Sane people can never quite grok how someone will always show up to place a million to one bet on something preposterous on the pure hope that “it could happen”. Those bets never pay off and are never going to. Republicans keep betting that the Titanic – having already hit the iceberg and begun taking on water – isn’t going to sink. They think they’re all Molly Brown – except Molly’s floating away on a lifeboat while they’re sinking into the cold, icy deep. The Republicans are pirates who believe in magic. They’re white guys deluded by their own whiteness; they think because white people imposed their racist will on Europe once – which they failed at horribly, remember – that they can do it again here… with the same results? That’s the whole kicker to white supremacists worshipping Hitler. He’s the literal poster boy for what happens when you let white people’s id run amok. Sure, you get to kill millions of people you hate and (briefly) take over the world. But, then the majority finally imposes its will – and your “thousand year Reich” comes up a little short.
There’s no prettying up what’s about to happen here. It is going to be ugly and violent because of what’s at stake: white hegemony. Literally.
America is on its way to being a white minority nation. Nothing’s going to stop that. Not even the Republican Party attempting to impose permanent minority rule upon the rest of us. The Republican’s racist brain trust – Steve Bannon and Mike Flynn, the Mercers, Charles Koch, Sean Hannity – believes it can pull a “Packer Sweep” and flatten the rest of us into submission as they end American democracy on their own say-so. They believe that what happened in Nazi Germany can happen here. They hope like hell it IS happening here.
But, the GOP is absolutely wrong about that. Their power grab is doomed to fail. Here’s why.
America simply isn’t like any other country – least of all, like Germany at the moment fascism took hold of it. What we think of as “Germans” and “Germany” is a relatively recent invention. The modern political states of Europe are each the product of two thousand years plus of evolution that slowly changed Huns, Visigoths, Ostrogoths, Vandals, Burgundians,, Lombards, Saxons and Franks (among others) into Germans, French, Italians, Belgians, Spaniards and English people (among others). The Europeans’ pathogens cleared the way for white people to conquer North, South and Central America with a modicum of effort. White northern Europeans especially stepped onto American shores utterly convinced of their superiority. The Americas are still suffering for that delusion.
The whole rest of the world then, in essence, saw America for the blank slate of potential it always was. While virtually every other human society had been around or evolving in place for a millennium at least, the society that filled up the pathogen-emptied America was made up of all those other human societies. No one – not even the Pilgrims – came here looking for any sort of religious freedom. The Pilgrims found their religious freedom in the Netherlands after they left England. They came to America looking for money – because living lives of religious freedom was expensive. My point: America was always seen as a place for opportunity. For reinvention. Where, if one was willing to put in the hard work, regardless of who you are, regardless of where you’re from, you too can achieve your dreams (so long as that doesn’t infringe on someone else achieving their dreams).
White people may think they “invented” America, but they didn’t. The best we can say for the country’s founders is that these rich, Christian, land-owning men had a great idea in their heads – inspired by the French Enlightenment – that people didn’t need kings to govern them, that they could govern themselves. To that end our founders wrote “All men are created equal”. But, being fallible – and being especially fallible cos “men” – they didn’t get the execution of this great idea one hundred percent right. For starters, they didn’t actually mean “all men” are created equal. They only meant that men like them were equal. In their eyes. They also meant that ONLY men could be their equals. Women need not apply or vote. Some of the founders though understood America, understood what made America worth founding, the republic worth keeping. James Madison insisted that “E Pluribus Unum” be our Great Seal.
“From many one”. That is how America happened. It is precisely what makes America exceptional.
It’s the thing Republicans are hell bent on steering America away from. They will fail. It is inevitable. Hitler relied on both the enthusiasm and physical violence of his followers and the silent, tacit approval of everyone else. There may have been plenty of “Good Germans” who didn’t “like” what Hitler was doing. They didn’t try to stop him either. End of the day? They were more “German” than “good”. Hitler relied on that “German-ness”. The Republicans also are relying on a cohesive “white” response to their power grab. Republicans are relying on enough white people to coalesce around the idea of permanent white hegemony to cow the rest of us into permanent acceptance of same.
I wish them luck with that.
For the Republicans to accomplish their goal, they would have to get the REST of the white people to go along PLUS Black people, brown people, Asian people, LGBTQ people, Jews, Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus and Buddhists. We’ll all have to agree to go along to get along. We’ll have to resist seeing common purpose in a common foe. We’ll have to stop ourselves from reacting to each new outrage with mounting contempt for the evil that thinks it can abuse us and get away with it.
IF the Republicans succeed at stealing our democracy out from under us – the only way it can happen – it will be a long, ugly, violent process to get it back. But we will because, at that point, what choice will the rest of us have? Trust me when I say this – as a child of the Holocaust: never again.
The Republicans think their whiteness is a talisman. They couldn’t be more wrong.