Seems Maureen Farrell writing for Buzzflash is three years ahead of me in her analysis of Sinclare Lewis’s 1935 novel It Can’t Happen Here. God it’s so eery to read it and take in what’s happening all around us today in America. While Lewis talks of the Minute Men we have Blackwater and other private contractors. Remember when being a “security guard” brought to mind a Barney Fife type who was kind of a wanna be cop?
While Lewis talks of book burnings I remember Natalie and the Dixie Chix. Lewis’s news editor protagonist finds himself in jail after criticizing the President in an editorial. His paper is taken over and his “sentence” includes teaching the new guys how to run his paper. As things unfold prisons fill up with americans against the regime and soon detention “camps” spring up around the country. The Magna Carta is tossed out and judicial systems transform into Hitleristic bully pulpits for henchmen of the new dictator. Women are forced off their jobs and from schools and sent back to clean the pots and pans “where they belong.” Wink, Wink.
I’m telling you this book could be a manual for everything the Bush regime has been doing for 7 years. Right wing religious supporters, nationalism, torture, fear…all tools described in Lewis’s book and all happening here and in Cuba, Iraq…who know where else.
It happened slowly at first in the story and in many cases people were too polite to speak out…then they were too afraid to. Some thought America was too special that even if Fascism came here it would be “a different kind.” The bullets and bayonets still killed them. We’re not any different and perhaps we are more vulnerable to a dictatorship than others because we have fear. Roosevelt said “the Only thing We Have to fear is fear itself.” He said a lot of other things too including corporations running government. A must read is his speech: “A Rendezvous with Destiny”
In England at the beginning of the 1800’s the industrial age brought about the repeal the Bubble Act of 1720 that regulated corporations. Soon without such restraints, 1800 corporations consolidated down to 157. Sound familiar? Remember Ronald Reagan? His deregulation of the media led to our current FCC hearings against more Big Media.
We have no history…the majority haven’t studied the lessons of Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, John Adams. The schools don’t even teach anymore unless it’s to the test and history is simply memorizing dates. The only protection we have is in the people really knowing what it is we could lose. They won’t stand up and defend it if they don’t even understand what it is.
If you want to learn more check out my reading list in the library section of this blog. I made a list of many books I’ve read that I think are important. If you’re not a “reader” check out audible.com and download them to your ipod. Pass them on to your friends and family. There is no “leader” that’s going to save us from what could come if we ignore it. It’s up to all of us.