’s make it bigger enough to include us all.
Pam Taylor is a retired Lenawee County teacher, environmental activist and former recipient of the Lenawee Democratic Party of the Year Award. She can be reached at email@example.com.