We hear it all the time Nazi, Fascist, Hitler. The comparisons are routine and common place. What recent President hasn’t been compared to the third Reich in some fashion? Democrats call Republicans fascists and vice versa. It is probably the most overused metaphor, analogy, comparison or derogatory name used in politics… and outside of politics. We all know the Soup Nazi (from the Seinfeld show). We call ISIS Islamo-fascists, whatever that means. Fox is the Nazi channel (according to liberals). The theme appears to be that Nazi’s are bad people.
What is Fascism anyhow? According to Webster it is a philosophy that puts nation before the individual. It often has a racial connotation as well. While racism may not have escaped our constitution, nationalism did.
Fascism and autocracy go hand in hand. Democracy is the medicine of autocracy and we should take it in heavy doses. But, it is not a guarantee of freedom. It takes diligence on our part.
Let’s go back to Bush and Obama and the prospect of at least one probably scares the hell out of you! Our freedoms were severely damaged during the Bush (W) administration. The Patriot Act was one of the more heinous laws passed in American history. Habeas Corpus was trampled on during the course of his administration. The Democrat reaction was predictable: Outrage over rights violations and naming Bush a Nazi. The Republican response was equally predictable: Total silence.
Fast forward into Obama era. The Obama administration continued the collection of our data coercing utility companies in the process. He took it to the ultimate level and personally authorized the execution of US citizens overseas. The Democrat reaction was predictable: Total silence. The Republican Reaction was equally predictable: Outrage over Obama not being a US citizen and naming him a Nazi.
Now we have a new leadership that claims to be different. He has an opportunity to turn us away from this path, stop massive data collection and giving execution orders on US citizens. While nothing of consequence has happened either way, the initial signs are not great. Trump’s lawyers suggest that he can kill an investigation into his own actions putting him above the law as shown in the NY Times. Trump also appeared to joke about a lifetime term but his congratulations to President Xi Jinping over his lifetime appointment appeared less jocular.
At some level we can’t blame our politicians. It is the reaction, or lack of reaction from we the people that is concerning. Democracy is not the end, but a means to an end. I do not know of any better political system to safeguard freedom, but it is NOT a guarantee. We must be diligent and put individuals (us) ahead of government or party.
And that’s the problem. Globally there seems to be less concern over the importance of democracy as shown in Foa and Mounck’s 2016 study. Another recent poll of Republicans showed that if Trump wished to cancel the 2020 election due to illegal alien votes, 52% would approve, keeping in mind that it was Trump who forwarded this theory without evidence. Polls aren’t everything but they are a warning sign and this poll suggests that we have lost confidence in American Democracy. It would be a blow to the world if that happened.
When are Democrats and Republicans going to hold their own party to account? When are you?