Three Imaginary Girls

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Growing up as an American Jew, I was raised keenly aware of the fact that my family was something like half the size it should have been as a result of the last time humanity wrestled with the specter of fascism. Even more oppressive than the thought of cousins who never existed was the simple question of "how?" How could an entire nation of people have allowed something as horrible as the Holocaust to happen, and how could they have done nothing about it?

As I got older, my concept of the nature of the rise of Nazism became more complex, and more a bit more rational. Anne Frank had convinced me that people were fundamentally good, and I became more and more convinced that the German people themselves were victims to the insidious nature of Nazism. They were good, if desperate, people, lulled into slumber and ignorance by faith in strong leaders, and a general sense of security after years of hardship. But I still didn't really understand the how — not completely. How could a smart, caring group of people check out so completely that they didn't question, they didn't push, and they didn't demand answers?

Well, now I know.

I think we are doing it. I think we are doing it right now. I'm convinced we are watching it happen in slow motion. We are witnessing the rise of American Fascism, and we are doing nothing about it. We are playing the role of the Germans of the 1920's and 1930's watching a fascist ideology take over, and we are so drawn by a wish for simplicity and an end to perceived hardship that we are voting our own brand of fascism slowly but surely into office, and handing it more and more control. Don't misunderstand — I don't believe that the true Republican Party is fascist in nature at all. However, I'm sure as hell starting to think that the core group of radical Republicans we have in power right now are pulling their party and the nation in the direction of a fascist state — by which I mean a nation where military strength is valued over justice, where democratic opposition is "unpatriotic" and suppressed, and where, ultimately, those in control do everything they can to remain in power indefinitely.

According to most polls, at least half of us are lulled into a sense of security with our current "strong leadership". We seem to be more than willing to hand over the control of all manner of domestic, security, and international issues to this cabal with the understanding that they will make our lives easier, simpler, safer.

Fascism in the mirror
But these myths of simpler and safer are being blown out of the water, day by day. The latest insanity is the prison abuse at Abu Ghraib, where American men and women abused and degraded Iraqi prisoners, and apparently had such fun doing it that they took plenty of photos and video. Now we're hearing of even further atrocities, including that American MP's sodomized prisoners with "glow sticks". This is unthinkable; this is tragic; this is us becoming the monster we fought to defend the world from sixty years ago.

We have always abhorred actions like this at the hands of others, but now that it is American hands (and hearts, and heads) perpetrating such action, it is worse – far worse. It is worse not just because such things should never happen, even in war, but because this abuse is being carried out by the citizens of a nation which has always held such actions to be indefensible. Remember, at the end of WWII we were the driving force behind the United Nations Geneva Convention this abuse violates. Worse still, the Red Cross told the Pentagon this was happening, and the Pentagon not only ignored that information, but was more concerned that the story would leak than in doing anything to stop the abuse.

There are too many places to look at once – it is supremely confusing. The Iraq war, the prison abuse, the war on terror with it's color-of-the-month alert system, the economy tanking, the number of jobs lost or ridiculously reclassified, the sinister erosion of our civil liberties, the threat of "black box" electronic voting – the list goes on and on and on.

Are you scared? Are you angry? Do you feel trapped? It's OK. You are allowed to feel frightened and angry and helpless. And, let's face it, realizing that we are on the verge of becoming the thing we most hate is a traumatic event in and of itself. It is the 10.5 earthquake that destroys our bedrock of moral and emotional underpinnings, and which re-shapes our psychic geography. But remember that it's what the Bush team wants you to feel – they want you to get stuck in that helpless place. But we are not helpless – we can change it, starting right now.

We don't have to let this happen. We don't have to be doomed to history repeating itself. It takes guts and it takes hard work, but we can do this. Shake yourself awake, take a deep breath, and then let's all stand shoulder to shoulder and look the abomination that is American Fascism square in its beady little eyes, and let's kill it so goddamn dead it can never rise again.

