Carl Parker sez:
True patriotism and love of America mean more than wearing a funny red, white and blue hat, or dressing up like Paul Revere at a rally. Radical right-wingers claim a desire to “take back our country.” I’m certainly not aware Americans have “lost” their country. Supposedly, most “tea-baggers” are over 65 and above-average in education. Surely, they remember the famous quote from Pogo the philosophical ‘possum. “We have met the enemy, and the enemy is us.”
We, the American people, are the government. Government works when intelligent people band together to make it work. Government is what separates us from lesser societies. Government fights our wars, fights fires to save our homes, protects us from crime and violence, and provides us a rational way to resolve our differences in a civilized manner.
Those currently labeling our current president and his administration “socialist” or “fascist” are mostly Republican-leaning and appear not to know the difference between the two. Also, they apparently have never read the teachings of Marx or The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. If they really want to be frightened of the direction this nation is headed and compare the parallels of our government with something like Fascism, they should examine the policies of vice-president Cheney, Rumsfeld, Bush, DeLay and Limbaugh, and then compare them to events leading to Germany’s Fascist government under Hitler.
In the 1920s, Hitler joined a small but vocal group of Socialists in Germany making a huge public outcry against Jews and Marxists, claiming to be true patriots and German nationalists. They warned the public that the Marxists [Communists] were backed by Jews in a vast threat to the peace, prosperity and security of German citizens.
In 1933 the German parliament building 'Reichstag' was burned. Hitler promptly laid the blame at the feet of Jews, Communists and other criminals who sought to destroy Germany. The German president, with the backing of the German parliament, named Adolph Hitler Chancellor of Germany even though Hitler had never won a majority vote in any election of the people.
Almost immediately, Hitler consolidated power in the name of German nationalism, first passing the Nuremberg Laws which required national identification papers which you were required to show at the request of the national police known as the Gestapo. Civil rights laws were suspended in the name of protecting law abiding and loyal Germans. Hundreds and then thousands of people labeled as “undesirables,” most Jewish, were arrested and without trial hauled off to concentration camps or worse. In the name of security, people labeled as “unfit” for German citizenship were arrested as well as barred from parks, concerts, sports events and travel at the risk of being arrested or worse. The equivalent of the U.S. Patriot Act was enacted and good German citizens stood by tolerating the torture and killing of people accused of being a threat to Germany.
Neighboring countries were invaded by the German army using the concept of preventative war. Germany had not been attacked, but the leaders of Germany convinced the German people they were about to be endangered by the neighboring nations and Hitler’s troops invaded Poland and other neighboring countries. Hitler used the same reasoning to invade the Balkan Nations as the George Bush administration used to invade Iraq.
American troops who were captured, as well as Allied troops from France and England, were subjected to inhumane treatment, including torture and starvation--all in the name of patriotism and protecting Germany. Policies involving great and horrendous inhumanity to fellow men followed, the most heinous of which was to become the extermination of Jews during the Holocaust.
When we hear those accusing our current administration of moving our country towards Fascism and/or Socialism, we should think of the foregoing parallels which occurred in the run up to and throughout invasion of Iraq. Accepting torture and suspension of civil rights under the guise of protecting America is the real danger to our Constitution. We cannot ensure the preservation of our Constitution while depriving others of its protections who are within our borders.
America cannot claim and maintain the moral high ground or leadership in the world while tolerating or encouraging torture, or adopting the “Cheney philosophy” that the ends justify the means. Every American citizen should read the Constitution of this country if they have not read it--or they should re-read it. Its guarantees are precious gifts from our forefathers.
These gifts should not be squandered for the exigency of the moment.