Before going forward, I’m not comparing Republicans to Nazis. The only people “like Nazis” – are Nazis. You don’t have to be a Nazi to be a fascist, just like you don’t have to be a terrorist to be a Muslim. But it’s become undeniable, especially with the ascension of Donald Trump to the top of the GOP leaderboard based on a campaign of propaganda, racism and hate that the modern-day GOP has embraced fascism.
Ironically, conservatives will often accuse liberals of being fascists. Then again, many conservatives seem to think socialism and communism are the same thing. It’s obvious many of these folks throw around these words without really knowing their meaning or history throughout the world.
While there are varying degrees of what constitutes “fascism,” there are certain traits that most fascists share. Unfortunately, many of those traits align with the behavior of the modern-day Republican party.
An intense sense of nationalism: To listen to most Republicans talk, they are the only true patriots in this country. Most conservatives I encounter believe, to their core, that liberals are anti-American and hate this country. I invite everyone to go to a tea party rally and count the flags, the flag bandanas, shirts, hats and all the other patriotic garb these folks will be wearing. There’s a line between being proud of your country and patriotic indoctrination to such an extent that your supposed “patriotism” has you believing that nearly everyone “not on your side” is an enemy.
The obsession with a strong military: To believe most Republicans you would think the United States military is on the precipice of collapse. The truth is, we still spend more on defense every single year than the next 10-12 nations combined – yet, Republicans want to spend more. It’s absurd.
Viewing the media as an enemy: Typically, fascists believe that the media needs to be highly controlled and not allow information to get out that they don’t want the public to know. Naturally, Republicans base a large part of their entire ideology out of bashing the mainstream media, while heaping praise upon Fox News – the media arm of the GOP. It’s not a coincidence that in almost every corrupt society, those trying to hide their corruption and lies are the ones who often speak out against the media the most.
Bigotry, Racism and Prejudice are often used to unify their followers: This is a strategic tactic which does happen to be taken straight from Nazi Germany. At that time they used the Jewish people as a scapegoat for nearly all of their nation’s problems. When you use propaganda, exploit fear, push hate and repeat it over and over and over – it’s very possible to get large groups of people to act completely irrationally and against their own interests. Right now we’ve seen Trump rise to the top of the GOP presidential pack by mostly lying, pushing ridiculous propaganda and using racism and bigotry against Mexicans and Muslims to prey on the fears of some and unify his support. No matter what you show his followers to prove how unrealistic it is to build a wall, or deport 12 million people – or even point out stats showing that it’s nearly impossible for a terrorist to come to the United States via our refugee program – it doesn’t have the slightest impact on what they think.
Right now in this country the Republican party has made racism, bigotry and prejudice acceptable mainstream political positions once again. Sadly, none of their supporters seem to believe that they’re racist, bigoted or prejudiced. That’s called indoctrination.
They support a strong police state: While I’m not super liberal when it comes to the NSA and surveillance in general, most Republicans support giving our intelligence agencies extremely intrusive power into the private lives of Americans. Now they’re taking things a step further with rhetoric coming from candidates like Donald Trump saying he would go “beyond databases” to track and register Muslims and Ben Carson saying he would order the Department of Education to monitor political speech at public universities. Many of these same people are also the ones who have no problem with our local police forces using military-grade equipment to “protect and serve.” I’m not completely against law enforcement using some of this equipment, but I’m not sure if police officers need massive armored vehicles designed for war zones to deal with local crime.
They incorporate religion to justify their beliefs: While not many people seem to talk about it, Hitler did use religion to justify his treatment of the Jews. In fact, human history is littered with examples of oppressive, hostile leadership using religion to manipulate people to act irrationally, violent and against their own self interests.
They’re driven by fear and hopelessness: Fear is, quite possibly, the most effective manipulation tool outside of religion to get people to believe nearly anything. People who are hopeful and happy are usually much more lucid in their thinking – they’re not nearly as susceptible to irrational behavior. That’s why Republicans want Americans to be afraid of (or hate) damn near everything from:
- The Affordable Care Act
- Raising the Minimum wage
- The poor
- The government
- Gay rights
- Same-sex marriage
The list goes on and on. Basically if you’re not a straight, white Christian (preferably male), there’s a reason the GOP has to hate and/or fear something about you or the rights you’re owed via our Constitution.
While I could keep going, I think I’ve made my point. Again, I’m not saying Republicans are like Nazis, but it’s undeniable that the GOP has embraced many aspects of fascism. This is made evident by the fact that their current presidential frontrunner is someone who’s built a campaign based upon “making America great again” (aka nationalism based on fear); a hatred for Muslims; a disdain for Mexicans; and the belief that torture and nationwide tracking surveillance of specific groups of people based upon their religion should be acceptable.
As my colleague Manny Schewitz brilliantly put it, When Fascism Comes To America, It’ll Come Wrapped In Racism And Wearing A Bad Toupee.
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