Commit to opposing fascism

Published 8:12 am Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Dear Editor,

The term “fascism” often gets thrown around loosely these days these days as a generic term of political derision. According to Mirriam-Webster, it properly refers to “a political philosophy, movement, or regime . . . that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition.” 

As demonstrated by the history of the 20th century, fascist ideologies gain traction in times of economic distress, such as many Americans have been experiencing acutely since the financial crisis of 2007.  Movements driven by such ideologies come to power through the kind of brutality and intimidation we saw on display at Charlottesville the other day, not to mention the unwillingness of non-fascists to speak out against it.

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This display should be a wake-up call for all of us — regardless of party affiliation — committed to preserving and reinvigorating the democratic norms and institutions that have made America the historically “exceptional” experiment that it has been so far (our considerable imperfections notwithstanding). 

If you think I’m exaggerating, and you haven’t already done so, please watch the news segment, “Charlottesville: Race and Terror,” which aired recently on HBO, and is currently available for viewing on YouTube. 

In it you will hear the organizers of that display speak very openly and forthrightly about their aims and objectives. I hope that, after doing so, you will commit yourself to opposing them vocally, and demand of your governmental representatives that Steve Bannon, Sebastian Gorka and Stephen Miller (supporters of the so-called “Alt-Right”) be expelled from the White House immediately.

 Without considerable pressure, this is unlikely to happen due to the short-sighted wager to which more traditional Republican leaders have committed themselves in a cynical effort to further their largely unpopular legislative agenda. It’s past time (with some notable exceptions) for the leaders of the so-called “party of Lincoln” to dissociate themselves unequivocally from this pernicious rot before the infection spreads further through our body politic, and becomes terminal. By demanding they do so, you will honor the memories of the brave Americans who helped to defeat fascism in Europe during the Second World War.  

Otherwise, I’m afraid, we may soon discover that the freedoms and security that many (like me) born after that war have taken for granted for most of our lives are much more precarious than we had ever imagined.

Todd Gooch