(10-30-2017, updated 07-11-2018) Fascism in America Part 11: Conclusion. Most of you Americans on the left were gobsmacked when Trump won the election. You completely underestimated his allure. So we now have a wanna-be fascist in the White House. Apart from dealing with the matter at hand, you all also have to think about post-Trump America.
(10-29-2017, updated 07-11-2018) Propaganda, Censorship and Other Suppression of Dissent. The fascist attitude: if you're not for us, you're against us and therefore an enemy of the state. Suppression of opposition is key. Book bans, book burning, press censorship, etc. The flip side of government suppression of dissent is government propaganda. Distorting facts and history to create a convenient story to force-feed to the masses.
(10-21-2017, updated 07-11-2018) Totalitarian governments don't acknowledge individual liberties. Everyone must support the state. No dissent, democratic elections, freedom of speech, or a free press. North Korea is a totalitarian state, as are theocracies like Iran and Pakistan. In a theocracy the leaders' holy book is the supreme authority, not democratically created laws. American Christian extremists want this as well.
(10-10-2017, updated 07-11-2018) Patriotism v nationalism -- nationalism v patriotism. How Indoctrination With National Symbols and Rituals Has Primed America for a Fascist Take-over. The flag, the Pledge, the national anthem--these are supposedly meant to instill patriotism and unity in Americans. They instill nationalism instead. And they're not to be questioned. Patriotism is a love of country. Nationalism demands conformity and incites hatred toward The Other.
(10-03-2017, updated 07-11-2018) How Language Shapes Americans' Attitudes Toward the Outside World. "America is the greatest country in the world." If you're born in America you've heard it all your life. This kind of nationalistic language is not just an innocent expression of patriotism -- it stifles curiosity, it prevents necessary dialogue about serious issues and it even leads to xenophobia.
(10-01-2017, updated 07-11-2018) Nationalism is Both Dangerous and Dangerously Naive. Americans aren't special or immune to fascist tendencies -- I think we all know that now. I have said for decades that it's dangerous to make kindergartners pledge allegiance to the flag, because it's nationalist indoctrination and it can easily lead to fascism. The response was always a breezy "Oh, that would never happen here. We're just proud of our country--nothing wrong with that."
(09-30-2017, updated 07-12-2018) American Fascism: Don't Get Me Started! I was invited to speak at an anti-fascist group meeting today, to give my Dutch perspective on American fascism, since Holland was under German occupation during WWII. Folks, be careful what you wish for! I had way too much information just getting through a definition of fascism. That's okay, though. It gave me fodder for another series of posts (and a year later it's the reason I'm starting a separate blog on the topic! 07-12-2018).
(09-26-2017, updated 07-12-2018) What Are American Values? What Is Patriotism? NFL players kneeling during the National Anthem!They're disrespecting the troops! The country! The flag! You are confused, but I understand. The symbols have become so important to you that you forget what they stand for. Do I need to remind you what your ideals are? Well fine, if you insist. Here's a little refresher, from an immigrant. You're welcome.
(09-05-2017, updated 07-12-2018) Optimists still think that the white supremacists in Charlottesville were outliers, or that this is when everything changes. I'm not that optimistic. Too many Americans can't distinguish between patriotism and nationalism, let alone malignant nationalism. Or why that's important. To many outsiders America already lives with "a very quiet kind of fascism". I've always felt that America is primed for a fascist takeover. I'm sure most readers will still think, even after Charlottesville, that I'm overreacting, But I don't think I am.
(01-31-2016, updated 07-14-2018) Surprise? Only in America and only to Americans. In an otherwise good article, Ann Marie Cox claims that Trump's success in this GOP primary race could not have been foreseen with logic or by looking at history. Really?
(08-30-2013, updated 07-15-2018) Two days after my last post, the daily prompt is "I Pledge Allegiance". Very funny. The question: "Are you patriotic, and what is patriotism to you". It has never meant one country that I love above all others. When I lived in Australia, I couldn't wait to go back to the Netherlands, because my grandfather, who was a teacher, told me that in the Netherlands teachers go to jail if they hit a child.
The time I stood up for world citizens and battled nationalism and boycotted the Pledge of Allegiance in a Montessori school and won ... sort of. (08-29-2013, updated 07-15-2018) Ipledgeafallegiance just changed the lyrics to the song "God Bless America". Which reminded me that I once wrote my own version of the Pledge of Allegiance. It was not too long after 9-11