A friend recently sent me an article that has been floating around the internet for a while—in fact, I’d seen it previously. But for some reason, re-reading it crystallized several themes I’d been mulling over.
The article itself was a reprint from Free Inquiry magazine.
- Continuing expressions of nationalism
- Disdain for human rights
- Intense propaganda targeting enemies and scapegoats
- Sexism (including homophobia)
- Government control of mass media
- Obsession with national security (where any questioning of tactics is considered unpatriotic)
- Joinder of religion and government
- Powerful corporations protected by law
- Labor rights suppressed
- Obsession with crime and punishment, and glorification of police
- Rampant cronyism and corruption
- Fraudulent elections
Needless to say, America (even under Bush-Cheney) is not a fascist state, nor even close, although in several of these areas over the last few years our movement has been toward, not away from, the elements Britt describes. No, I think the reason this list of danger signals struck me with particular force when I read it this time was because of the timing involved.
Just the week before, the New Jersey Supreme Court had ruled that “denying commited same-sex couples the financial and social benefits given their married heterosexual counterparts bears no substantial relationship to a legitimate government purpose.” The Republicans responded with what I can only characterize as glee; given their gloomy electoral prospects, the
Can we spell “scapegoating”?
This was just one more example of the unrelenting attacks on the gay community that have become almost reflexive on the part of the Republican party. Here in
I can’t help being nostalgic for the Republican Party I used to know. When I ran for Congress as a Republican, in 1980, my positions in support of gay rights created virtually no comment. I was considered a typical, conservative Republican—too conservative for many other Republicans, who voted instead for Andy Jacobs, my Democratic opponent. Today, that Republican Party no longer exists. I miss it—and I don’t recognize the party that has taken its place.
Reading Britt’s article reminded me why I left. Too many of the positions trumpeted by today’s version of the GOP are positions uninformed by the history he recounts, held by folks who don’t understand where such positions can lead.
If we aren’t eternally vigilant, it could happen here.