inessential by Brent Simmons

The Easy Target

The United States of America was the easy-to-choose target for the fascists.

It was the richest and most powerful country in the history of countries. How could any fascist not want to take it over?

It was the work of several decades.

They built up a giant military/industrial partnership — mixing government and unaccountable corporations with secrets — with almost no resistance.

Sure, they faced some setbacks from time to time: the end of apartheid in former slave states, for instance. But they fought back by privatizing the prisons, instituting mass incarceration, and militarizing the police force — and ensuring that it remained a tool of white supremacy.

They stoked fear of communism, as if adding just a penny of tax meant imminent Sovietization; as if labor unions were anti-American insurgents; as if a social safety net would make Jesus cry. As if “equal opportunity” meant Fidel Castro walking into your house with a machine gun.

They gutted the education system and fought knowledge with mass disinformation. They made sure that corporations could and would hook Americans on opioids and blather and outrage.

While some of us did learn that the beauty of America is our constant striving to better understand our founding creed — and finally live up to it — they made sure that half of us believed in America as a land and as a race.

And now that they’ve won — they’ve gotten their orange leader with the red cap, they’ve gotten their system of cruelty — they’re carving it all up for themselves. They’re cutting it all up with jigsaws and burning what they can’t use right now.

There were, and still are, leaders who could fight back, but who just plain refused.

If we’re lucky enough one day to have a true history, those people will go down as among our greatest traitors. Every day I long for that day.