ABOUT ME

fascism in America, American fascism, introduction, barbara backer-gray, the big no-no, american exceptionaism, the first democracy, the great experiment, quality of life, history education, world war two, WWII, fascism, authoritarianism, totalitarianism,

I immigrated from the Netherlands in 1994. Twenty-four years is long enough to understand how America works, and to be able to fill in the gaps with research. It’s also plenty long to have experienced America and American life firsthand.

I didn’t come to here in search of a better life. The quality of life is better in the Netherlands in every way and I was doing just fine. My move was a compromise, so my husband could follow the American dream of having his own business, which wouldn’t have been as easy in the Netherlands, seeing as he only spoke two languages, neither of which was even Dutch.

Americans, you love to say that “everyone wants to come to America” – “everyone” being people in Bangladesh and Nicaragua. And that’s your ‘proof’ that America is the greatest country in the world. You’ve been too complacent, too self-satisfied with being the first democracy and the Great Experiment. Most of the other industrialized countries have surpassed you long ago by almost every measure, including democracy…

..And education, specifically history education. It’s one of the reasons you haven’t learned the lessons from World War Two that Western Europe has.  (The other reason is geography. You were never invaded and occupied for years by the fascists.)

As a result of American exceptionalism, your complacency and your lack of history education, you now have a would-be fascist dictator as president. The only things preventing him from being an actual fascist dictator are your system of separation of powers and freedom of speech – the freedom to speak truth to power. And you are letting both unravel before our eyes. Even though more folks are beginning to speak up now, too many people still don’t see what’s happening. Too many Americans don’t recognize fascism, even when they’re living it. Because yes, you are living some of it already.

So, on this blog I touch on topics that are either elements of fascism or closely related to fascism in America. Many aspects have already been part of American life for a long time, and that’s part of the problem. In some ways America looks like a country in a novel, set a hundred years after fascists reshaped it. You need someone else to hold up a mirror, so you can see what you’ve been doing. I’m happy to oblige.

So, to all of you who are now fuming and shouting at your computer screens that I’m “a damn lib’ral elite commie foreigner who thinks she can come to this country and tell us what to do!”, you’re spot on.

Except that I’m definitely not a commie. I’m also not elite, at least not to Dutch standards. I had a pretty unremarkable education. I’m not a scholar, and this is not a scholarly blog. I’m not a political scientist or a historian. I was a librarian in what seems like a previous life by now. I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth, either – As a kid in Australia there were times we had to wipe our butts with newspaper and I had sandwiches spread with leftover gravy from the neighbors instead of butter for lunch, with sugar as the topping.

I’m just a middle-aged white foreign woman with time on my hands and I’m not afraid to use it.

If you’re interested in my life as an immigrant, you can visit my Resident Alien blog. If you want more of a resume, click here. Otherwise, have at it.

 

Barbara Backer-Gray