There is a giant waking in this country.
It goes by many names — neoconservatism, paleoconservatism, the alt-right, America First Movement.
However, all these mean the same thing — hyper-nationalism.
Fascism is the central idea behind these names. Until recently, the idea of fascism has been so abstract and meaningless that its only relegated usage was by youth in angst. It is apparent that it is no longer abstract — the turnout of the election has given it form.
As a nation, we used to make memes and poke fun at those nativists and America-firsters. As Hillary Clinton called them during her campaign, “deplorables.” Their ideology was something to be laughed off. How could anyone with such crazy ideas ever become a force in the land of the free? These people that want to restrict rights and go against human dignity as protected under the Constitution, how could they ever win?
We were asleep and ignored this impending danger.
It does not matter if you fall left or right on the spectrum, nor does it matter who you voted for. The danger is there.
Trump’s campaign, whether he believes in his own rhetoric or not, awoke this “silent majority,” emboldened them into action. Now we have hate crimes in the street committed by both sides.
“Ban all Muslims!” is used in the same sense as “Defining the Enemy” was in World War II Nazi propaganda. The persecution Jews faced in Europe is now being faced by those of the Islamic faith and those of Hispanic heritage. There are already movements to boycott Muslim-owned business and attacks against Hispanic families, just like in 1933.
It started out so innocently. We let it grow.
As Americans, we should be ashamed to associate ourselves with these ideas. We have forgotten — as we always seem to do — that we are in a nation founded on immigrants. We forgot that the majority of nativist movements have ancestors in Europe, not North America. Most of all, we have forgotten that we fought against these types of fascist ideas in the '30s and '40s. Now they are back, seemingly out of nowhere.
This movement of a few loud voices now controls a once great American party — the Party of Lincoln. Let us work for its safe return. Let us return the United States back to a nation for all peoples. Let us fix this country before someone makes it great again.