Reader's View: The threat of fascism hasn’t passed
Patriotism is manipulated to foster fascist development, with the flag as a prop.
The re-election of Donald Trump to a second term presidency may have continued the U.S.’s sinking into dictatorship, of which fascism is one type.
Fascism involves extreme nationalism (“America First”). Patriotism is manipulated to foster fascist development, with the flag as a prop. And there is a focus on the revival of a previous, better time (MAGA).
The “Big Lie” propaganda technique is one of the bases for the fascist perspective (“Jews stabbed Germany in the back, so World War I was lost!” and “I won the election!”). Adherents are made to feel like victims (“The election was stolen!”). At first, armed thugs may be used for intimidation (heavily armed protestors at the Michigan state capitol). The leader develops a strong cult of personality in his loyal followers.
People desiring to develop an authoritarian government have two choices: violence or elections. Before World War II, Italy and Russia chose violence, as did Hitler. But his 1923 Beer Hall march wasn’t successful. The Nazis then chose to participate in the elections of the German Republic. After 10 years they succeeded in taking power and ended elections. Their campaigns were built on a house of cards (lies).
The victimization of the American people by fascist propaganda, in a time of crisis, was shown in the 1930s Great Depression. Three fascist organizations emerged, Friends of New Germany, German-American Bund, and America First. They used propaganda to disrupt relations in the U.S. and to form favorable attitudes toward Nazi Germany. Training and recreational camps were established. Marches were held. At its apex in 1939, 20,000 members attended a German-American Bund rally in New York City.
With the beginning of World War II, these organizations faded away. However, this authoritarian problem could only be temporarily sleeping. Let’s prevent any renewal.
Donald E. Maypole