I'm old enough to remember the specific events which mark the path by which the United States abandoned democracy, beginning with the Kennedy Assassination, traversing Vietnam, and ending with Gerald Ford's pardon of Richard Nixon. Ever since that time, as Steven C. Day writes in The Wages of Betrayal, "Americans have been sleepwalking through democracy." If there had been a desire on the part of the American people to hold on to the political rights and traditions established by those who stood up to the world's most powerful military for their benefit, Gerald Ford would have been impeached in Nixon's stead, and Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan would never have been elected, much less the Bushes.
This country would thus be a much different place than the budding corporofascist dictatorship which is being built up slowly so as not to disturb the mental slumber of those who, as P.M. Carpenter describes them in his Attack of the Right-Winging Befuddled, are "the result of far too many years of gluing themselves to simpleminded talk radio and assorted right-wing scribblings of overbearing oversimplification." The numbers of these political zombies are sufficient to smother notice of calls to action, such as that issued by former United States Senator Gary Hart, who proclaims, "The odd combination of the religious right dictating personal morality, 'neoconservatism' preaching unilateral interventionism, and radical libertarian tax cuts have cast our Republic adrift from its moorings. Restoration of common sense to government is long overdue."
Unfortunately, as David S. Broder reported on September 27, 2007: "The combined influence of White House and [Republican] congressional leadership — and what I would have to call herd instinct — prevailed."
Americans are raised to believe that we are superior to the rest of the world in every way, and yet one has to wonder if there is any basis in truth to believe such a testament. A visibly angry Bill Clinton recently exploded over the politics of distraction that the Republican party has employed to avoid the public confronting their blind support for failed GOP policies. [See: WMV Download, MOV Download] Such tactics would be ineffective if the American people were as intellectually astute as we like to believe we are.
And what are these tactics? John Wiley & Sons, Inc., publishers of The Conservatives Have No Clothes by Greg Anrig, former Washington correspondent for Money magazine, list them in their front flap promotional review of the book:
The first step is to drown out attention paid to a genuine policy problem, like abysmal inner-city schools or Osama bin Laden, with alarms over an imaginary crisis like the failure of all of America's public schools or weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
The second step is to trump up reasons why the imaginary problem requires weakening the government's domestic capabilities, as with private school vouchers, or exerting unilateral force abroad, as with the Iraq invasion.
The third step is to make up stories explaining why the failure isn't really a failure.
The fourth and final step is to leave it to the Democrats to solve both the original problem and the new one created by the conservative policy.
How can any American believe in policies that, if followed, will leave the majority of their fellow citizens worse off than they started? Do they not, as author Naomi Klein reports being asked by a Swedish grad student visiting the United States, "have a belief that they are building a better world?"
That would depend upon what the definition of "better" is. As Klein writes as a part of her response to this pointed question, "The ideology in question holds that self-interest is the engine that drives society to its greatest heights."
She quotes Alan Greenspan's autobiography concerning the effect of Ayn Rand on Greenspan's views: "What she did…was to make me think why capitalism is not only efficient and practical, but also moral…" and to hell with those who don't benefit – like that poor slob in Florida who found Australian coins in his vending machines. It's extremely bad to affect the profitability of the large corporation, but I guess it's OK to rip off the working class entrepreneur, isn't it?
So what is one to think about those whose beliefs parallel Rand's and Greenspan's? Maybe BuzzFlash has the right description: "Right wingers aren't really conservative; they are radical wrecking crews." It's OK to pull down the pillars of the temple as long as those who are harmed are The Other, as in The Conservative Culture War. Author Paul Waldman describes this culture war as "a worldview that divides Us and Them." That makes it much easier to stifle moralistic qualms about "defending our way of life" which then allow those mindless amoral minions of the conservative side of The Conservative Culture War to ask the outrageous question, “Don’t you agree that several GIs killed each week is a small price to pay for the oil we need?”
