The Republican Party’s big secret is out. They’ve foresworn conservatism for outright fascism. America’s political balance needs conservatives – and I say that as a progressive. Opposition isn’t a bad thing. It keeps everyone honest. And progressives, whether they accept it or not, need a conservative counterweight. But, we definitely don’t need the brown shirt mentality that the GOP has heartily embraced as Its Brand. Fascists are fanatical and therefore inherently dangerous. But, success – even in their own eyes – relies on the nation embracing them and their cause. They insist – to themselves especially – that they speak for the majority. Not possible. The majority’s diverse and American fascists aren’t. Fascism won’t conquer America because diversity won’t let it.
Tribes & Tribalism
Facism is pure tribalism. Us v them. What matters is how the fascists define “us” and “them”. In Germany, “us” was Germans. But, “Germans” didn’t just drop from the sky. The nationality we now call “Germans” began two thousand years ago as a scattering of militaristic tribes: Vandals, Gepids, Ostrogoths, Visigoths, Marcomanni, Alamanni, Franks, Angles, and Saxons. Over time, when they weren’t warring with each other, these tribes – joined by Huns around 370 CE – fused into “Germans”. By 1871, the German Empire was a going concern. Almost everyone within its borders looked at themselves as “German”. Repeat: almost everyone.
Fascism breathes tribalism like oxygen. Us v them. Only “real” Germans could be “German”. Jews who lived in Germany weren’t German, they were Jews living in Germany. See the difference? Same went for Roma people.
In Germany, 99% of everyone was German. So, when Germans decided to show up at the parade grounds to “Celebrate Being German”, plenty of Germans showed up! Wherever fascists gather en masse, as they look around, they see not only other fascists but fellow countrymen. Men and women exactly like them.
The Americas As Blank Slate
America simply isn’t like any other country that ever existed in the world. Had not European pathogens wiped out America’s native peoples before most Europeans even arrived, there might not have been an “America”. So, let’s stick a pin in the whole idea that European cultural or military superiority won out. The rest of the world arrived in North America and found, for all intents and purposes, a blank slate.
The Vikings got to North America first but lacked ambition. They went home not long after arriving. The English brought ambition – and commercial interest. The first settlers in the Virginia Colony were intrepid all right and looking to remake themselves. But they still worked for The Virginia Company; the Virginia Company was a business venture and nothing more. Even the Pilgrims came here looking for money, not religious freedom. They found religious freedom in Holland after leaving PlymouthRoe v Wade. What they didn’t find there was a way to pay the rent.
That’s why the Pilgrims came to America. It’s why everyone came here!
Diversity Likes Democracy
Democracy wasn’t an English idea. But, it’s an idea people from all around the world embrace. While Germany was a nation made up of Germans – and France a nation of French, Spain a nation of Spanish, Russia a nation of Russians and China a nation of Chinese – America wasn’t any such thing. Instead, America was – still is – a nation made up of all the other nations.
This is the thing that will kill fascism dead. It’s the thing that makes America exceptional. Diversity.
Hitler relied on just enough Germans to feel just German enough to keep all the other Germans in line. Fascism is tribal but it’s bullying, too. Bullies rely on weak followers to do their dirtiest work. Militarism still flows through Germanic DNA. Use v them. What does a fascist do though when he’s surrounded by them instead of us?
It Sucks Being A Minority In America
That’s the fascist problem in America. They’ll never be surrounded by their own. A vicious, violent, militaristic German minority could dictate to a passive German majority because they were all German. Here in America, a vicious, violent, militaristic white supremacist militia will never speak for a majority. At the moment of truth, when the fascists rely on a mass reaction, there won’t be a mass to react.
The mass – the rest of us – is far too diverse to do anything even remotely like what white supremacists would want us to do. Their only hope is to finish dividing and conquering us. Alas, the rest of us are now far too woke for that to happen. America’s white fascists can’t rally America around its cause like Hitler rallying Germans at Nuremburg.
Fascism has always had a place at America’s table. It’s time we sent it from the room. From the house even. Hell – from the zip code. As the Reagan years waned – and with them conservatism’s “golden age”, the Right Wing Money (the Kochs & Mercers) saw demographic obliteration ahead. Worse, it was coming at them far faster than they’d expected.
Why Fascism Will Fail
In a lot of ways, fascism’s power grab mirrors the anti-abortion movement’s toppling of Roe v Wade. A pipe dream became a stone cold reality. Alas, they really re the car-chasing dog who catches the car, jumps behind the wheel and realizes: I have zero idea how to drive. It was grievance and never governance.
Fascism can’t drive America anywhere – not even off a cliff – because the rest of America simply won’t let it. That doesn’t mean fascism won’t keep trying. But, in addition to being the dog who catches the car, they’re also the crazy person who keeps doing the same pointless thing expecting a different result. Fascism won’t conquer America because diversity won’t let it.
Photo credit: https://www.meer.com/en/31033-diversity-not-fascism – Diversity Not Fascism. Courtesy of Gallery Different