I’ve been having trouble writing lately. Some of it is needing a break to reassess my goals and determine what direction I want to take my work in. Most of it is being overwhelmed, though. I write a lot about the political situation in the United States, particularly where it intersects with popular culture. I’ve written about the nation’s descent into fascism. That descent has quickened. It’s all happening too fast to keep up. I’m overwhelmed not only by the volume and speed of the changes, but also by a very real fear that the worst will have to happen before enough Americans understand what’s unfolding. The concentration camps won’t be enough. Neither will the stripping away of the rights of anyone who isn’t a cisgendered, heterosexual white man. I fear it’s going to take mass killings. It’s a horrible thing to think much less write or say out loud. But the table has been laid. All the pieces are in place, the most important being: America’s security forces are already allowed to kill with impunity. They already believe it is a part of their duty.
In addition, American media is failing to provide meaningful context because the fascism is being left out of the analysis. It’s too at odds with the fairy tales Americans have been told about their country. America’s foundations are the theft of Indigenous lands, the genocide of Indigenous people, chattel slavery of Black Africans, and a continued project of virulent, violent white supremacy. This white supremacy is encoded in the nation’s DNA. America refuses to face up to this in a meaningful way. All the eliding language and propaganda that downplay the nation’s white supremacist history are the same tools that are being used to mask the fascism that’s taking hold. “This isn’t us” and “We’re better than this” are lies. The determination to hold onto the feeling those lies provide is why America’s decline is accelerating so quickly.
There are hordes of educated people walking around talking about “reverse racism”… It’s not possible to have a sensible conversation about any of this with them. They’re divorced from reality. The blinders they wear prevent them from seeing what’s happening right in front of them. Concentration camps are being built. The racist project of mass incarceration has already concentrated much of the Black American male population. Too many white people believe being called “racist” is on the same level as these consequences. Hurt white feelings are the lubricant of the global rise of fascism.
In addition, too many people who are on the right side intellectually aren’t engaged morally or even strategically. Whatever ego massage they get out of “DESTROYING!” fascists in “debates” ignores that they’ve given a platform to fascist propaganda and participated in spreading it. “Debate me!” is a recruitment tactic, nothing more. The people across from the fascist on stage don’t matter; it’s the gullible listener they’re after. And it doesn’t take that many of them to wreck a nation.
The truth isn’t being told. Not the whole truth. Not by enough people. Not on large enough platforms.
The biggest source of my fears is this: America is the only nation that has ever used nuclear weapons against other human beings. Fascists escalate violence, and America’s military violence has been unrelenting, senseless, and brutally savage for decades. An invasion and millions of deaths won’t be enough for these people. They’ll want utter destruction. Annihilation. Those mass killings I mentioned could happen in an instant and take an incomprehensible number of lives.
I also fear that so many people believe Donald Trump is the beginning and end of all this. He’s a truly odious man, who I hope dies in prison, and he’s being scapegoated. Removing him from power won’t dismantle the fascist machinery that’s at work. For context, Joe Biden wrote the crime bill that’s ethnically cleansing Black American men out of society and destroying their communities. Part of what Trump’s presidency is revealing is how situational many people’s ethics are. I don’t think there’d be so much of an outcry if some of these draconian policies were enacted by Democrats.
I’m trying to hold on to hope, but those situational ethics, the horserace mentality surrounding electoral politics, and the spinelessness of the national Democrats are incredibly dispiriting. What’s being telegraphed is that some grotesque compromise that allows the machinery to keep humming will be made. Someone who isn’t the laughable buffoon Trump is will take it over one day. All that ill intent, all that evil will be choreographed and executed flawlessly. The suffering will be unimaginable. Death will reign. All to spare white people’s feelings, all to keep giving them participation trophies. This is about whiteness and the violence needed to preserve its power. Until that fact is faced, we’re going to keep ending up here, while making the empty declaration, “Never again.”
Originally published on my Patreon.