Is it fascism yet? When they take away you right to vote, yeah, it might be. When the lieutenant governor of your state gets up before a group of ministers and proclaims “Christianity is under attack,” and that’s perfectly okay with everyone? Yeah, that’s a clue. When elections are rigged, yep. And when the media goes tone-deaf to all of the above, yes, you might be living in a fascist state.
You would think with all these poignant little road-signs on the highway to hell people’s ears would prick up. We’d recognize that fascism isn’t a good thing. At all.
Do you like college tuition going up incessantly until no one but the one-percent can afford to send their children to college? Do you like corporations deciding who should teach at your school? Do you want to see your tax dollars being used to teach religion in the classroom?
Do you like worrying about rigged voting machines? Made up wars? An amalgamation of religion, state and corporate thuggery running your daily life? A sneering, barely concealed contempt for you expressed by legislators, the governor, and people your state sends to congress?
Do you like being ignored by people who are using their political platform to enrich themselves at your expense, all the while rendering brutal judgment upon you for your reproductive choices, your selection of a spouse, your belief in science and reason as a foundation for responsible decision-making?
Do you like having your conversations monitored and your picture taken at protests? Do you like being corralled into containment pens by officials because you dared express yourself; pens located blocks from where your signs and voices will actually be seen or heard?
Do you like knowing that the people being allowed into the event are permitted concealed assault weapon, should you and your sign appear too dangerous for thugs in attendance?
Do you like a fanatical madman taking your state on a nightmare funhouse ride, so notoriously oppressive and patently un-American the whole world knows all about it?
I almost didn’t write this. I was so exhausted with the topic of Rick Scott and the absolute apathetic fish-faced stupidity of the Florida public, I almost just said “what the fuck am I doing this for?”
In fact, that’s precisely what I said. But then the voter purges happened. And as I did with the previous book Rick Scott: Enemy of the State, I got angry. And I got started.
But my question is, why aren’t you angry yet? We’re three years into this governor’s tenure here.
In seventh grade math we learned that the direction a line y axis over x axis, like a line describing the movement of the fluid inside a temperature gage, can be predicted by where it’s been, and how long it took for things to get the way they are now. This is called extrapolation. It’s a longish word that they used to teach in school. Likely as not this word has been banished; replaced with something dumber, duller and with less meaning.
In any event if we look at the past and the rate of change, we can then predict the future within a safe margin of error.
Rick and his far right buddies in the legislature on average make four or five major attacks to the U.S. Constitution during every legislative session. That means, mathematically speaking, the Constitution could be functionally wiped out by the time he finishes his term in office.
Since Rick Scott’s election we have seen laws drafted by the legislature to drug test the poor; to dissolve city councils and county commissions based on fiscal emergencies, the specifics of what is deemed “an emergency” are left fuzzy and vague. We’ve seen those in power cut early voting; intimidate, with hefty fines, those who would register people to vote. We’ve seen the governor uphold the Second Amendment and throw away the First. We’ve seen the governor involve himself in the academic curriculum of major universities. We’ve seen certain academic majors ruled “good” and others ruled “useless” by those in power.
Where does such “behavior” lead? Let’s look at the past for similar examples.
Because the rise of the Third Reich fails to alert the attentions of most Americans anymore – owing to the overuse of the metaphor, particularly by narrow-heads like Glenn Beck, thereby diluting its impact as an example – I am going to use the example of Chile here, instead.
General Augusto Pinochet made eradicating the constitution, and with it, all forms of liberalism, one of his top goals once he seized power of that South American nation by military junta, in 1973.
Trade unions were attacked. Newspapers were closed. Reporters intimidated with loss of employment and death. Teachers were marginalized.
He was supported by the United States and other allegedly civilized, “western” democracies because he painted himself as an Anti-communist. Along with his ruthless austerity measures, he adopted a Freidman brand of extreme capitalism that didn’t even bother promoting the lie of an eventual trickle-down.
Chile enjoyed three-hundred percent annual inflation at one point. Things got very weird. People couldn’t keep up. A week’s wages to put dinner on the table for one night?
The worst aspect in all of this was the outright murder, torture and suspension of civil rights. If you didn’t like this arrangement, and said so publically, you were immediately labeled as a subversive with a view toward calling you a communist. And then one day children, no one could find you anymore. And anyone who asked about you was, likewise, labeled a subversive communist by association, and on and on this went. Hence the term many of us dimwitted by the likes of America’s Got Talent, and The Kardashians, can’t even remember the Spanish term for this syndrome: los desaparacidos. The disappeared ones.
Pinochet claimed to be a Christian. Catholicism was the preferred brand. You were neither, and you could forget getting ahead in society. You didn’t break bread with those on the inside of this regime, so too; forget about it. No soup for you.
Pinochet hated higher education. Hated it. He thought colleges and universities were merely breeding grounds for communism. And so he closed them to the masses. It started with tuition hikes and austerity measures. Then with the excuse of lack of attendance, he consolidated, closed, consolidated, closed, and on and on it went. Again, if you protested? Maybe one day you go missing. Like that.
As many as eighty-thousand Chilenos were arrested without due process, tried in courts that made mockery of human rights, and interred in camps. Many were tortured and killed, their battered bodies dumped all over the country. An estimated 3,200 people died in this way; a thousand of whom are still missing to this day. You might even remember a song in 1989 by Sting called “They Dance Alone”. Very moving stuff.
It could never happen here? Really. When you consider that Rick Scott is only one of several flaming right wing nut-bags driven like madmen to “absolutely transforming this country” you see roads converging over the horizon.
In the last book, we discussed how several governors working their powers over several legislations, are all operating on the same playbook and off the map when it comes to good sense, logic, justice, reason and humanity.
For years the far right has been bashing the public over the head with nightmare tales of internment camps, death panels, and so on, which they say are sure to come if we follow President Obama’s Evil Kenyan Voodoo Witch Doctor from hell policies. Meanwhile this seems to be the very road they mean to take us down while using rigged elections as a means to keep driving the trains to the concentration camps.
Is this an extrapolation? It is where the line is going, a possible outcome.
Yes. Chile’s coup de’tat was swift and brutal. The one being perpetrated on is more gradual, more insidious, but the direction we are headed is just the same.
The question will be asked throughout this work: what are you prepared to do to stop it?