Sunday, November 11, 2018

When Fascism Comes To America


This Sunday, to bookend the week of midterm elections, I’d like to offer a second Sunday sermon. I want to share some considerations that expound on last Sunday’s message.

Running up to this past Tuesday’s election, the Party of Trump and FOX(R) did their best to portray Democrats and dissenting Americans as an angry mob.

It is pure projection, of course.

Nazi Tiki parades, Klansmen, and the thuggish Proud Boys show us the real angry mobs are Trumpist bigots.

White Nationalists have been even further radicalized and emboldened by the hateful rhetoric of Trump. Since 9-11, American right-wing terrorism and its body count has been keeping pace with violent Jihadists.

And it’s only getting worse. Anti-Semitic and other hate crimes are increasing in the Trump era.

Want to see another angry mob?

Trump rallies are not celebrations of tax cuts and deregulation. It's all about their resentment, anger and rage in an extended version of Orwell’s “Two minute hate”. Lately journalists and black women seem to be getting a special serving of ire.

So why are they so angry, even while holding most of the power of our government?

They are frightened. They believe in all their fear-mongering, scapegoating, conspiracies, and lies.

White Nationalism is in a frenzied panic. They still see themselves as the real oppressed “victims”, you know. They want to wield political power as a means to social and cultural dominance. As I said, it isn’t about tax cuts and deregulation. If it were, they would be happy now. No, they want to divide, conquer and rule. They will eventually fail in that goal, but their damage to truth, democracy, and decency will take decades to reverse.

And there is always the possibility that war can erupt at any time with nationalists in power, so there’s that.

The fact that corporate power is allied with, and abetted by, white nationalism will make it all the harder to uproot.

I'm not convinced the planet and civilization can emerge intact from the dire consequences of this plague of white nationalism. Global warming tells us time may not be on our side.

But I am convinced that not resisting will only allow them to double down on their destruction of our democratic republic and to get away with their rampage. So resist we must. This is our unending struggle for truth, democracy and decency.

We need to understand how creeping extremism insinuates itself into our society and subsumes large segments of our population.

The Trump Cult is loaded with fundamentalist Evangelicals, and it is proving religion is usually woven into the fabric of extremism and fascism.

These guys understood how it works:

On October 10, 1936 Heinrich Himmler created the Reich Central Office for Combating Homosexuality and Abortion, or Special Office (II S), a sub-department of Executive Department II of the Gestapo.

The inspiration?

"The National Government will regard it as its first and foremost duty to revive in the nation the spirit of unity and cooperation. It will preserve and defend those basic principles on which our nation has been built. It regards Christianity as the foundation of our national morality, and the family as the basis of national life." - Adolph Hitler "My New World Order" - Proclamation to the German Nation, Berlin, February 1, 1933

(Just to note, “Nation and National” appear FIVE times in those three sentences. “Socialism”? Zero. Socialism only appears after “National”. So yes, Nazis are nationalists after all. Remember “First they came for the socialists”?)

We recall the Wehrmacht's belt buckles were stamped with "Gott Mitt Uns".

The reactionary intolerance and bigotry of violent Jihadism and White Nationalism are cut from the same cloth. They even share targeting of Jews. And they all hate liberals, dissent, and a free press. Fusing politics and religion is always destructive to life, truth, and democracy.

Godwin's Law has been revised by Godwin himself: "First, let me get this Donald Trump issue out of the way: If you’re thoughtful about it and show some real awareness of history, go ahead and refer to Hitler or Nazis when you talk about Trump. Or any other politician."

The Trump cult is proving to be the spawn of nationalism and fundamentalism. A match made in hell, I dare say. 

The very real and very deadly threat of the American Axis of Evil brings us to consider the theme often attributed to Sinclair Lewis, although no one can source the exact quote.

“When Fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.”

Whoever first said it was paying attention to the simmering undercurrent of far Right America.

Also attributed to Sinclair Lewis, without source:

“The worst Fascists were they who disowned the word “Fascism” and preached enslavement to Capitalism under the style of Constitutional and Traditional Native American Liberty.”

Now we’re getting to the inner essence of the radical Right.

The following are more great statements on the merging of religion, corporatism, and nationalism into the roots of American neo-fascism.

