From the Left- The Daily Commercial: America is a country that is lost

John Heimburg Guest Columnist

Sometimes I feel as if I have wandered into a country that is lost, whose soul has been sold for a mess of pottage — where the glitter of things so outshines life itself — where power is the arbiter of righteousness and truth is determined by the biggest lie — a country where it is legal to run over protesters in the street or to murder someone whenever we “feel afraid” and decide to “stand our ground.” (Please don’t try either of these if your skin color is black or brown.) In this country we are encouraged to use the pictures of an 18-year-old girl and a young New York congresswoman for target practice even though they are the ones who are passionately trying to save human life on Earth.

In this country, those guiding our educators with their laws feel it is “too difficult” to talk with our children about the practice of racial superiority, the evil of slavery or the confiscation of native lands.

They state that the acknowledgement of such wrongs will make our children hate America and each other. In a domain where the worth of some human lives has lost ground to the appeal of power and transaction, this viewpoint should not be surprising.

In this same country, however, there are millions of us who know better. What we know is that ideas are powerful, and that great ideas endure in the hearts and minds of people. In a land where it was legal to own our fellow humans, America was conceived with the notion that we are all created equal, and that each of us is endowed with the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The significance of this vision persisted: through the removal of native people from their lands; the Civil War; the reign of lynching, massacres and terror designed to re-subjugate black people; the inhumane exploitation of wave after wave of immigrants; the fight for women’s ability to vote; the Civil Rights era and the rise of black power with the ensuing backlash of mass incarceration, police impunity and the re-disenfranchisement of black and brown voters; through the return of martial law in the Trump regime. Somehow, our ideals survived all these tribulations and more.

But now, we are entering new territory — the delegitimization of our democratic republic itself.

It starts with an attack, supported by culture wars, on the validity of ballots from “untrustworthy” communities. With loyal folks defined as good and opponents as evil, patriotic fervor is extended to the intimidation, endangerment or even killing of other people.

These tactics, and the bold lies necessary to maintain them, are basic to the fascist playbook for overturning democracies.

Ironically, Hitler’s “scientific” theories of racial superiority can be traced back to the arguments that were used to justify the enslavement of blacks in the American South.

There is a heavy reliance on a nostalgic view of the way things never were, and a belief in the “true order” of society. The bigger the lie, the better. Media are either loyal or “the enemy of the people.” Today, even the term “fascist” itself is thrown at opponents, who also somehow manage to be godless and soulless socialist Muslim communists at the same time — go figure.

Our national illness — the treasuring of material things and power over human values — plays well into the fascistic hierarchy of social “worthiness.” How fascist are we? Here’s a little test: Are you enthralled by the Glitterati? Like your leaders a little bad, but strong — even ruthless? Willing to give corporations control over the government? Do you value winning over fairness, strength over justice? You get the idea.

It is truly in times of chaos that we are required to get back to the basics. In the long run, I think humanity’s tendency to work together cooperatively will win out over despotic oligarchy. The question is, will our American experiment survive short-term? Seventy- four-million people who voted for a self-styled strong man “champion of the people” whose administration gave unparalleled corrupt control of governmental functions to corporate interests are telling us “maybe not.” Unless, of course, we all improve our hindsight to 2020.


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