The violent acts against the people, whether by civilians or militarized police, seem to come faster and faster.
On October 24, a white man in Jeffersontown, KY gunned down two black senior citizens at a grocery store just minutes after he tried to enter a black church. Three days later in Pittsburgh, another gunman entered the Tree of Life synagogue and killed 11 worshippers in cold blood.
Those outrages followed the arrest of a Trump supporter for the mass-mailing of pipe bombs to Trump opponents. They follow the ongoing demonization of immigrants and refugees by Trump, along with his ominous threats to have U.S. troops shoot asylum-seekers arriving at the southern border. An even longer list of victims and horrific events goes back years.
Trump’s racist, aggressive statements have helped create a climate for violence, but Trump and the Republicans are not the only problem. A culture of violence and contempt for human life has been cultivated in our country for many years. This culture of violence rests on the ugly side of our country’s history that includes slavery and the slaughter of the native population.
But the violence we see now is not only an extension of the past. Today, a fascist culture of hatred and division (like we saw in Nazi Germany) is being fostered to pave the way for a dictatorship. Hatred of others based on things like color, religion, or nationality is fomented. In 1930s Germany, the Nazis targeted Jews and communists, among others. In America today, the targets include Blacks, Muslims, immigrants, Jews and the homeless, among others. Denying their rights sets the stage for denying everyone’s rights. Democracy is undermined, preparing the way for dictatorship.
Why is this happening? The root cause is a vast change in the U.S. and world economy. Increasingly, high-tech robots are replacing humans in economic production.
This has left millions of people permanently unemployed or working multiple jobs that don’t pay enough to live on. The few powerful owners of big wealth know these millions of people will rebel and demand a moral government and society that takes care of their needs. To protect their wealth and power, the few are building a dictatorship in order to stop the movement of the many.
Legislation to give teeth to a corporate dictatorship is already on the books. The Patriot Act of 2001 and the Freedom Act of 2015 vastly expanded the government’s powers to spy on and jail without due process anyone in this country. The law also created the crime of “domestic terrorism,” and defined it so that it could include political protests. And under the National Defense Authorization Act the president can order the arrest and indefinite detention without charge or trial of anyone labeled a suspected terrorist or belligerent. Both Democratic and Republican presidents have signed off on these laws.
But millions of people are saying no to the terror, no to the direction the country is heading, no to people living without clean water, housing or healthcare, and no to children in cages. There is a growing movement to defend democracy and demand that government serve our needs. The antidote to the culture of fascism is the culture of unity, peace, democracy, sharing the abundance we have, and the love of humanity. This is the true meaning of America.