“Every robber or oppressor in history has wrapped himself in a cloak of patriotism or religion, or both. I am not a patriot as defined in the lexicon of the house of Morgan. I’d not murder my fellow men of my own accord, and why should I do it at the behest of the master class?” - Eugene Debs

“No wonder Jackson said that ‘Patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrels’. He had the Wall Street gentry in mind or their prototypes, at least; for in every age it has been the tyrant, who has wrapped himself in the cloak of patriotism, or religion, or both.” - Eugene Debs

“The Ku Klux Klan comes wrapped in the American flag, as it were, advocating the American principles openly, with a Bible in its hand, and the very next day they are passing their neighbors with a mask over their faces.” Lonnie Jackson, mayor of Central City, Kentucky and president of District No. 23 of the United Mine Workers of America, 1923

“When and if fascism comes to America it will not be labeled ‘made in Germany’; it will not be marked with a swastika; it will not even be called fascism; it will be called, of course, Americanism.” - Professor Halford E. Luccock of the Divinity School of Yale University, September 1938.

“The truth is that Henry Wallace and former President Roosevelt have advocated supplementing our political Bill of Rights with an economic charter of rights, so that Fascism will not slip up on us wrapped in the flag and traveling in the name of free enterprise.” - Irving Johns letter published in the “Cleveland Plain Dealer 1945

And lest we forget America’s Last Prophet:

“When fascism comes to America, it will not be in brown and black shirts. It will not be with jack-boots. It will be Nike sneakers and Smiley shirts … Germany lost the Second World War. Fascism won it. Believe me, my friend.” – George Carlin

Now the American Axis of Evil comes into clear focus. That should just about cover it, but I would add this:

When Fascism comes to America, Americans will not recognize it.
When Fascism comes to America, Americans will want to be great again.
When Fascism comes to America, Americans will welcome it.

- Dave Dubya

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Patriotism v Nationalism


The post election press conference went as expected. The authoritarian leader declared victory after losing the House of Representatives.

Of course the press was attacked again. There were more whining accusations about “hostile media”, “fake news” and “enemy of the people”.

And this included a personal attack on Jim Acosta. "You are a rude, terrible person. You shouldn't be working for CNN."

So much for toning down the rhetoric.

But the White Nationalist had more rage to vent.

“Such a racist question!” Trump interrupted Yamiche Alcindor, the black female correspondent for PBS. He accused her several times that the question was "racist" and "insulting". She wasn’t allowed to finish her question without being interrupted. All she wanted was clarification on what he meant by calling himself a nationalist. In framing her question, she mentioned people saw it as emboldening white nationalists.

And there it is.

No wonder he didn’t want to answer her question. No wonder he projected “racist” at a black woman. White nationalists like Trump see themselves as “nationalists”, not white nationalists. They think we can’t see the sheet if they don’t hold it up, but we remember it was his birther flag that first rallied his base. 

Here’s the thing. Patriots love their country. They serve their country, the Constitution and above all the people. Most of us are patriots to one degree or another. Most of us are not nationalists.

Nationalists are different. They say the love the country, but hate half the people. They claim to want law and order, but when justice investigates their crimes, they attack justice. They hate democracy. They hate equality.

They want purity and power and superiority over not only other nations, but over domestic opposition as well. They don’t want to govern by fact, reason or compromise. They want to rule. They are very white and very conservative, and often very racist. And they are backed by the gilded elites and duped authoritarian evangelicals.

This is the Nationalist Party of Trump.

Anyone dividing the people, threatening political opponents, obstructing justice, and calling the press the enemy of the people, while bragging about being a nationalist IS evil.

He's doing what every evil tyrant in history has done.

Too many Americans have been asking for it. The sheep are drinking the koolade and following the authoritarians into the darkness of the coming abyss. And they will drag us with them, if we let them.  We American Patriots need to clearly see the threat to our country, to vote and to defend democracy and to stop the Nationalist Party of Trump. 

This election showed just how weak the Patriotic resistance is. The House is all we have for constitutional checks and balances. They are up against the corrupted radical Right White House and Senate. And their efforts will be blunted by a Supreme Court now owned by the forces of the Corporate/puritanical Right.

The Constitutional crisis that has been brewing for two years is about to come to a boil. Carl Bernstein is right. The “Cold Civil War” is here.

The United States might survive. But it will not be the same. A democratic republic cannot survive unless the Party of Trump and its owners are defeated and prevented from ever gaining power again. This express train to fascism is only being slowed temporarily.

For that we can be proud and grateful. But this is no time to rest in false comfort.

Meanwhile their war on justice, equality, decency, democracy, the free press, and the truth continues.

And for that I call them evil. We Patriots must always stand against the evil of anti-democratic corporatist nationalism.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Trump And Evil


Is Trump evil?

This is a question that needs open discussion in our gravely ill democratic republic.

I dared to make this statement: Those who side with Trump are wittingly, or unwittingly, siding with evil.

A conservative friend could’t see my point, and declared, “Anyone that supports Trump is siding with evil? Yeah, that is the way to tone down the bombastic rhetoric.”

