(That’s Main Stream Media)
I have been saying it about the New Republican party for a long time and now the British newspaper The Guardian is saying it in a column by Robert Reich, the former US Secretary of Labor who served under the Clinton administration…
Maybe US mainstream media should begin using the term ‘fascism’
My tweet about Ron DeSantis provoked outrage in rightwing media – perhaps it hit the nerve of the fascism now taking root in the Republican party?
August 31, 2022
I’ve been watching the Florida governor, Ron DeSantis, for some time. Last Tuesday I tweeted: “Just wondering if ‘DeSantis’ is now officially a synonym for ‘fascist’.”
I was surprised at the outrage my little tweet provoked in rightwing media.
The Washington Examiner, for example, called me an “ultra-leftwing elitist” who wrote an “insulting slur”, which is “what leftwing ideologues do when they discuss Republican politicians who pose any threat to the existence of their political ideology … Anyone the Democrats don’t like or disagree with is a fascist.”
Well sometimes it is deserved.
In Florida, discussions of sexual orientation and gender identity are now barred in schools. Math textbooks have been rejected for what officials call “indoctrination”. Claiming tenured professors in Florida’s public universities were “indoctrinating” students, DeSantis spearheaded a law requiring them to be reviewed every five years.
Teachers are limited in what they can teach about racism and other tragic aspects of American history. DeSantis has got personally involved in local school board races, endorsing and campaigning for 30 board candidates who agree with him (so far, 20 have won outright, five are going to runoffs).
Abortions are banned after 15 weeks. (DeSantis recently suspended an elected prosecutor who said he would refuse to enforce the anti-abortion law.)
Welcome to the New Republican party… bans free speech, bans a person’s right to their own body, supports racism, supports transphobia and homophobia, and overturns elected officials if they don’t tow the governor’s ideology.
So, is it useful to characterize DeSantis’s combination of homophobia, transphobia, racism and misogyny, along with his efforts to control the public schools and universities and to intimidate the private sector (eg, Disney), as redolent of fascism?
America’s mainstream media is by now comfortable talking and writing about “authoritarianism”. Maybe it should also begin using the term “fascism”, where appropriate.
Authoritarianism implies the absence of democracy, a dictatorship. Fascism – from the Latin fasces, denoting a tightly bound bundle of wooden rods typically including a protruding axe blade, adopted by Benito Mussolini in the 1930s to symbolize his total power – is different.
Fascism also includes hatred of “them” (people considered different by race or religion, or outside the mainstream, or who were born abroad), control over what people learn and what books they are allowed to read, control over what had been independent government units (school boards, medical boards, universities and so on), control over women and the most intimate and difficult decisions they’ll ever make, and demands that the private sector support the regime.
It fits the New Republican party to a T.