Noam Chomsky, a leading opponent of the Vietnam War and an outspoken progressive for many years, is quoted in the April 12 edition of The Progressive revealing concern over the potential for Fascism coming to America.
Chomsky related that he is just old enough to harbor sad and tragic memories of the early Nazi era of Germany highlighted by the stemwinding oratory of Adolf Hitler and tumultuous responses received by the citizenry.
In recent columns posted by me I cited a similar concern. Chomsky indicated that "The anger of level and (current) fear is like nothing I can compare in my lifetime."
All that is needed to dramatically corroborate Chomsky's statement is footage from the recent Capitol Hill Tea Bag rally during the critical period preceding the vote on Barack Obama's health care legislation. The close-up of a shrieking Tea Bagger spitting on an African American congressman was a manifestation of runaway hatred.
There were the hateful sounds of the N-word being hurled at African American Congressman John Lewis of Georgia, an ally of Martin Luther King, who stated sadly that the tone and tenor of what he witnessed reminded him of an earlier dangerous era in United States history.
Homophobia was addressed as well. Acknowledged homosexual Congressman Barney Frank was greeted with hateful shouts of the F-word as he entered the Capitol to participate in the health care debate and vote.
In his remarks delivered when he received an award at the University of Wisconsin, Chomsky drew a parallel between the genuine and understandable frustrations of today's current economic climate and that of Germany in the thirties, when the Weimar Republic was replaced by a ferocious dictatorship that ultimately gripped the world in war.
Runaway inflation leading to the economic destruction of a formerly democratic Germany's middle class left citizens angry and seeking comprehensive change. A similar situation applies in today's debt-ridden America in the wake of bank calamities, accented by a home mortgage crisis.
Chomsky asserted that it would be a great mistake to ridicule "tea party shenanigans" and finds their members' concerns "understandable." According to Chomsky, "For over 30 years, real incomes have stagnated or declined. This is in large part the consequence of the decision in the 1970s to financialize the economy."
There are other accompanying factors that weigh heavily on angry attitudes. Bankers who caused the calamity are now reveling in record bonuses at a time when unemployment stands at 10 percent. The frustration is accelerated based on perceiving Obama as a tool of banking interests.
"The financial industry preferred Obama to McCain," Chomsky said. "They expected to be rewarded and they were. Then Obama began to criticize greedy bankers and proposed measures to regulate them. And the punishment for this was very swift: They were going to shift their money to the Republicans. So Obama said bankers are 'fine guys' and assured the business world: 'I, like most of the American people, don't begrudge people respect or wealth. That is part of the free market system.'"
People are upset and want answers. The Palins, Limbaughs, Becks, and Hannitys supply easy answers during a turbulent period when people are seeking clear cut resolution to painful circumstances.