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Stephen Lee Rich: It's All Vaudeville

We Need To Start Using The "F" Word!

Posted on July 10, 2012 with 0 comments

     The word is “Fascism”! I am not using this word lightly. I am not using this word, in any manner, facetiously or as any form of epithet. I am using the word because it best describes our current political reality.

     “When corporate interests and government are working from the same agenda, you have fascism” – Benito Mussolini

      That’s just about the most succinct and authoritative definition of the word that one is likely to find.

      If we are to overcome this reality it is vital that we say the word out loud and  without fear that it might offend. If we cannot name the problem we cannot solve it. Without use of the word we become like the Right Wing legislators who want to pass laws governing women’s reproductive rights but won’t let anyone say the word “vagina”.

      In order to use the word we must first accept its presence on our political landscape. We must accept that it is now the law of the land. We must understand that it his been made so by the one-two punch of the Citizens United decision and the Montana decision. The former decision is one that most of us know well. It declared corporations to be people (which is like calling linoleum part of a nutritious breakfast) and equated the spending of money with free speech (which is like calling a hungry crocodile a safe and soothing house pet). The Montana decision stripped individual states of their ability to regulate money in politics by overturning Montana’s very good, century old law which did exactly that.

Then and Now

       The Grand Shift to the Right is not new. The only new thing about it is the outright legalization of corruption. We’ve been building up to this since the end of the Second World War. The phrase “liberal media bias” came into our political lexicon during the McCarthy era. Then it meant anyone who failed to parrot the Senator’s fear-mongering without question. Now, it means the same thing in relation to GOP talking points. In the 1960’s many people thought that if Barry Goldwater took two steps farther to the right that he would fall off the edge of the Earth. Now, the positions of “moderates” or “centrists” are nearly indistinguishable from the positions which Senator Goldwater espoused back in the day. The top tier leaders of the GOP have fallen off the edge of the Earth. They have gotten to the point at which “GOP” may no longer stand for “Grand Old Party”. It may stand for “Greedy Oligarchical Plutocrats” (note: I do not regard the Democrats any more highly than the Republicans). The shift maintained itself through President Nixon, President Reagan, President Clinton (yes, a Democrat), and both Presidents Bush.

Now

     Where does that put us now? It puts us in a right-wing, fascist state. That’s the bad news. The good news is that we still have a chance to turn it around. Obviously, the Republican National Committee (RNC) has no motivation to stop it. They are the chief instigators. We cannot, however, change things by looking to the Democratic National Committee (DNC). The DNC, as much as the RNC, has no more interest in maintaining this more perfect union, establishing justice, ensuring domestic tranquility, providing for the common defense, promoting the general welfare, and securing the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our posterity than a cow has in space flight. I can already hear the Liberals howling. Ask yourselves this. If the Democrats are on our side why did they help to pass the USA Patriot Act and the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA)? Why have they supported bills like absurdly misnamed Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA)?  If President Obama is so interested in our well being why did he allow the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to declare the Gulf of Mexico clean up to be finished when it’s not even close? Why was BP issued new drilling permits when such permits should never again be issued to such a reckless and corrupt company? Why did he happily, and without question, sign NDAA? Why has he appointed a top executive from the Borgia Corp--- I’m sorry—I mean Monsanto to head the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)? The Democrats are not our friends either! We, on the political left, need to stop denying this fact. The DNC is under as much corporate ownership as the RNC. Some will start listing what small legislation the Democrats have passed as a counter argument. These are just crumbs from the table at the big house. They are tokens designed to create the illusion of two opposing parties. What we have, in reality, is a one “party” that is aggressively promoting Fascism and another “party” which is trying to pretend that it doesn’t want exactly the same thing.

A Word of Explanation

     Many who read this are probably upset because I have listed the myriad sins of the Democrats without listing those of the Republicans as well. This is because I’m addressing the political left not the political right. One of the lessons to be learned from Wisconsin’s failed effort to recall Gov. Scott Walker is that the rank and file Republicans are going to be completely useless in any realistic attempt to effect change. While it is true that many life-long Republicans circulated and signed petitions, an overwhelming majority of the GOP sheep happily allowed themselves to be to be lead back to the pasture for more brutal shepherd shtuping when it came time to actually vote.  It is then, if you’ll pardon the expression, left to the Left to change things.

