Not long ago, I wrote a long piece about the resurgence of fascism as a mainstream political movement in the U.S. The battle over an Islamic center in New York could perhaps be seen as an isolated incident by those who are completely blind, but as mosques and Muslims are attacked across the U.S., a trend has emerged: it’s open season on anyone demonized by the New Right. As Sarah Palin yells, “don’t retreat, reload,” a line that brings cheers from her 2nd Amendment-loving but 14th Amendment-hating followers, real people are reloading.
Fascism incites its followers to demonize the Other, to physically attack him and all he stands for. Once it becomes the new normal to attack Muslims, burn their books, and forbid their houses of worship, all it takes to spread the hate further is to accuse enemies of the cause of being Muslims or Muslim-sympathizers. The spread of lies about President Obama's origins, religious beliefs, etc. aren't just the rantings of a few nut jobs. They are part of an organized effort to create hate, division, and to delegitimize a lawfully elected and constituted government.
It's often been said that all that is required for evil to flourish is for good people to do nothing. But that ignores two facts: bad people are doing plenty, and other bad people, who wish to be seen as "mainstream" are keeping mum. Where are the "sane" Republicans and others on the right condemning the planned burning of Qur'ans by a Florida pastor? Some religious leaders and Democrats have spoken out, but where is Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, and the other leaders of the Right? John Boehner made a tepid, general statement about it, similar to one being used about the so-called Ground Zero mosque:
“Just because you have a right to do something in America does not mean it is the right thing to do. We are a nation of religious freedom, we’re also a nation of tolerance,” Boehner said. “I think in the name of tolerance people ought to really think about the kind of actions they’re taking.”
No, John, this is what you need to say:
" Book burning has no place in a civilized society. If we do not speak out loudly against this act, we are all equally culpable of this hateful act."
Friends of mine of a more conservative bent love to rationalize away the most disturbing trends on the right with such phrases as, "no one listens to those crazies," and, "that's not what real Republicans are about."
Until American conservatives explicitly condemn the Sarah Palins and Glenn Becks, the New Right will continue to rise to the top of the GOP, will be The Right in America. These folks aren't just going away. As long as the GOP and other conservatives tolerate these new fascists, they are guilty: guilty of hate crimes, of bigotry, of destroying American ideals.
I accuse you, all of you on the right today, and call on you today to publicly renounce the New Right and their hate-filled rhetoric. If you can't do this, you are not an enabler of fascism---you are a fascist.