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Monday, May 21, 2007

It Can Happen Here

As I was walking from the parking garage to my office today (and it's a bit of a hike) I started thinking about the Bush Administration and the way that people will sometimes refer to them as being a bunch of Nazis. Now, of course, they are not Nazis. They're not organized enough. The thing that is so horrifying about the Nazis, the thing that makes Hitler's achievement in murder more spectacular than Stalin's or Pol Pot's is the simple, banal, bureaucratic efficiency of the thing. They laid tracks and established railroads, railroads with schedules and stops, and built camps, each designed to a specific deadly purpose, with a factory-like efficiency. They killed people the way that Detroit used to make cars, with the same lack of passion and the same plodding skill.

The Bushies, though, are not efficient. They are efficiency's antidote. Of course, in a couple of prominent areas--curtailing the right vote and lining the pockets of the already wealthy--they've got their chops down. However, in most other areas of both governance and misgovernance, they are a bumbling pack of incompetents.

So, they aren't Nazis, certainly not in the Hitler sense, and their being fascists is debatable, although their hunger to merge government, military, and corporate interests into one nationalistic lump is an indicator of, at least, sympathy with that point-of-view. However, I think the attribute that best defines them is their taste for totalitarianism.

These are people--mostly men, along with a few women in housecoats--who believe that they should rule without opposition or dissent. The argument they put forth in 2000, that counting all the votes available to be counted wasn't "expedient," is an example of their disdain for democracy, as are their systematic attempts in both 2000 and 2004 to disenfranchise, in one way or another, people who were unlikely to vote for them, and as is the current scandal enveloping the Department of Justice. It's all about obtaining single-party rule in perpetuity, the goal of every totalitarian.

These are folks who mourn the loss of the Soviet Union and hope to rebuild it here in the United States. Gorbachev is more in touch with the democratic spirit than Cheney is. Perhaps the time has come for a bit of glasnost here in the U.S.