Democracy Dies When We Whitewash Fascism

On Sunday Will Bunch had an excellent opinion piece in The Philadelphia Inquirer which said in part:

“These are the stakes: dueling visions for America — not Democratic or Republican, with parades and red, white, and blue balloons, but brutal fascism or flawed democracy. The news media needs to stop with the horse race coverage of this modern-day March on Rome, stop digging incessantly for proof that both sides are guilty of the same sins, and stop thinking that a war for the imperiled survival of the American Experiment is some kind of inexplicable “tribalism.”

We need to hear from more experts on authoritarian movements and fewer pollsters and political strategists. We need journalists who’ll talk a lot less about who’s up or down and a lot more about the stakes — including Trump’s plans to dismantle the democratic norms that he calls “the administrative state,” to weaponize the criminal justice system, and to surrender the war against climate change — if the 45th president becomes the 47th. We need the media to see 2024 not as a traditional election, but as an effort to mobilize a mass movement that would undo democracy and splatter America with more blood like what was shed Saturday in Jacksonville. We need to understand that if the next 15 months remain the worst-covered election in U.S. history, it might also be the last.”

I struggled not to include more of it—it’s really worth a read.

I agree with him wholeheartedly, too. I’ve been banging the drum about the march of fascism in the United States and I don’t think it’s getting nearly enough attention, and reporters and commentators absolutely need to start highlighting the things Bunch notes.

However, there’s another part to this fascism warning system, and that’s wider reporting of the daily acts of fascism and authoritarianism across the nation. For example, 3 weeks ago someone tried to assassinate President Biden and it barely made a blip in the news cycle. I’m still aghast that the reaction to a legitimate attempt to kill the sitting president got the same amount of attention that the attempt to kill former President Obama did. THIS IS NOT NORMAL.

Here’s an ongoing situation that is getting very little national attention:  in Wisconsin the Democrats have taken back the state’s supreme court with the decisive victory by Janet Protasiewicz with an 11% margin of victory. Wisconsin Republicans hold a super-majority in the statehouse, and one of the issues the state’s supreme court will decide is the future of the highly gerrymandered maps that gave them their super-majority. During the campaign Protasiewicz called the maps “rigged” and so now WI republicans are demanding she recuse herself from the case under pain of impeachment.

Yes, WI Democrats won the seat by a large margin of victory and WI Republicans, who rely on cheating for their seats, will cheat to keep those maps in place. And there is virtually no national coverage of this blatant authoritarianism.

Or what about what happened Tuesday in Tennessee? You may remember that back in April 3 members of the statehouse were expelled for protesting the failure to address gun control in the wake of a horrific school shooting in Nashville earlier in the week. On Tuesday, the state legislature abruptly concluded a special session that was supposed to focus on gun control and public safety, and after the unwelcome attention the body had attracted back in April, TN Republicans implemented a set of rules to essentially silence spectators and elected representatives who opposed the Republican initiatives.

On Tuesday 1 of the 2 representatives who were expelled in April, Justin Jones, was at the chamber after having won his special election and called for a vote of no confidence in state Speaker of the House Cameron Sexton.

In return:

The GOP-controlled Tennessee House of Representatives on Monday voted to silence one of two Democratic members expelled from the chamber earlier this year, as the legislature meets for a contentious special session on public safety spurred by a mass shooting at a Nashville school.

Rep. Justin Jones of Nashville was twice ruled out of order during debate Monday by Speaker of the House Cameron Sexton, automatically triggering a vote to silence Jones for the remainder of the day. The vote passed along party lines, 70-20, and Democrats walked out in protest.

But that wasn’t the end of it.

None of this is normal, and none of this is right.

The Temptations know what I’m talking about:


3 thoughts on “Democracy Dies When We Whitewash Fascism

  1. Just revisited the original article after lunch. The only “tribalism” is the circling of the wagons by the commentariat to protect their sinecure without regard to what happens to the rest of us. As a former journalist, I despair that a nation so envisioned can endure without a functioning press. Yes we survived the partisan press of the 19th Century, but when that crisis came there was a unionist press and a succession ist/pro-slavery press. There is no unified anti-fascist press on an important scale. And they’ve pretty much destroyed the internet of 20 years ago in which citizen bloggers and blogging journalists could make an impact.

    We are deeply and truly fucked.

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