By Stephen P. Pizzo
Liberals and progressives have been basking this week in a false sense of schadenfreude as they revel over the missteps and outright insanity of Trump's convention.
This is a huge mistake.
What we saw at the GOP convention was nothing less than confirmation that the old GOP is dead and has been replaced by something all too familiar; fascist populism.
No, I am not exaggerating. Not even a bit. Stop giggling long enough to let this sink in; we had calls from the podium, by speakers approved by Trump's campaign handlers and Trump himself, who called for the killing of Hillary Clinton, that she should be "hung from a tree," or "shot for treason."
Just stop there and roll that one around in your head for a bit. When was the last time you heard anyone, at any national convention, propose execution for an opponent? There are places where this has happened: Germany in the 30s, and more recently, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Urkraine and Russia.
But not here. Not ever, until Trump and his growing Brownshirt-like followers rose from the ash pit of history.
But wait, there's more evidence for my claim the fascists have arrived in America:
When was the last time you saw an unstable, bellicose nobody take over a leading national political party and movement? That would Germany in the 30s.
When was the last time you saw a national candidate for the top job in the land, propose keeping track of a religious minority? That would again be Germany three quarters of a century ago.
When was the last time you heard a national candidate proposed something akin to ethnic cleansing, in this case the deportation of 12 million ethnically related people, people accused without evidence or trail, of being "criminals" and "rapists" by nature: Same terrifying answer.
When was the last time you saw a political party that encouraged their followers to, not only arm themselves against their own police and government, but to open carry those arms, a warning to anyone not to cross them? (That would be the racist Southern confederates, who cost millions of innocent lives just to protect slavery, and later Jim Crow apartheid)
What kind of leader bans media that refuse to toe their movement's party line?(History is lousy with them. But today, look no further to the neo-fascist leaders of Turkey and Egypt and Russia.)
What kind of leader lies as reflex and, when presented with evidence of those lies, denounces the messenger and then simply goes on repeating the same lies? (Every fascist leader who ever lived, that's what kind. Lies are the stigmata of the alpha fascist.)
I won't tire you with more, and there is more, lots more. But to get back to what I said up top, it's not funny. It's no joke. And, as amusing as much of the antics this week in Cleveland might be, progressives will not have the last laugh. Because Trump and a decrepit GOP have uncorked a bottle that cannot be closed again soon. They freed it -- Fascism. It's always been among us but, until now social convention and the atmospheric pressures of majority public opinion have kept our fascists where they belong"squirming around at the bottom of the national barrel. But no more. They are now empowered, they have found their voice, they have found their fuhrer. They are no longer "alone." They have risen. And they are angry. And they are armed.
That's not hyperbole. They go back to the days of slavery, the days of the KKK and Joe McCarthy. Largely silent for decades, it took a combination of fiscal and demographic changes to energize, to make them break out of their fear-filled closets to declare; "We're here. We're very queer. Get used to it." They are precisely the folks Obama described as being so fearful of change they "cling to their guns and their bibles."