One might direct this fool tool to have to ask this question directly of those who were wounded by members of the 57% of Iraqis (93% of Sunnis and 50% of Shia) who recently told BBC/ABC News pollsters that attacks on coalition forces are acceptable. These casualties might not take that question well, as they aren't yet being properly cared for at Walter Reed despite the disclosures of "systemic problems" at US military hospitals many months ago and the subsequent empty political promises to fix things. It's obviously more important by far for the American military to pay large bonuses to attract new recruits than it is to care for "he who has borne the battle" for domination and control of the world's petroleum supply.
But that Q&A with military patients isn't ever going to happen. It's easier to dismiss the word of the Iraqis, for "they’re just Iraqis. What do they know?"
They know much more than the Democrats! The American people sent the Democrats to the Congress last November with enough power to control the action, and yet they have voted overwhelmingly to regularly provide the White House with the financial means and political authority to go to war, most recently a "back-door" authorization to wage preemptive war against Iran. This sorry sheet of Bush-lackey crap-craniums includes Democratic presidential candidate Clinton, while Barack Obama avoided being fixated in a position by not voting at all.
So who ya gonna call when you need a hero to defend you? When one has run out of temporal champions to tilt against the windmills of greed and corruption, one might be swayed to turn to the supernatural. But as CIA veteran Ray McGovern points out, "When the truth about our country’s policy becomes clear, can we summon the courage to address it from a moral perspective? The Germans left it up to the churches; the churches collaborated." The Rev. Martin Niemoller admitted this fact to Leo Stein, who in 1941 was imprisoned at Sachsenhausen with Niemoller. Stein wrote about his experience in The National Jewish Monthly, and related how Niemoller told hm that Hitler promised him "on his word of honor, to protect the Church, and not to issue any anti-Church laws. He also agreed not to allow pogroms against the Jews… I really believed… I am paying for that mistake now; and not me alone, but thousands of other persons like me."
So it is within America today, with many churches – bought and paid for with federal "faith-based" grants – believing that being told what they want to hear is grounded in reality. One can't render unto by Caesar if they don't abide by Caesar's will! They don't want to admit, I'm sure, that they are selling out their faith, and their faithful, for a few pieces of tarnished silver. Make that inflated and lower-value copper-nickel sandwich coins. But that is of little importance as the filthy lucre will achieve the goal: the purchased churchmen won't be asking themselves "when do you think the average German realized that he or she was living under a fascist dictatorship?" as Chris Rowthorn is in When America Went Fascist.
Daniel Ellsberg pointed out one clue in his September 20, 2007 speech, noting: "Richard Cheney and his now chief of staff David Addington… believe we need a different kind of government now, an Executive government essentially, rule by decree … the president says “I decide what I enforce. I decide what the law is. I legislate.”
Another clue might be the advancing technology which would facilitate such a government – as is now being installed in Chicago – paid for with Homeland Security funds.
Chris Rowthorn does admit that you could be forgiven for "thinking that it's business as usual in the United States of America", but points out how close we are to Chicago's technological wonder being used against all Americans:
Consider the factors that could easily unleash outright fascism in the United States: the accelerating collapse of the US dollar; the follow-on effects from the subprime loan debacle; soaring energy prices (peak oil); catastrophic weather events caused by global warming; and, of course, the one thing that Bush's entire foreign policy seems almost guaranteed to bring about: another large-scale terrorist attack on American soil. Any one of these by itself could trigger outright fascism. Combine two or more, and American fascism is 100% certain.
Doubt that could happen? Then you aren't paying attention to current events in Burma, where the people of Burma are protesting a lack of democracy triggered by a 200% increase in fuel prices. But should such an occurrence happen here, The New York Times reported on February 4, 2006 that The Army Corps of Engineers awarded a contract worth up to $385 million to Kellogg Brown & Root, the Halliburton subsidiary, for building temporary detention centers for "new programs that require additional detention space."
And just who is intended to fill that expensive taxpayer-funded "additional detention space"? Try looking here for a hint. If you really need one, that is.