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This is How Fascism Comes: Reflections on the Cost of Silence

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For those who have seen the ugliness and heard the vitriol emanating from the mouths of persons attending McCain/Palin rallies this past week--what with their demands to kill Barack Obama, slurs that he is a terrorist and a traitor, and paranoid delusions about his crypto-Muslim designs on America--please know this: This is how fascism comes to an ostensible democracy.

If it comes--and if those whose poisonous, unhinged verbiage has been so ubiquitous this week have any say over it, it surely will--this is how it will happen: not with tanks and jackbooted storm troopers, but carried in the hearts of men and women dressed in comfortable shoes, with baseball caps, and What Would Jesus Do? wristbands. It will be heralded by up-dos, designer glasses, you-betcha folksiness and a disdain for big words or hard consonants.

 


If fascism comes, it will spring from the soil of middle America, from people known as values voters but whose values are toxic, from simple folk whose simplicity, far from being admirable, is better labeled ignorance, from "all-American" types whose patriotism is a dagger pointed at the very heart of the national interest, for it so forsakes all the best principles upon which the republic was founded, choosing instead to elevate and ratify the narrow-mindedness, the bigotry, and the intolerance that also marked our country's origins.

If fascism comes, it will be ushered in by tailgaters at the big football game, by Joe Six Pack, who, upon finishing his sixth beer and belching forth the stench of a mediocre life lived, will gladly announce its arrival, so long as it comes with a steady supply of Pabst Blue Ribbon and hot dogs on the grill, and giant foam hands with a "We're Number 1" finger, some Mardi Gras beads and a good titty bar.

If fascism comes it will dress like a hockey mom, or a NASCAR dad. It will believe Toby Keith to be an artist, Larry the Cable Guy to be a comic, and that the world was made in six literal days less than 6000 years ago. 

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