Get informed
I don't know all the reasons we are in Iraq or fighting this war. Maybe we collectively never will. Do I think the concept of peak oil is a driver? You bet. Do I think that we currently understand all the reasons that this is happening. I do not. But I encourage you to get informed, and develop some opinions of your own. Here's a short list of sources I particularly like:

Common Dreams A breaking news center and progressive commentary clearinghouse – chock full of names you know and respect.

Daily Kos A freewheeling, fun, incredibly smart group of people, blogging their way to democracy and freedom – this is the best of the best of political awareness blogging. Don't visit if you are a closet Bushie – you'll get nuked.

Democracy for Washington Washington State political news, updated daily!

Democracy Now! Smart, comprehensive, and unapologetically leftie in its point of view, this unique web network has made its key reporter, Amy Goodman, a star amongst the progresseratzi.

The Note ABC News' smart and sassy take on the 2004 election. Read it and you'll feel like you could run a presidential campaign.

Peak Oil Trends point to max global oil output happening within the decade. The result? More expensive oil, leading to economic devastation, starvation, war, and one big final oil reserve: Iraq and Saudi Arabia. Coincidence? You be the judge.

Get involvedThere are dozens of groups out there working to make sure that the Democrats win this election. And while I'll be the first new cynic to admit that a Democratic win doesn't guarantee we never have to worry about this again, it sure is a step in the right direction.

Democracy for America The next generation of Dean for America is pushing for a coordinated nationwide voter registration and information clearinghouse network.

Democracy for Washington A Dean inspired version of a local grassroots network, focusing on get out the vote efforts at all levels of Washington State government – more than just news – tools and groups for voter registration, info research, web dev, and get-out-the-vote (GOTV) efforts.

Driving Votes A clever, focused project to get folks in non-battleground states on the road to the swing states where registering voters matters the most.

MoveOn.org The beginning of the online political movement still has the numbers, ideas, and motivation to influence the November election like no progressive political actio
n committee ever has before.

The MMOB "Mainstreet Moms Opposing Bush" knows that single mothers are one of the most potentially influential groups in this upcoming election. Such a good idea that more than one group had it – this site, and the sister site, The MOB focus on registering, educating, and GOTVing the mommy-verse.

Music for America Another Dean-inspired organization, MfA has now grown beyond its original programming, and is a far-reaching group of musicians and artists out to promote progressive values and candidates; PS: a great way to volunteer at shows!

No Vote Left Behind A snazzy group working with Seattle's indie-rock community to rock the vote like it's never been rocked before.

America, united
One last thing: the Bush v. Gore redux we call Bush v. Kerry isn't about the red states versus the blue states striking a separate peace. First of all, it's not anywhere near that simple. The more fair analysis would be that it is urban dwellers versus rural dwellers – but how the hell do you separate those two "Americas" from one another? It's worse than trying to divvie up the West Bank, with all those stupid settlements (yeah, you heard me – I'm an American Jew who thinks that Israel's settlements in the West Bank are criminal, not just in fact, but in the stated intent of trying to make drawing a contiguous Palestinian border impossible. But the rise of Israeli Fascism is another, far more sadly ironic article…)

We have to face this menace as a nation united – all of us: city mouse, country mouse, red, white, blue, black, brown – whatever. It will be the hardest thing we will ever do as a nation. Harder than the Civil War, harder than World War Two, and harder than the Cold War and Vietnam. Now is the time for all thinking humans to come to the aid of their country, and prove little Anne Frank right after all these years: people are fundamentally good, and deserve to be citizens of a government that truly and completely reflects that goodness.

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Imaginary Lorenzo is so dedicated to preventing the rise of American Fascism that he is running to be a Dean delegate from Washington's 7th Congressional District to the National convention in Boston, under his, *ahem*, real name, Lawrence Winnerman. Email him at [email protected] if you'd like to endorse him in this quest!


Three ImaginaryGirls.com wholeheartedly supports this report but opinions expressed are the author's and do not necessarily reflect opinions or policies of the girls {although, as igLiz says, "It doesn't necessarily not reflect our opinions…}"