Since the end of the Second World War most politicians have tried to avoid any association with the terms 'fascist" or 'fascism.' Invoking ideas associated with Mussolini, Hitler, and Tojo tends to backfire on the speakers that do so. Recently Mr. Bush, Mr. Cheney, and Mr. Rumsfeld decided that they could get away with discussing fascism without drawing any attention to their own style of governance. In a series of planned speeches, Donald, Dick, and George have compared various militant organizations to the regimes of Adolph and Benito. While this is clearly being done to garner votes for GOP candidates in the upcoming U.S mid-term elections, this strategy is more likely to haunt GOP politicians up for re-election. Washington Post story
Since the facist remarks were made, Maryland GOP politicians Robert L. Ehrlich and Michael Steele refused to appear alongside Bush in St. Mary's County. Washington Post story
Before continuing further, it is necessary to examine the meaning of the terms 'fascist' and 'fascism.'
Merriam-Webster defines fascism as "a political philosophy, movement, or regime that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition". Merriam-Webster citation
A recent definition is that by former Colombia University Professor Robert O. Paxton:
* "Fascism may be defined as a form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation, or victim-hood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy, and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion."
Paxton further defines fascism's essence as:
* "1. a sense of overwhelming crisis beyond reach of traditional solutions; 2. belief one’s group is the victim, justifying any action without legal or moral limits; 3. need for authority by a natural leader above the law, relying on the superiority of his instincts; 4. right of the chosen people to dominate others without legal or moral restraint; 5. fear of foreign `contamination." Wikipedia entry
It is difficult not to be reminded of the actions of the current Republican-dominated U.S. Administration when reading these definitions. A quick glance gives any observer a picture that includes flag-waving nationalism, torture, suspension of civil liberties, crackdown on immigrants and certainly collaboration with traditional elites. The Bush Administration officials cannot deny they have been ignoring legal restraints, with the President leading the way as he considers himself above the laws. Flagrant violations of the Constitution, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), the Uniform Code of Military Justice, and the Geneva Conventions are hallmarks of the Bush Presidency. The extreme restrictions placed on peaceful protestors at the GOP Convention in New York City or at any Bush public appearance also come to mind.
By constantly planting false stories in the domestic and foreign press, the White House has cultivated a reputation for the use of propaganda that would have made Nazi Minister for Public Enlightenment & Propaganda Joseph Goebbels proud.
The deliberate restrictions placed on minority voters and their polling places by Florida's GOP Secretary of State Katherine Harris and Ohio's Ken Blackwell reeks of fascist actions practiced in Weimar Germany in the late 1920s and early 1930s.
The various military actions of the White House have transformed the U.S. into a nation that is constantly at war. Fascists think life is permanent warfare. Mr. Bush has insinuated that his War on Terror will continue indefinitely. The very title of the newest government agency, the Department of Homeland Security, brings to mind Nazi Germany. Ironically, fascists never seem to win the wars they start. Iraq and Afghanistan appear to be the two most recent examples.
Hardly a day goes by without some Bush official requesting to pry deeper into the private lives of the citizens of all nations. Washington Post article
Even the mysticism associated with fascism is evident in this administration. Look how closely the President has allied himself with ultra-conservative Christian notions of Armageddon and the impending return of Jesus Christ. Fascists of the 1930s and 40s colloborated with the Catholic and Lutheran Churches.
In conclusion, Mr. Bush and his supporters have adopted so many of the tactics of fascists that it becomes quite dangerous for them to start pointing their fingers at others. The reflections of their diabolical policies in the mirror of the public eye have become too ominous to ignore.