Is This Where the Brownshirts Show Up?

I can’t believe I’m typing this, but I’m worried we are now entering the Sturmabteilung (brownshirt) phase of the Trump presidency.  There were t shirts worn and sold at Trump rallies that said — Rope, Tree, Journalist, Some Assembly Required.    And now we have what occurred in Montana.  A candidate for congress assaulted a journalist for merely asking a question.  That was appalling but even more appalling and worrisome  is the fact that some on the right are trying to excuse this assault.  Worse the republican controlled House of Representatives will seat this man thus giving tacit approval to an act of violence.
In Putin’s Russia they just kill journalists who investigate the massive corruption of Putin’s oligarchy.  When the president of the United States calls our free press the enemy of the people we mustn’t delude ourselves that it couldn’t happen here.  At least we still have in place legal and judicial norms that would result in the arrest and prosecution of that person, but we are on a dangerous path.
And this isn’t limited to just the rightwing. When a professor was sent to the hospital with a concussion after she and Charles Murray, author of the  Bell Curve were attacked at Middlebury College (and trust me, I’m not advocating for the very dubious conclusions drawn in the gentleman’s book)  Bell Curve Author Attacked  everybody — democrat, republican, independent, libertarian, socialist need to step back and say — no.  Not in America.  Not in the country that enshrined only one profession in its founding document — the press.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Without a free press to inform a citizenry we are all operating in the dark.  And democracy dies in the dark.

7 Responses to Is This Where the Brownshirts Show Up?

  • I’ve been using a lot more of my anxiety medication than I used to since last January 20th, and things like this are largely why.

    That the man lied openly in his statement about the incident? How is he still eligible to run, even?

    I am resisting as best I can– I suspect my representative and senator are sick of the sound of my voice (or at least their interns or assistants are), and I sign petitions that apply, and I pass around all the encouragement of resistance that I can find. It just… never feels like enough.

    • Melinda Snodgrass says:

      I understand. I’m tired too, but we have to keep doing what we can. As Connie Willis said — we can’t be everywhere and support every cause. All we can do is pick the one or two that really matter to us and put our energy there. I’m focusing on voting rights, Planned Parenthood and the ACLU. Other friends are putting all their focus on environmental issues. We have to hang onto the knowledge that there are more of us than there are of them.

  • David donovan says:

    I have said since the beginning, this was a coup of epic proportions. Hitler did the same, and soon enough we shall see the remains of the propaganda coming in to legislate away the remaining freedom. Expect suspicious laws, odd challenges, all sorts.

    • Melinda Snodgrass says:

      The thing that gives me comfort is that we have 241 years of experience with democratic institutions — the press, the courts, the right to petition for a redress of grievances that stood on a foundation of the British Common Law. Germany didn’t have that in 1930. It made it easier for Hitler to come to power.

  • Robert Mitchell says:

    Keep in mind that Imperial Germany (1871-1919) was not a reactionary tyranny. The German Empire was Federal, not Unitary in structure. Under Bismarck, Germany, in the 1880s was the first nation to pass national health insurance, accident insurance, and old age/disability insurance. These programs have worked so well, that all successive German governments, including the Nazi regime, have left them in place, to the present day.
    Fascism found fertile ground in Germany due to the sudden replacement of the Empire with a weak, ineffective (Weimar) republic that was disliked by almost everyone outside of the leftist intelligentsia. Add in the humiliating terms of the Versailles treaty and the hyper-inflation of the Reichsmark and you had a recipe for disaster. A similar result happened in most of the nations that were carved out of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

    • Melinda Snodgrass says:

      All good points that are very familiar to me. I was a history major and WWII was one of my focuses of study. Not to mention I wrote a novel set in that era. I’m very aware of the conditions that led to the rise of Hitler and Nazism. Which is why I made the point that we have powerful institutions that will help to safeguard us from that outcome. Because while Bismarck had pioneered those social safety net policies it wasn’t a country that had quite the same traditions of freedom of the press and a powerful court system. Bismarck was a Junker, German nobility and while he created the safety net to try and keep the working class from creeping socialism he also ignited a number of small wars as a way of consolidating power.

      • Robert Mitchell says:

        When most people think of WWII and fascism, they only think of the “Big Three”; the Rome-Berlin-Tokyo Axis. Yet many smaller European states had fascist governments in the 30s that were allied with the Axis. When you and I were growing up in the 60s and 70s, I think many of our junior high and high school textbooks kind of skimmed over this because these nations were not “major players” in the “big picture” of the war. Another interesting fact: until I saw “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”, I wasn’t aware that Sweden had a small but very vocal fascist party back then, although I believe they never got anyone elected to Parliament.

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