In the U.S.A., the "brown shirts" are on the rise ... and I am not referring to the United Parcel Service (UPS) delivery personnel.
by Rob Scarlett
Robert H. Scarlett, a progressive who lives in Lino Lakes, Minnesota, gives us regular and important warnings about politics in America. I am publishing here one of his very recent warnings.
I am referring to the "Tea Party," groups like the "Christian Militia," the "Guardians of the Free Republics," the followers of Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin, etc.. Some are well-armed; others are committed to peaceful (but noisy) tactics.
Our U.S. variation of the "brown shirts" is not quite as well organized as the infamous "Sturmabteiling" that brought Hitler to power. They are not quite as homogeneous (lots of factions, here) but they use tactics similar to those used by those "storm troopers" in the 1930s.
Tactics like "the big lie" (telling a preposterous lie over-and-over again) have become commonplace. During the healthcare debate, even once-respectable Republicans warned that the healthcare reforms included "death panels" that would decide whether ailing grandparents would live or die (if their care was costing too much).
The Republican Party believes it has to cater to the extremes within their conservative movement - partly because the majority of their members come from "safe" districts that have been re-drawn to make it impossible for the opposition Democrats to get a foothold. They need to cater to the right-wing crazies in order to keep their elected positions and their privileges.
More bad news: The Democrats, like their opposition Republican colleagues, are also "owned" by financial industry, the defense industry, the healthcare industry, and other moneyed interests - thanks to our current campaign finance system and a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that perpetuates the notion that corporations have the rights of personhood and citizenship and cannot be prohibited from spending their billions of dollars on the campaigns of politicians who they believe will do their bidding, once elected.
The good news: Americans, today, have more access to a wider range of information and points of view than did Europeans in the 1930s. And, we have a President, finally, who is committed to the use of reason and believes in the U.S. Constitution. We are also much more connected to the rest of the world than ever.
Where will this all lead?
In my opinion, it is likely they there will be increasing alienation of ordinary citizens from the U.S. Congress and from the corporate elite that "owns" it. This alienation will likely influence the mid-term elections in November 2010. I believe a lot of House members will lose their seats and be replaced by more independent-minded representatives.