“Don’t you think I know exactly where I stand? This world is forcing me to hold your hand.” — Gwen Stefani
This is the final edition of our series. We have covered ten of the twelve common traits of fascism leaving only two left. Admittedly, these two are not directly related. Unfortunately traits are not always easy to parcel out like that. However, they are important and we should not just skip them because they are easily put together.
Admittedly, I am probably not the right person for this particular job. As you know, I’m a guy and if you are an avid reader of these you know I am also a Catholic. Both of those sort of go together in something like this to make me a really bad messenger.
See, with Roe v. Wade overturned, women’s rights have been taken back exactly 50 years. Furthermore, the Supreme Court isn’t done. The GOP isn’t done. Their goal is to eventually make abortion illegal nationwide. They will need majorities in Congress to do that. The courts will move onto contraception, same sex marriage, and possibly even interracial marriage.
Goodness knows how many more rights they would really like to roll back at the end of the day. The American church is complicit in part of this at the very least. That obviously puts me in a tough spot. My faith tells me that life is sacred. My politics tells me that freedom of choice is sacred. It’s hard to know which side should win sometimes, but the biggest key is it’s not about winning and losing. Freedom of choice means that everyone gets to make the right choice for themselves.
The other big key is that the anti-abortion movement has never really been about life. If it were about life it would be accompanied by an equally robust movement to take care of children that had no parents after the fact. The foster care numbers indicate something else. Furthermore, there seems to be no groundswell to alleviate those numbers. Eliminating choice seems to be the goal here.
Obviously, removing choice and removing women’s dominion over their own bodies has any number of motives. I have no doubt that a lot of people feel like they are protecting life and protecting women. I also have no doubt that a lot of people know exactly what they are doing. This makes the whole thing more about control than about life.
Obsession with crime and punishment
This one goes back a ways. The level of incarceration since 1970 has increased 500 percent. The world population has nearly doubled in that timespan. So, the prison population is growing nearly four times faster than the population as a whole. The important question is why this is happening.
In the early 1970s, the Nixon administration embarked on a war on drugs. Of course, one could easily explain the whys and what fors. We could argue that drug abuse was rampant in the 1960s and they wanted to get a handle on it. They could claim that drug related deaths were on the rise and they wanted to get a handle on it. They could claim that drug trafficking was becoming more dangerous and therefore needed to be stopped.
You could claim all of these things. You could also claim that mass incarceration was the goal all along. The numbers by race are stark and undeniable. Of course, this is where we get into all kinds of social engineering debates. Are laws purposefully targeting people of color? Are sentences purposefully longer for people of color? Are people of color adversely effected just because they happen to be poorer on average and poorer people have worse outcomes in court? These are all questions that critical race theory have endeavored to answer. Instead of engaging on that theory and providing real explanations the right has barred race from being mentioned at school so that any form of racism from now or in the past is forgotten and dismissed.
One cannot help but think of the natural advantages of how this has all gone down. Over the course of 50 years, the population has been conditioned to believe certain things. People of color are naturally more dangerous and more susceptible to criminal behavior. Therefore, we need to be protected from people of color. Only one party really promises to protect us from this “dangerous threat.”
Think of what we know about mass shootings. There are no universals, but we can predict that any mass shooter will be a young white male between 18 and 25 and usually with right wing political leanings. Notice how this compares with our collective notion that we aren’t safe in certain neighborhoods or around certain people. Do those images match up? This is what we call cognitive dissonance. It obviously is very strong these days.