Fascism or Business as Usual?

trump-rally

On the surface, the current political campaign for President of the United States looks like an inept and garish circus, a caricature of an election in a demented novel by a 60s, drug-besot author. Cartoon figures grimace and gesticulate from the pulpit, with earnest and  eager supporters artfully arranged in the background. Meaningful content is minimal, emotive display is de rigueur.

If it weren’t so comical, it would be frightening. No, it really is frightening, especially when one considers that anything that appears on the political scene is as intended by those in control. There are no accidents nor coincidences in something as critical to power as elections.

Elizabeth Drew has written an interesting and potentially enlightening essay about the current political scene:

In the presidential campaign, both parties are so divided as to raise the question of whether any victor will be able to govern. The anger, fear, resentment, racism, and frustration that are playing into the current political climate make for a situation prone to undermining our democratic system.

Source: The New Politics of Frustration by Elizabeth Drew | NYR Daily | The New York Review of Books

I find it unfortunate that Drew used the word “fascism” to describe the potential effects of this trend. “Fascism” is a thoroughly misunderstood word, hanging out there in popular awareness with “anarchy” in the world of the misperceived. It’s difficult for me to equate the 1930s concept of political and economic fascism to today’s world. The United States is indeed a corporate oligarchy, but without the overt oppression and authoritarian zeal of World War II Germany and Italy.

If we are moving toward fascism in the United States, it is more the Friendly Fascism of Bertram Gross than the Fasci of Revolutionary Action of Benito Mussolini.

Looking back over the past sixty-six years of my life, it’s clear to me that the United States has changed drastically in character since World War II. Harry Truman inherited a totalitarian military culture, and a power structure that sought to maintain the “military-industrial complex” as the basis for the US economy and political process. The Kennedy brothers were the first, and the last, politicians to challenge that power structure. With their murders, the power elite took hold of the reigns of power and has succeeded ever since in holding them in their velvet-mailed fists.

What we see on the garish stage of global media is the control system in action, carrying out its program of newsertainment in support of domestic pacification and international imperialism.

“What’s past is prologue…” William Shakespeare, The Tempest

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