     We are already bombarded, on a daily basis, with the insanities of the GOP. We know them all too well. We have, however, a very large blind spot when it comes to evaluating the Democrats.

     Consider this. Every President since the end of World War II has waged some kind of war of his own. I mean every president. There have been no exceptions. Despite that the last Democrat against whom the anti-war movement made any substantive noises was Lyndon Johnson. The silence might be forgiven during the Carter years (note that I said “might” not “should”) because we were preoccupied with The Iranian Hostage Crisis. However, Bill Clinton waged the exactly same kind of war in Afghanistan that Dubya later waged in Iraq. We howled mercilessly against the younger Bush’s war. But, there was almost not a peep about Clinton’s war. Perhaps the anti-war movement didn’t notice because all of the television news shops were busy trying to cram their cameras down Clinton’s pants to talk about Monica Lewinsky. That’s still no excuse.

     Since Nancy Pelosi tabled impeachment of George W. Bush, that’s almost all I have heard from the Democrats that I know. They have griped mightily about the GOP, yet have produced a grand parade of absurd, irrelevant, preposterous, and sometimes downright pin-headed excuses for why the Democratic Party has made virtually no effort to fight the Right Wing Agenda.

     We need to finally admit that the DNC in not going to be any help in the fight which we must wage against fascism.

Now and Tomorrow

     So, what do we do? We build a third party!

     “But,” many of you will say, “a third party can’t win!”

     I say, “ BULLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL…winkle.”

      The only reason that the above statement has become part of our political orthodoxy is because the talking butts on television have repeated that idea during every election for over sixty years! If you tell a lie often enough it begins to feel like the truth. That does not make the lie true.

     On those rare occasions when television has deigned to cover a third party candidate at all they have introduced him or her by mentioning that a third party win is impossible. That’s not a coincidence. Television news operations are owned by multi-national media corporations which have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo. They don’t want any third parties rocking the boat.

      If we do enough substantive, boots-on-the-ground work a third party can win an election.

    While it would be most desirable for there to be one third party, that’s not currently practical. What is practical and possible is to build a coalition of left-leaning independent parties. I strongly urge all of these parties to reach out to one another. Combine forces and resources. Each, by themselves, are too small to make much of an impact.  If combined into a coalition, however, they can have enough clout to get things started. The coalition should then reach out to OWS. That’s where they will get the number of people that they will need to make things really move.

    We need to set our goals at a reasonable level. We shouldn’t worry about the Whitehouse for the moment. We should work on capturing as many local and statewide offices as we can. The national goal, for the moment, should be capturing five Senate seats and twenty House seats. That doesn’t sound like a lot on the surface, but think what that could achieve. It could effectively end legislative gridlock in the Senate and go a long way toward ending it in the House. It would provide a voice for positions that are not even considered now. Once we have achieved those goals we can start worrying about seriously running someone for the presidency.

     Yes. It’s true that both sides of the aisle may combine forces to fight us. It is just as likely that each side will fall all over themselves to court our votes to advance their respective pet bills. Think of it. We could restore pragmatism to the legislative process.

     It will take one hell of a lot of work. But, it can be done

One Last Thing

     Even if you disagree with me, would you, please, share this essay? I realize how odd that request seems. However, the primary goal of this essay is to generate discussion outside the boundaries set by the talking butts. They are ignoring two thirds of the facts and two thirds of the possibilities about which we should be speaking. I do, indeed, believe what I have written. I also understand that I am human and capable of error (sometimes I’m quite good at it). I’m always willing to listen to and consider other points of view. I espouse the creation of a third party because I only see two alternatives. One is to give in to fascism. The other is to take actions which involve the use of firearms. I find neither alternative to be desirable nor acceptable.

    The bottom line, as it were, is that we need to start talking about this openly, planning a strategy, and taking action as soon as we possibly can. I pray that we are not already too late.