We Refuse to Sit Idly By

In the United States there once was a taboo about the use of the word FASCIST. As though we could never become a fascist state, so don’t even go there. Terrifyingly, that seems to be the state we are rapidly devolving into. As many have said, fascism would arise even without the current president. He is just the strongman savior described below.

It also used to be taboo to talk about Hitler and Nazis. Now, as they say, ‘it is what it is.’

It is important now to talk about the fascist regime that came into power with the rise of Hitler and the Nazis in order to educate and warn our friends and neighbors of what happened in Nazi Germany. All of the following pieces of fascism are here, now. I would hope that recounting the horrors of the Nazi concentration camps and the extermination of 6 million Jewish people might pull us back from the brink we are rapidly moving toward here, now.

Unfortunately, logic doesn’t create change. Changing hearts does.

The explosion of the number of camps and migrants being incarcerated there, with the outrageous cruelty of the separation of children from their loved ones is unbelievable and intolerable. These truly are concentration camps. Certain people are making a lot of money from this evil.

#CloseTheCamps

Indianola, Iowa

As it says below, “when people are feeling insecure about their status, they can go one of two ways, they can say, ‘We have to work together to make things better.’ But the fascist response is to find scapegoats, and build the idea things will be better if these people are marginalized and dealt with.”

The story below about President Obama saying he’s proud of his former staffers for speaking out against Trump is an example of working together to make things better.

So which wolf will you feed
One makes you strong, one makes you weak
And those who know and those who seek
Amidst the chaos, find your peace (yeah)
I know which wolf I’ll feed
I know which wolf I’ll feed

Great Spirit, Nahko

Which wolf will you feed?


What is Fascism?

To find out if America could actually slide into bona fide fascism, I asked a couple political science professors—Indiana University’s Jeffrey Isaac, and Amherst College’s Thomas Dumm—to identify the philosophy’s historical hallmarks. The parallels between then and now, it turns out, aren’t hard to identify.

1. An era of social upheaval–Fascism tends to arise out of a very specific set of circumstances: when a group of people that once felt politically and economically secure suddenly finds themselves feeling marginalized.

2. A Nostalgia for a Lost, Glorious Past–A critical ingredient of fascism, says Dumm, is the ref-framing of a nation’s current struggles as a departure from some glorious, long-lost past.

3. Scapegoating minority groups–Once a group has identified a problem, they must identify a way to fix it. And this, says Dumm, is a key moment in the emergence of fascism. “When people are feeling insecure about their status, they can go one of two ways,” he explains. “They can say, ‘We have to work together to make things better.’ But the fascist response is to find scapegoats, and build the idea things will be better if these people are marginalized and dealt with.”

4. A strongman savior–While accepting his party’s presidential nomination at the Republication National Convention in 2016, Trump declared his own political uniqueness. “Nobody knows the system better than me,” he told attendees, “which is why I alone can fix it.”

5. The stifling of dissent–“If you have a situation where the law is not being enforced because of political intimidation,” Dumm says, “that’s when things start to crumble and fascist power comes in.”

6. Ritualistic Communal Bonding–Rallies are integral to the strength of fascism because they reiterate its core promises: that the nation must be restored to its rightful place in the world, and the leader is solely capable of bringing about that result.

Is America Actually Heading Towards Fascism? GQ Magazine, Jay Willis, July 26, 2019
Obama says he’s ‘proud of’ former staffers who slammed Trump for ‘poisoning our democracy in fiery op-ed, By Aris Folley, The Hill, July 27, 2019

We are proud descendants of immigrants, refugees and the enslaved Africans who built this country while enduring the horrors of its original sin. We stand on the soil they tilled, and march in the streets they helped to pave. We are red-blooded Americans, we are patriots, and we have plenty to say about the direction this country is headed. We decry voter suppression. We demand equitable access to health care, housing, quality schools and employment. We welcome new Americans with dignity and open arms. And we will never stop fighting for the overhaul of a criminal-justice system with racist foundations.

Our love of country lives in these demands, and our commitment to use our voices and our energy to build a more perfect union. We refuse to sit idly by as racism, sexism, homophobia and xenophobia are wielded by the president and any elected official complicit in the poisoning of our democracy. We call on local, state and congressional officials, as well as presidential candidates to articulate their policies and strategies for moving us forward as a strong democracy, through a racial-equity lens that prioritizes people over profit. We will continue to support candidates for local, state and federal office who add more diverse representation to the dialogue and those who understand the importance of such diversity when policymaking here in our country and around the world. We ask all Americans to be a good neighbor by demonstrating anti-racist, environmentally friendly, and inclusive behavior toward everyone in your everyday interactions.

The statesman Frederick Douglass warned, “The life of a nation is secure only while the nation is honest, truthful and virtuous.” This nation has neither grappled with nor healed from the horrors of its origins. It is time to advance that healing process now through our justice, economic, health and political systems.

Expect to hear more from us. We plan to leave this country better than we found it. This is our home.

We are African Americans, we are patriots, and we refuse to sit idly by, Washington Post, July 26, 2019, by Clarence J. Fluker , C. Kinder , Jesse Moore and Khalilah M. Harris
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2 Responses to We Refuse to Sit Idly By

  1. miriam.kashia@gmail.com says:

    Greetings from Portland, Jeff, and thank you for this powerful piece. I’ll be returning to IA the end of August and rejoining the fight for democracy & a just & livable future for ALL. Actually, I’m also finding ways to keep at it out here. Also loving the forests, ocean & islands & mountains, not to mention seeing beloved friends & family.

    Really appreciated the Scattergood workshops. So much to learn & so much to do.

    I’m grateful to you for your powerful voice of integrity. miriam

    Sent from my iPhone

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