Political scientist Lawrence Britt identified fourteen characteristics
common to fascist regimes around the world. The United States has
the dubious distinction of exhibiting all of them. The promotion
of nationalism, disdain for human rights, scapegoating of “enemies,” military
supremacy, sexist public policy, media control by the powerful,
obsessions with national security, use of religion to manipulate
public opinion, protection of corporate power, suppression of labor
power, disdain for intellectuals, obsession with crime, and rampant
cronyism have all come to full fruition in the last four years.
Britt’s fourteenth characteristic, last but certainly not least,
is the prevalence of election fraud. Their man is in trouble, so
the 2004 vote theft has begun in earnest. The use of faulty voting
machinery, the destruction of Democrat’s voter registration forms,
and rulings that suppress voter participation have already taken
place. Republican officials across the country are doing everything
they can to prevent as many Democratic voters as possible from
casting their ballots. The man most likely to play the Katherine
Harris role in 2004 is none other than Ken Blackwell, Ohio’s Secretary
Derisive terms like Uncle Tom should be used rarely. It is easier
to use invective rather than well reasoned debate. Name calling
can be an easy out. On the other hand, it works perfectly for the
Ken Blackwells of the world. Mr. Blackwell not only has a name
filled with irony, but he may have replaced Clarence Thomas as
the worst Uncle Tom in the nation.
Blackwell began his descent into turncoat hell
by doing everything in his power to suppress the vote in Ohio,
one of the so-called “swing
states” that will decide this election. He tried to uphold an obscure
and seldom enforced law mandating that voter registration forms
only be accepted if they were on paper of
a certain weight. Blackwell still wasn’t finished. A federal judge
ordered him to count provisional ballots
that may be cast in the incorrect voting precinct. The legal fights
will continue in Ohio and many other states until well after Election
Day. It is likely that on November 3rd the outcome may
still be unknown.
The voting booth is not the only place where
the Bushmen are boldly engaging in thuggish behaviors. Mothers
of dead soldiers, teachers
and teenagers have all been ejected from or threatened at Bush
campaign events if they say, wear or do anything that the Bushies
don’t like. A group of teachers in Medford, Oregon wore t-shirts
emblazoned with the plea, “Protect our civil liberties.” They didn’t
walk in with Kerry/Edwards posters, they just believe that civil
liberties are important. Unfortunately, their thoughts are in direct
conflict with number two on the fascism top fourteen list. The
teachers were told that their shirts were “obscene” and
were shown the door.
An 18 year-old Iowan wearing a t-shirt that
'04: Leave No Billionaire Behind" faced an even chillier reception.
He was warned that he ought not have any big ideas about exercising
his first amendment rights. He was told, “If you protest, it won't
be me taking you out. It will be a sniper.”
What is the standard bearer of the Democratic party doing while
teenagers are threatened with execution? He is hunting ducks, or
perhaps it is geese. John Kerry is dressing up like Elmer Fudd
and shooting any bird that moves in a battle ground state, all
in the hopes of getting the gun guy vote. I hope he succeeds. It
would be a shame if he dressed up like an idiot and still lost
While the man we want to fight the good fight is fighting game
birds, a possible omen of things to come is happening because of
flu season. Americans are going to Canada to
get the flu vaccine they ought to have here in their own country.
If Kerry loses many Americans will flee to Canada. We may become
like undocumented Mexicans, sneaking across the border in hopes
of finding decent health care and honest elections.
In the spirit of hope, optimism and accuracy it should be pointed
out that Kerry has a good chance of winning. Most polls are skewed
in favor of Republicans. If the race is allegedly a dead heat it
means that Kerry is actually ahead. There have been huge surges
in voter registration in swing states. These new voters are overwhelmingly
anti-Bush and are unlikely to be included in polls.
Will a President Kerry be up to the challenge from Fox News and
a Congress in all likelihood still controlled by Republicans? If
his campaign skills are any indication of his governing skills
then voting for him on November 2nd won’t be enough.
We will have to simultaneously fight his battles for him and take
over the Democratic party that has led us to this sorry situation.
If there is a fifteenth characteristic of fascism
it is the existence of an extremely lame opposition party, but
that must change. This
should be the last year that Democratic incumbents get a free ride
back into office. In 2006 there should be primary challenges for
the Kerryesque members of the House and Senate. If we don’t lay
down the law to the people who brought us to this precipice, we
will be biting our nails again in October 2008.
As I bite my nails I may be packing my bags for Toronto.
Margaret Kimberley’s Freedom Rider column appears weekly
Kimberley is a freelance writer living in New York City. She
can be reached via e-Mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can read more
of Ms. Kimberley's writings at http://freedomrider.blogspot.com/