I dare call out evil when I see it. If that is bombastic, so be it. (As if Trump ISN'T the real bombastic one?)

I’ll be as bombastic as I please as long as Trump bends the knee to Putin and his lies before the world, and sides with him, over our professional law enforcement and intelligence agencies.

I’ll be as bombastic as I please as long as Trump shreds truth and decency, and aids and abets corruption in our government, and fuels widespread hate in our national discourse.

Maybe I'm not being bombastic at all. Unlike Trump, I am just being honest.

Here is an accepted definition of Evil: profoundly immoral and malevolent... harmful; injurious

Trump IS evil. By almost any definition. He admitted to sex crimes. He is greedy. He is dishonest. He is narcissistic. He is a racist and rose to power on racist birtherism. He lies, he cheats, he hates, he instills and aggravates fear, anger, and resentments. And he employs all of that in service to his self-aggrandizement and power.

Isn't that evil enough? 

There's more. Much more.

One would think his deliberate and cruel policy of child abuse and trauma for people seeking asylum would make that clear. One would think his tax cuts for the rich and gutting health care and aid to the poor would make that clear. But no. All of a sudden the debt isn't a worry, until they want to cut out more public safety nets. Hypocrisy is evil too. It reeks of lies.

Trump is evil. If one supports him, one supports evil. Deal with it, deny it, deflect from it all day. But evil is evil, no matter what excuses his Party, white nationalists, or the rest of his cult want to make.



And there is this: “It is outrageous what the Democrats are doing to our Country. Vote Republican now!”  Trump tweeted along with the vile ad blaming Democrats for a cop killer, that is so racist networks are refusing to air it.

Message received:

“Go Trump Go! Your Midterm Ad is a masterpiece personifying the insanity of our immigration Policy. Bravo Trump!” - David Duke

Evil supporting evil. White Nationalism on display for all to see.

Voter suppression, gerrymandering, a far Right propaganda network, corrupt billionaires, and lies from the Party of Trump work ceaselessly to assure that pendulum never swings back to the center, let alone to the left.

They will succeed as long as ignorant, clueless, fearful, angry Americans see no evil in Trump and his Party, as they coddle the rich and screw the poor, as they pollute our air and water, and dismantle democracy and destroy the truth. 

Many reformed Republicans and decent conservatives agree with me. 

The bottom line today is this: A vote against the Party of Trump is a vote against evil. 


Sunday, November 4, 2018

Sunday Sermon


While few may be disappointed, there will be no preaching from "Rev. Dave" today.

Instead I present a final Sunday sermon, before the voters of the United States decide between truth and lies, between decency and hate, and between democracy and white nationalism.

Today two special guest pastors shall have the pulpit.

~~~~~~

Christianity and Totalitarianism

From the chapter entitled "Christianity and Totalitarianism" from Disputed Questions (1960) by Thomas Merton

A mass movement readily exploits the discontent and frustration of large segments of the population which for some reason or other cannot face the responsibility of being persons and standing on their own feet. But give these persons a movement to join, a cause to defend, and they will go to any extreme, stop at no crime, intoxicated as they are by the slogans that give them a pseudo-religious sense of transcending their own limitations. The member of a mass movement, afraid of his own isolation, and his own weakness as an individual, cannot face the task of discovering within himself the spiritual power and integrity which can be called forth only by love. Instead of this, he seeks a movement that will protect his weakness with a wall of anonymity and justify his acts by the sanction of collective glory and power. All the better if this is done out of hatred, for hatred is always easier and less subtle than love. It does not have to respect reality as love does. It does not have to take account of individual cases. Its solutions are simple and easy. It makes its decisions by a simple glance at a face, a colored skin, a uniform. It identifies an enemy by an accent, an unfamiliar turn of speech, an appeal to concepts that are difficult to understand. He is something unfamiliar. This is not "ours." This must be brought into line - or destroyed. 

Here is the great temptation of the modern age, this universal infection of fanaticism, this plague of intolerance, prejudice and hate which flows from the crippled nature of man who is afraid of love and does not dare to be a person. It is against this temptation most of all that the Christian must labor with inexhaustible patience and love, in silence, perhaps in repeated failure, seeking tirelessly to restore, wherever he can, and first of all in himself, the capacity of love and which makes man the living image of God.

Thomas Merton (1915-1968) was an American Trappist monk, writer, theologian, mystic, poet, social activist, and scholar of comparative religion. On May 26, 1949, he was ordained to the priesthood and given the name Father Louis.

~~~~~~

And we close with the famous poem about Nazis by German Pastor Martin Niemoeller:

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out--
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out--
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out--
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me--and there was no one left to speak for me. 

- Amen.

Go in peace. Go and vote.