Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The F word

Last week when I was listening to the Gonzales hearings it occured to me, yet again, how much further down the slippery slope toward fascism we have slid. An amendment to the Patriot Act made it possible for the executive to fire the attorneys without oversight by Congress. With the checks and balances removed, the executive branch quickly took action to eliminate dissenters from the judiciary. And now when we're trying to shut the barn door after the horse has run away, they are lying about it. Brazenly.

The Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC does a fine job illustrating how a fascist regime develops. The top floor of the museum is devoted to Germany before the Final Solution--the erosion of legal protections, the rise of xenophobia--and it's hard not to think about it when listening to Gonzo say "I don't remember" for the ten thousanth time and realizing that most fellow citizens still care far more about American Idol than the US Constitution.

So the thrust of Naomi Wolf's article from The Guardian this morning, "Fascist America in Ten Easy Steps," is not shocking. Though I admit I learned some things from it. (I did not know, for instance, that so many embedded journalists have been fired on by US troups.) Anyway, thanks to C for the article. It may not be shocking but it certainly is distressing.

This paragraph in particular gave me pause:
History shows that any leader, of any party, will be tempted to maintain emergency powers after the crisis has passed. With the gutting of traditional checks and balances, we are no less endangered by a President Hillary than by a President Giuliani--because any executive will be tempted to enforce his or her will through edict rather than the arduous, uncertain process of democratic negotiation and compromise.
What to do now?

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