Thursday, September 4, 2008

There's One in the Campaign, He Don't Look Right To Me

Yesterday, like a total klutz, I managed to trip and bang my chest pretty badly and probably cracked a rib. At least I hope that's it. It feels exactly like the last time I cracked ribs, when The Wife's (then fiancée's) softball-lesbian roommate drunkenly pounced on me as a gag, knocked me to the ground and drove a knee into my chest.

I'd love to sit up at a computer and write something more balanced and thought-out than a reactive post, but I can't lean in one direction or another, move my left arm or even breathe hard without it feeling like someone's stabbing me a few inches under my left collarbone. As such, I don't have much for today. I'd rather fire this off and get back to lying propped up and trying to drift off with the help of expired pain medication.

Laughing hurts me, so I decided to watch the Republican National Convention, because I was certain not one ounce of pleasure could come from it. I was right. Watching close-ups of the crowd at the RNC is like watching a Ralph Steadman cartoon without its being a cartoon. When they pull back for the chants in unison, it's just a shabbier Nuremberg. The people are uglier, can't stand in lockstep formation, and too many of them are old. But they got the tricolor banners, the hagiography for Dear Leader, the struggle, the picture of an attacked city, the constant refrain of fear — all that came through like gangbusters.

People might object to my characterizing the RNC as a Nazi rally, but I hardly think it's unfair anymore. I'm reminded of an intelligent series on Orcinus called, "If Conservatives Really, Really Hate Being Called Fascists ... Then Maybe They Should Stop Talking and Behaving Like Them." Go ahead, read it. It's good:
What I saw tonight debases the human race. Tonight, a woman stood on stage to promote torture by frightening you with another candidate who would have the inhumanly pinheaded fucking gall to ensure civil rights for other human beings.

Tonight, people stood on stage and proudly and loudly reiterated the Big Lie that Iraq had anything to do with 9/11, despite the Pentagon itself denying any connection or that Iraq even had WMDs.

Tonight, a man stood on stage and sincerely reiterated the Dolchstoßlegende: the myth that the greatness of the nation is being stabbed-in-the-back by moneyed liberal elites who hate the troops and hate the country.

Tonight, that same man attempted to scare the living shit out of you by describing dark and sinister forces of brown people who will work tirelessly to destroy our nation, via the same principles as that tired old Göring quote, that,
It is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.*

* — The truly depressing thing is not that Giuliani is perfect at following this script and trying to scare you shitless every four years. It's that he lacks the gravitas to have thought up this idea on his own or to have articulated it as well as a fat, morphine-addicted ex-flyboy hedonist.

Then he said that the socialist opposition party will work in league with them.

He said this all to a group of people 99% white (or, at least, white enough so that you can tell when the cameraman is desperate to find some minority too wealthy to care anymore about being cynically exploited by a group at least partially comprised of people who would prefer to deport him) who believe in a party platform that there are still other, different brown and sinister people infiltrating this country to sap it of its vitality from within — all with the toleration of the socialist opposition party.

Replace the words "brown people" with "Jews," and you have the exact same rhetorical content of Nuremberg.

If I sound a little angry, maybe it's because I believe the party of Lincoln's racial equality and Teddy Roosevelt's social progressivism shouldn't be running a candidate who says he will forever hate "gooks" while his cohorts attempt to fill you with mortal fear of "spics" and "hadjis" so they can gain enough of a majority to finally grasp that sweet objectivist prize: to shatter those last lingering concepts of democracy as a public and communal experiment for the betterment of all within a common weal; to strip away institutions like public education — which our forebears fought for decades to establish as universal rights for all people — and in the process of privatizing them further enrich pre-enriched friends who've just gotten into the pay-school, pay-road or clean-water-rental business.

Maybe it's because I think the Grand Old Party shouldn't set their propagandists to cast their black opponent as an "other," with bizarre and foreign TERRORIST FIST BUMPS and an association with Chicago community groups they dismiss as "street thugs."

Maybe I'm a little angry that the Grand Old Party seems to have a large contingent of members deeply disappointed that they can't just save their breath and finally get some serious wood from calling him "Nigger Heathen."

And if I sound a little hysterical because, "Shyeah, brah, how could fascism even happen here in America? They don't even have swastikas and shit," it's because symbols are interchangeable. It doesn't matter if they pick Lady Liberty, the flag, an eagle or Uncle Sam — or a mechanized Uncle Sam with an eagle's head and a great rack and a flag cape that gives him the ability to fly. They could pick fucking Ronald McDonald and Flint from G.I. Joe, and it still wouldn't matter.

It doesn't matter who's on the big banner when the people marching with it are repeating the same overall message: eliminate the foreign threat from within; execute the weak liberals in collusion with our enemies to save "the people"; fear the next attack; cure the depravity and disease of modernism; purge the community of homosexuals. The cover art doesn't matter when the table of contents shows you that it's The Fascist Playbook.

And maybe, maybe I'd stop getting this mad if finding these pictures on non-white-supremacist conservative message boards wasn't ridiculously fucking easy:

Reverse Racism:

Foreign, Warlike, Primitive, Go Back to Africa:

40s, Poor, Thug Life, Gangbanger:

Foreign Invader, Homosexual:

And Just Good Old Fashioned "Shit People":

Who let all this riff-raff into the room?