In Rand Paul’s recent presidential candidacy announcement speech, his first big applause line was “We have come to take our country back.” The first question that popped into a lot of heads, my own included, was ‘back to where?’ What did he mean? Back to the Bush depression? To Iraq? The Persian Gulf? Iran Contra? Watergate? Vietnam? Jim Crow? The stock market crash of ’29? Or maybe to those golden years of pre-Civil War slavery? The following video (h/t C&L) offers a look at the other obvious question: Take America back FROM WHOM?
The video’s embedded thesis makes a lot of sense even in today’s context, given all the mean-spirited tirades we’ve been forced to endure these last years concerning such disparate topics as President Obama’s birthplace (racism, of course), immigration reform, Islamic “terrorism” (ethnic and religious intolerance), and more recently the outrageous (and potentially seditious) din in re ongoing negotiations with Iran and our attempt to resolve international concerns over its nuclear program. Politics. The word becomes more vicious and more tainted on
a daily an hourly basis.
Enter newly announced candidate Rand Paul, Republican Senator from Kentucky who says his primary goal as President would be to severely cut back on federal spending — especially on things like food stamps, medical care, Social Security, public education — on anything, in short, that might benefit We the People rather than the billionaires, banks, and corporate entities that have come to define the GOP’s fund raising capacity. Paul did, however, note that he wants vast increases in the Pentagon ‘defense’ budget (“defense” being the Republican word for eternal warmongering — taxpayer money well-spent because corporate profits, etc.). Conclusion: Rand Paul is a Republican — a factoid which for whatever reason brought to mind my January 4 2013 Watering Hole post in which I included this 1998 essay quote by historian Robert Paxton:
From . . . the Rapture-ready religious right to the white nationalism promoted by the GOP through various gradients of racist groups, it’s easy to trace how American proto-fascism offered redemption from the upheavals of the 1960s by promising to restore the innocence of a traditional, white, Christian, male-dominated America. This vision has been so thoroughly embraced that the entire Republican party now openly defines itself along these lines. At this late stage, it’s blatantly racist, sexist, repressed, exclusionary, and permanently addicted to the politics of fear and rage. Worse: it doesn’t have a moment’s shame about any of it. No apologies, to anyone. These same narrative threads have woven their way through every fascist movement in history.
There. It’s so simple, so odious: the word Republican has become clearly and expressly synonymous with its more historically burdened equivalent, i.e. Fascist. Too bad no one has pointed out that it defines, this day, the politic of such egregious and well known celebrities as Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee, Lindsey Graham, Rick Santorum, Scott Walker, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Chris Christie, Rick Perry, and . . . oh yes, how could I forget: RAND PAUL and his campaign to “Bring America back — ‘by promising to restore the innocence of a traditional, white, Christian, male-dominated America.'”
Amen. Fascism. Q.E.D.