Friday 9 May 2003

The Other 'F' Word

'Chosen By The Grace Of God'?

You could fill your lederhosen with razor blades and ride a bicycle down some steps. You could administer yourself a boiling-hot clyster of Drano and minced cactus. You could irritate a pride of lions whilst bedecked in a ham waistcoat. But why take the easy way out? It's better to stand and fight. I refer to the deeply Sisyphean task of opposing the neofascist regime which has taken over the United States. There, I did it. I used the word 'fascist', which places me in that camp, even if the word was prefixed with the modifier 'neo' as in 'o neo f the worst ideas ever'.

It's been a long time coming, and not just because of Bob Dole's Viagra (humorous joke, get it? Long time never mind). For all its strenuous efforts, I could never give the Bush administration that much credit before. Fascism is such a heavy term, so loaded with images of greasy newsreel dictators in Sam Browne belts and tall boots. Too many commentators leapt on the 'Orwellian' and 'fascist' bandwagons too quickly into Bush's sic volo, sic jubeo term of office. After all, wasn't the WWI Sedition Act far worse than Ashcroft's Junior Inquisition? How about the McCarthy Era, when a ventriloquist's dummy nearly destroyed our nation's freedoms, just to deny Dalton Trumbo the screenwriting credit for 'Roman Holiday'? For a long time I couldn't quite slap the 'F' word, as fascism is coyly known among lefties, on Bush and his minions. No matter how naughty the Man Who Would be President might be, for my tastes he never hit that perfect Kafka note-- until recently. Him and his people weren't really fascists. Just execrable excrudescent assholes. But 2003 has changed all that.

These people are fascists, and they make Mussolini look like a mezzafinook. There is no component of American liberty of which they are unwilling to relieve us, and no aspect of American life upon which they are unwilling to relieve themselves. Where to begin? First, we must define 'fascism'. It is a term like 'love', about which it can be said that everybody knows exactly what it means, and nobody knows what they're talking about. Luckily I know everything and so can clear the matter up, particularly if I consult Mussolini's own diary, which I picked up on Ebay for a song (the song was 'That's Amore' as sung by Dean Martin). For those not fluent in Italian, I will paraphrase the definition before me in Il Duce's crabbed hand:

Fascism is an extreme right-wing ideology which embraces nationalism as the transcendent value of society. The rise of Fascism relies upon the manipulation of populist sentiment in times of national crisis. Based on fundamentalist revolutionary ideas, Fascism defines itself through intense xenophobia, militarism, and supremacist ideals. Although secular in nature, Fascism's emphasis on mythic beliefs such as divine mandates, racial imperatives, and violent struggle places highly concentrated power in the hands of a self-selected elite from whom all authority flows to lesser elites, such as law enforcement, intellectuals, and the media. What a rush. Must buy Clara a new hat.

I couldn't have said it better myself. If we accept this general definition of fascism, we can be forgiven for rushing to the bedroom and throwing some clean underwear into a portmanteau ere catching the next train to Toronto. But we must stand our ground, however eroded it may be. Our freedoms have been undermined at home. Our nation has engaged in an outrageous military adventure overseas, the tissue-thin justification for which has disappeared completely, leaving America in the awkward position yclept 'hostile invader' by entities such as the United Nations (you remember them, those nice colored folks over on 39th Street?) Meanwhile our states have mostly gone bankrupt, the first tax cut during wartime since the 1840's -more wealth for the wealthy- is in the works while corporate feudalism runs rampant, our ability to respond to authentic terrorist threats has been hobbled, the voting system has been co-opted by digital pirates in the Republican party, the electoral system in general is hostage to big money, our healthcare system is in meltdown, our national budget is so far in the red we have to import ink from China just to keep up; the prison population is exploding while our schools implode, civil rights are verklempt and vivisepulturated, our businesses are folding by entire sectors while the military-industrial complex thrives, and our environment is sinking into crisis with the North Pole melted and environmental regulation evaporating like so much ozone. Meanwhile, Jesus Christ is sleeping in the Lincoln Bedroom.

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