The real danger of fascism is its creep factor.
By Stacey Warde
For nearly eight years, I’ve tried without success to describe the radical shift that has taken place in our government.
Each time I’ve approached the task, I’ve had to throw up my hands in frustration because the only model that makes sense to me is the one called fascism.
But that word doesn’t go over too well in polite conversation. It evokes horrors too horrible to imagine. The reality, however, is that fascism isn’t just about jackbooted thugs and state-sponsored industry built on slavery and death to one’s enemies.
The danger of fascism is its seemingly benign mechanisms of control — fear, conformity, the state’s intermingling with religion and corporate enterprise — for keeping a populace in check, for making its people feel content with the way things are and never be quick to protest occasional violations of human rights and infringements on theirs’ or others’ liberties.
The danger of fascism is its seemingly magical ability — through brilliant propaganda outlets like Fox News — to keep a people resigned to whatever the government does in their name, making them feel secure through its adventures in endless wars and policing the globe and the homeland.
The other great thing about fascism is its capacity for supporting, even indulging, denial on the most massive scale: “We don’t torture. …You can trust us. …If you’re not doing anything wrong, you’ve got nothing to worry about….”
Our phones are tapped, elections rigged, bogus wars planned and executed, real and imagined enemies created, and police acquire more powers to intimidate and harass while more rights are taken away from citizens.
Churches pray for the end of the world and offer their children as sacrifices for the war machine, and collude with the government colluding with the corporations and financial institutions — promising blood, anything, for National Security.
Soon, we who protest have been silenced, or marginalized. The Supreme Leader has the right to put anyone he considers a threat — U.S. citizens included — into prison indefinitely, without access to an attorney, or the right to confront his accusers, merely by declaring that person an “enemy combatant.”
The whole drama and theater of the fascist play draws its action from the government wedding itself to corporate interests — in the U.S., a nationalist religious fervor is thrown into the mix to make it all palatable.
Eventually, we all do what we are told — or suffer the consequences.
The real danger of fascism is its creep factor. It creeps up on us, and before we know it, we’ve become model citizens in the state that runs secret prisons and gulags around the world. We approve and justify state-sponsored kidnapping, torture and preemptive war. Fascism is creepy.
Like many others, I’ve known for a long time that America has changed. It’s morphed into something gross, something the founders of this nation would not have recognized. They would have fought hard to turn the country back to its original radical design of guaranteeing the liberties of all its citizens, including the right to speak out against the government and to turn tyranny on its head.
Still, I’m at a loss for words when it comes to describing what has happened to us since 911, the same way that Cambria artist Donald Archer was at a loss to describe the political shape-shifting of George W. Bush and those who helped put him in the White House. How does anyone make sense of something as horrible as the loss of liberty and the emergence of something darker and more sinister?
Pondering it is a crazy-making venture, as Donald will tell you. He quit trying to write about the current state of American politics because it took him out of his game. It put a damper on his artistic passion; so he turned to his art. In a fury of bold, angry splashes of color and form, Donald put his tormented thoughts and feelings down on 29 canvasses in the space of only a few months. He calls the series, “State of the Union.” It depicts scenes as complex as the terror of shock and awe to the simple failure and sinking of liberty.
One of these paintings, “Puppets,” Donald kindly offered us in this election season to use for this month’s cover. Additionally, beginning with this edition, we’ll be featuring selections from the “State of the Union” series, which you can also find on Donald’s web page, www.donaldarcher.com.
To find out more about Donald’s work, turn to page 17 for Dell Franklin’s Rogue of the Month interview, where Donald discusses how he gave form to the anger and frustration he has felt over what has happened to this country since 911. We think you’ll find Donald be a breath of refreshingly honest air in a nation stifled by fear and ignorance.
If we can pool the talents and passions and resources of men and women like Donald, we might just stop the frightening tilt toward fascism that has made the United States, a nation founded on democratic ideals, a stranger to the world and to itself. We might reawaken ourselves to the legacy of freedom that once served as a bulwark against fascism. §
Stacey Warde is editor of The Rogue Voice. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.