Facism Disguised as "Patriotism"
By Brian Ogle
It’s a new year, and the airwaves are once again rife with presidential election-year politics.
Politicians on both sides of the aisle are carefully crafting their rhetoric in an attempt to appeal to as many voters as possible. In addition to the calls for “change”—the buzzword of choice, this election cycle—there runs another common thread in the discourse. In stark contrast to these vague, perhaps meaningless, calls for change, however, there is an apparent slant toward American fascism.
Based on this second disconcerting theme, we are witnessing the rise of an ideology which threatens the American public and perhaps more importantly the prospect of future world peace. If you have had the opportunity to tune in to a presidential debate, you have surely noticed an overt patriotism among the mainstream candidates. While superficially this may not seem problematic, the trend toward flag worship represents in reality the rise of American fascism.
You may be wondering, what is wrong with protecting American interests here and around the world? We live in a post-9/11 world, and that means we have to stand strong against the forces of extremism and terror—be they on the home front or anywhere else in the world. If a country stands in the way of our continued existence as a world hegemonic power, why shouldn’t we invade, occupy, and exploit (commonly referred to as “democratize”) that enemy? We are the good guy in the world, after all.
Or so this line of thinking goes.
However, this ideology represents a dangerous perspective, one which currently stands as a substantial barrier to achieving world peace. America’s political, military, and economic leadership holds the current balance of power paramount—a system of international relations whereby Americans are privileged to enjoy a relatively comfortable material existence by exploiting the people of the rest of the world—and worthy of maintenance.
This maintenance, as the so-called “war on terror” reveals, is achieved through military aggression throughout the world. This aggressive foreign policy stance is already and will continue to necessitate global political instability.
Of course, the Republican Party has been explicitly fascist for some time now. Classical conservatism being run out of Washington by the neoconservative movement, Republicanism now stands for ever-expanding American-centered corporate, military, and economic conquest.
The Project for the New American Century for instance, a neoconservative think tank to which many of America’s Republican leaders subscribe, is the fascistic outline for another century of unilateral American political and economic dominance in the world. It is ever-more obvious that modern Republicans have no issue with the political upheaval necessitated by exploitative American imperialism.
But it’s been said that ambition must be made to counteract ambition, and as the Democrats are making increasingly clear, they are not interested in combating neoconservatism. The rhetoric from all the Democratic candidates is clear.
In the recent Democratic debate, I watched as the three-headed monster embodied in hopefuls Clinton, Obama, and Edwards all espoused this ultra-nationalistic foreign policy stance. To paraphrase, the Democratic contenders have unanimously issued the vague campaign promise to protect American interests at home and abroad; refusing to appear soft on foreign policy, they state that all options are on the table when it comes to this protection of “American interests.”
So what is my fear? I am scared that come November, Americans will head to the polls and cast a vote they believe to be for change. Thinking the Democratic Party is a real alternative to the overtly fascist policies of the Bush regime, we’ll elect a president without any substantive differences from the current foreign policy that places “American interests” above the goal of world peace.
In reality, the Democrats and Republicans are now simply the right and left wing of a singular American Fascist Party.
Though Americans have spent much of the last half-century detached from politics, it is time for us to wise up to blanket appeals by politicians to protection of “the national interest.”
In fact, it is time for Americans to outright reject our country’s current, self-destructive foreign policy stance. The next time you hear a presidential candidate making claims to protect the motherland, recognize it for what it is: American fascism.
Brian Ogle is a senior.