“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me.” Really? I’m not so sure about that—at least not in our national discourse. There, names can carry a lot of weight. When people take no more than a few minutes, if that, to listen to an issue being discussed, whatever name was attached to a policy or a person is often all that sticks with them.
More and more, the Democrats’ opponents are saying that the Democrats are socialists, or have socialist tendencies. All right, this is politics, and political discourse has always involved some exaggeration. But what, then, prevents the Democrats from saying their opponents are fascists, or have fascist tendencies?
It might seem a bit much at first, but think about it—all the ingredients are there: the cult of personality, the unsubtle racism, the blatant xenophobia, the erratic pronouncements, the slavish attention to the leader’s whims, the hardcore marchers, the aggressive sexism, the casual brutality, the nativist flag-waving, the phony Christianity, the senseless pageantry, the demonization of the other, the vanity rallies, and, worst of all, the frank disdain for law and democracy.
What’s missing? Goose steps, maybe—but don’t be surprised if we see them, too.
Nothing surprises anymore, and that’s much of the problem. Some months ago we turned the corner from a merely troubling regime to a deeply threatening regime, and part of that was through losing the sense of surprise, of dismay. It’s sort of like losing the stabilizers that right the ship when she lists too much; without them, she goes right over and capsizes.
Looking at it, there’s probably at least as much reason to call President Trump and his party fascists as there is to call the Democrats socialists, maybe more. Given the latitude of political debate, I say go ahead, Dems, do it, call them as you see them, say the other guys are fascists. There’s plenty of justification for that.
As his supporters used to cry out cheering a great Democratic president, Harry S Truman, “Give ’em hell!”
George LynchQuiogueMr. Lynch is treasurer of the Southampton Town Democratic Committee—Ed.
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One fine body…