Comparing the current direction of the United States to the direction Germany was taking in the 1930s can cost you your job, as Ed Gernon can tell you. (What better way to prove the country isn't headed for fascism than to punish voices of even mild dissent?)
The miniseries that Gernon commented on, which I feel strangely compelled to mention HAS NOTHING WHATSOEVER TO TEACH US ABOUT THE PRESENT STATE OF U.S. GOVERNMENT OR SOCIETY, will soon be hurling its lesson-free pixels at you. Hitler: The Rise of Evil airs in two parts, May 18 and 20 on CBS at 9 p.m.
My friend Keythe Farley just forwarded me a revolting essay that, while possibly dangerous for children or other impressionable minds to read, serves as a good lesson in how NOT to think about this whole is-the-U.S.-headed-for-fascism issue. Personally, I think whoever wrote it should be fired (for starters).
When Democracy Failed: The Warnings of History
by Thom Hartmann
The 70th anniversary wasn't noticed in the United States, and was barely reported in the corporate media. But the Germans remembered well that fateful day seventy years ago - February 27, 1933. They commemorated the anniversary by joining in demonstrations for peace that mobilized citizens all across the world.
It started when the government, in the midst of a worldwide economic crisis, received reports of an imminent terrorist attack. A foreign ideologue had launched feeble attacks on a few famous buildings, but the media largely ignored his relatively small efforts. The intelligence services knew, however, that the odds were he would eventually succeed. (Historians are still arguing whether or not rogue elements in the intelligence service helped the terrorist; the most recent research implies they did not.)
But the warnings of investigators were ignored at the highest levels, in part because the government was distracted; the man who claimed to be the nation's leader had not been elected by a majority vote and the majority of citizens claimed he had no right to the powers he coveted. He was a simpleton, some said, a cartoon character of a man who saw things in black-and-white terms and didn't have the intellect to understand the subtleties of running a nation in a complex and internationalist world. His coarse use of language - reflecting his political roots in a southernmost state - and his simplistic and often-inflammatory nationalistic rhetoric offended the aristocrats, foreign leaders, and the well-educated elite in the government and media. And, as a young man, he'd joined a secret society with an occult-sounding name and bizarre initiation rituals that involved skulls and human bones.