Equivalence of Complicity: How Both Sides of the Political Spectrum Promoted Fascism in America
The shock and dismay shown by many would be laughable if the stakes were not so high. Because after all, the writing has been hanging on the wall for years. From an insurrection in our nation’s capital, to the rampant increase in hate crimes, violence and murders of innocent people of color and faith, to a Supreme Court that will dismantle a working democracy (that is- to say, Moore v. Harper) as easily as he took away a woman’s right to choose, there’s a chilling, widespread indifference now embraced by tens of millions of people across the country.
What has been revealed in recent years, and which may manifest on a larger scale in the weeks following Election Day, is that those responsible for the demise of democracy and the rise of fascism extend far beyond the Trumps, Kari Lakes and Stephen Millers of the world. Each of them and their ilk are just convenient figureheads providing a cover for those Americans complicit in fascism who are eagerly waiting to worm their way into our skulls.
Figureheads easily identifiable by the lies they spread about CRT in schools, demonizing the LGBT community and accusing fellow Americans of being cannibals, pedophiles or election-stealing mules. It is the visible and openly complicit Americans who are voting for this dark turn in our country.
But there are almost as many Americans contributing to the death of democracy whose actions are much more subtle, but just as damaging. They are the complacent whose silence and lack of protest convey acceptance and tacit approval. Whether Republicans, Democrats, progressives, or independents, it is the Americans whose complicity is revealed in their continued denial of gravity and their continued alliance with those who bask in and voted for fascism.
Their inaction masked by the intermittent displays of self-righteous outrage as they point out how they may have argued with their ‘friend who voted for Trump’ but fail to realize how they have exposed themselves by the company they keep. As was the case in Germany, Rwanda, Italy and all the countries that slipped into fascism, their silence adds fuel to a fire that will rage for years, but will eventually die, as well as good many of those targeted by their hatred and ignorance.
The silence of so many emboldened an entire political party and made their supporters realize that there would be little resistance to those who yearn for the echoes of white nationalism to be heard in the halls of our capital. nation. As a result, our centuries-old system of governance could be turned upside down not by a brilliant strategist, but rather by a stupid, narcissistic figurehead with a history full of misogyny and racism, and an absence of conscience or dignity. It turned out to be the perfect foil to democracy. A gold-plated idol for an increasingly uncertain mass of the American public seeking to reset the narrative so that it reads that not all men are created equal
So many of us naively assumed that our democracy was sacred and that our institutions would hold up. We were confident that our free press would provide hard-hitting investigative journalism that would topple a corrupt president as he did with Watergate. And we foolishly assumed that the majority of Americans would take a stand and fight to preserve the nearly three-century-old journey to a more perfect union.
But if our democracy was as sacred and cherished as many believed, “Grab ’em by the pussy,” it would have been a first-round TKO of a racist celebrity’s political aspirations. The brutal murder of a beaten white woman by a car driven by a white nationalist would have been a galvanizing call for peace and understanding. Instead, the leader of our once revered democracy found good in the man who killed Heather Heyer and bonded with those who cried “Jews won’t replace us!”
At first many were appalled, but over time millions of Americans grew numb, thinking it was just the acts of misfits, buffoons and clownish racists wearing red hats while waving Confederate flags. Laugh at them at the expense of our nation, for now the joke is on all of us. Those behind the wheel, brandishing batons and Confederate flags were serious all along. They are so dedicated in their hatred that they mourn the death of an insurgent, while ignoring the life of an innocent woman killed by one of their own on a hot summer day in Charlottesville.
If America’s elated free press were truly the cornerstone of our morning democracy newscasts, it would report the Latino slaughter at a Walmart with facts and solemn dignity, rather than taking it sandwiched between the latest celebrity gossip and the laughs of the latest meme.
Acclaimed journalists reportedly aired evidence of the seditious, criminal, and sadistic acts of a president and his administration immediately after they were recorded, rather than years later, and just weeks before their book tour and press conference. Jokes, profits and personal gains disguised as journalism. The perfect trifecta of help, comfort and complicity for an enemy of democracy determined to inflict suffering on millions of people in the years to come in a fascist America.
And were there so many people in America truly worried and appalled by an 82-year-old man being hit over the head with a hammer, or a 12-year-old girl being forced to carry a pregnancy to term after being raped by her uncle, or 11 Jewish worshipers murdered while praying in a synagogue in Pittsburgh, or ten black Americans killed in a grocery store in Buffalo, then their concern would extend far beyond the ballot box. It would lead to a reassessment of who they vote for and what kind of people they accept into their lives. If they were really worried, they would do without relationships with anyone who supports those who promote replacement theories, forced birth or the murderous back and forths that now pass for political talk.
If Americans really loved democracy, the statement “I have a friend who voted for Trump” would be replaced with “I was friends with someone who voted for Trump.” If Americans were determined to move forward, rather than retreat to the dark days of segregation, lynchings and church bombings, they would say to those in their lives who support a system of white nationalist belief that it was time to separate.
Abandon the family that embraces this and distance yourself from those once known as friends, who now choose to reject the humanity of their fellow Americans solely on the basis of race, creed, color, creed or identity.
Now is the time for every American to consider where they stand on the spectrum of their complicity in the rise of fascism, hatred and violence in our country. Are they complicit because of the company they have? To have friends who may not have marched on Capitol Hill or killed police officers, but who clearly and passionately embrace the big lie that brought it all about.
Every night, thousands of Americans raise a drink or a high five with the same people who hold anti-Semitic beliefs. Those who would just as easily raise their right arm and shout “Seig heil!” like they would give a high five after the Packers scored a touchdown. What does he say about them? What would he say to you?
And this Thanksgiving, millions of Americans will gather around the table with friends and family, some of whom are unable to show compassion for the 12-year-old girls in America forced to carry a rapist’s baby to term. . Candied yams, turkey and a portion of indifference and complicity circulated for sharing. This holiday season, Americans need to ask themselves, “Is this what I am grateful for? Would Jesus do this?
The answer to this question can only be determined by the choices you make in the years to come and by looking within to make sure your actions are not motivated by hatred, but rather by compassion for others. and a belief in what our country can still become.
The answer should be obtained not by adopting tendentious acts of violence towards those unlike you, but by realizing the long and arduous arc of our nation’s history. A story that reveals the way forward is only achieved through greater understanding, unity and acceptance. And that our path to mob violence, lynchings, concentration camps and ethnic cleansing, all hallmarks of fascist regimes, will always end at the same destination.
With a country striving to reclaim its humanity, atone for its sins and find a way to raise its voice in contrition, healing and eventual understanding.
Now is the time to vote with your heart and with humanity in mind. For those in your life who are consumed by hate, show them love by giving them the space to come to the conclusion that many survivors of fascism around the world eventually realize. That no friend or family member can convince them to see the humanity in others. It is a journey that only they must undertake.
Whether by choice or by witnessing the tragedy that may soon befall our nation, for many that day will come. An epiphany of compassion achieved not by force or intimidation, but by the burning question that will mark a nation and tens of millions of its citizens.
It’s a question many may ask for years as we find ourselves amidst the ruins of a once-great democracy.
“What did I do?”