Having been born in 1959, I grew up in the shadow of the Holocaust. My first grade Hebrew School teacher Mrs. Lederkranz had a number tattooed into her arm. Though we were all only six, all the kids in our class – in all her classes – knew how that number got there. Pikesville, MD – the Baltimore suburb where I grew up – was mostly upper middle class Jewish. People not from Pikesville “cleverly” called it “kikesville”. My public high school was ninety percent Jewish. Even the non-Jewish kids took the Jewish holidays off because they knew: no one would be at school. We did not shy away from this terrible thing that had befallen our tribe. We made remembering it fundamental to going forward. “Never again!” That was – still is – the mantra.
Never again means never again. Jews may not count for many Americans (though we tend to be pretty out-in-the-open), but we still hold firmly to that “never again” way of thinking. Of being. Even if everyone else went along with the GOP’s authoritarian wet dream, the Jews wouldn’t. We would be part of “that thing” the fascists were determined to destroy.
Here in America, “that thing” is going to be the fascists’ problem. In fascist Germany, it sucked to be Jewish, gay, Romani, a Communist or just generally anti-fascist. Here in America, it sucks to be a lot more things than that courtesy of white racism. In fact, our whole current crisis can be traced back to white racism.
Right Wing Money Panic
As the Reagan “Revolution” waned (just curious: is indulging greed out the wazoo really “a revolution”?), the white, right wing money (the Kochs, the Mercers etc) saw disaster looming just ahead: the end of white hegemony – and far sooner than anyone had anticipated. In response, the right wing money invested heavily in local elections – school boards especially. That made gerrymandering easy.
Voter suppression comes naturally to them all. Witness Marjory Taylor Greene’s demand for a Red America-Blue America divorce. Part of the rules of the break up – Blue Americans wanting to live in Red America (who would that be exactly?) wouldn’t be allowed to vote in Red America elections for five years. Is that because Red America fears it will take at least that long to convince anyone with a brain to vote for them – even in a place where they’re the only people for whom one can vote?
Look at all the places fascism or authoritarianism has risen and then successfully took over the country. There aren’t that many actually, but they all have one essential thing in common: homogeneity. Germany became Nazi Germany with relative ease because everyone in Germany was completely German.
By “completely German”, I mean their families were proto-German going back thousands of years. What we now call “Germany” is the product of diverse tribes (Huns, Visigoths, Ostrogoths, Vandals, Burgundians, Lombards, Saxons and Franks) slowly coming together (when not warring with each other) to form what we now call “Germans”). That same homogenization process created the French, English, Spanish, Swiss and pretty much the people of every nation of Europe.
While some Germans opposed fascism, they were still German in every other German’s eyes. Because they didn’t take up fascism, they became traitors in the eyes of ordinary Germans. Pulling together a “Rally At Nuremburg” would be impossible here in America. Americans can be motivated to rally big but not by their government. It’s never been how we rolled. And then there’s the real problem: what does anyone mean by an “ordinary American”?
A Nation Of Nations
America really is like no other country that ever was. While our founding documents were written and signed by English men, their idea of a democratic republic transcended their racist limitations and limited racist outlook. Alas they did not mean “all men” when they wrote “All men are created equal”. Double alas – they did mean the men part.
Fortunately, James Madison sensed something of where America’s true greatness lay; he insisted we make E Pluribus Unum our motto (and that it be on our Great Seal). Out of many, one. Diversity.
That always was and always will be America’s secret sauce.
It’s the reason why America will not go fascist. Even if fascists managed to seize control of our government, they’d face the most fierce resistance any fascists have ever faced. The Black community will not join America’s fascists. Nether will the Latino, Asian, Pacific Islander, Muslim or any other non-white community in America.
America’s fascists will be exclusively white. The majority opposing them will be everything else PLUS a shitload of white people who hate fascists. Considering as there’ll be no upside to joining the fascists, no one will join them. In America, both sides are already armed to the teeth. The white people may have more guns – but, I hate to break it to the white people, they can only ever shoot one gun at a time. Subduing a nation filled with people who aren’t like you – and hate you – and have weapons – is going to be way harder than America’s fascists think.
Some of us will think “never again” as we resist. Others will think “no-effing-WAY!” It won’t work out well for the fascists regardless.