By now everyone has heard about the Ol’ Pussy Grabber’s rally in North Carolina and the send her back chant that, apparently, will replace the ever popular refrain lock her up of 2016+ fame.
Here is the best video I could find of the chant. I say best since I didn’t wan to include the two minute-long lying vilification of Rep. Omar (D – American Values and Constitution) that proceeded it that Fox News included in their Youtube clip. Fox News’ clip was so biased that the chant was the final twenty seconds of the five minute plus clip. They cut it before it got to a full-throated spittle inflected thunderous chant. I also rejected MSNBC‘s clip because it included far too much commentary — commentary that I believe, by the way, but it did diminish the effect of witnessing the chant. This is the Jimmy Kimmel monologue the next day. He does a good job of setting it up, showing the Ol’ Pussy Grabber’s attempts to distance himself, and then contrasting that with what really happened. It is well worth the watch even if you have had your fill of the swirling toilet-flush of vomitus.
What is Fascism?
How do such chants exemplify fascism? To answer, let’s make a quick summary of what fascism is. The esteemed fascism scholar, Robert Paxton, defines fascism as a form of political practice distinctive to the 20th century that arouses popular enthusiasm by sophisticated propaganda techniques for an anti-liberal, anti-socialist, violently exclusionary, expansionist nationalist agenda If the GOP is successful in fascifying the US, he’ll have to update that to the 20th and 21st centuries. Are we winning yet?
The GOP has ticked all of the fascist boxes except for expansionist nationalist agenda. I guess we’re safe for now?
Paxton goes on to note other qualities of fascism: the seven “feelings” used to mobilize passions and the violation of all promises made before being given the reins of government. Let’s see where the quaint send her back and lock her up chants fit in to these two qualities.
The “Feelings” of Fascism
I won’t list the seven feelings used to mobilize passions here. Interested readers can see my detailed discussion of and application to the modern GOP in The Growing Fascism of the GOP and Ol’ Pussy Grabber. I will, however, list the ones that are of most interest to us here.
The primacy of the group. Supporting the group feels more important than maintaining either individual or universal rights. These people know the send her back chant is wrong. Every single one of the racist mo’fo’s we’ve seen on the news as of late saying that he only meant go back to the states they reside in or what ever other twisting of the words they try to apply are simply trying to gaslight the nation and hide their inherent racism. In other video of the rally — that I could not find in my five minute (hey, I’m only a part-time blogger!) search — showed people either halfheartedly chanting or stopping after a few refrains. Others were looking around uneasily. Many were not chanting at all. In the clip I provided, the infamous little girl in the background only repeated the word back and several of the women behind her stopped chanting.
This does not excuse anyone! Being there at the rally shows explicit support for the GOP and their nakedly racist authoritarian agenda. Being there elevates the group, which is white people and make no mistake about that, over maintaining the rights of Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, and Rashida Tlaib or any other person of color. Just as lock her up trampled the individual rights of Clinton and all of the GOP’s political opponents.
A strong sense of community or brotherhood. This brotherhood’s “unity and purity are forged by common conviction, if possible, or by exclusionary violence if necessary.” The racism inherent in send her back echoing the common anti-socialist, anti-anti-war, anti-civil rights refrain of America, love it or leave it that was popular in my adolescence in the 1970’s is an attempt of creating a community or brotherhood of white supremacists that once you’ve tasted of the Kool-aid, there ain’t no going back. Every single person at that rally has now drunk from the cup and are tainted by the dribble of cherry staining the front of their shirts and will support if not participate in exclusionary violence. It is what makes the GOP so butt fucking scary right now. They are gearing up for political assassinations and violent mob attacks on people of color. I hate to say it, but you read it here first.
Individual self-esteem is tied up in the grandeur of the group. Paxton called this an “enhanced sense of identity and belonging.” A corollary of the previous “feeling.” These people have had their sense of identity and belonging enhanced by branding themselves as supporters of the GOP. Their self-esteem is now tied to the promotion of white identity and the suppression of all others.
Extreme support of a “natural” leader, who is always male. This results in one man taking on the role of national savior. Participating in an openly racist chant like send her back or a nakedly anti-due process chant like lock her up qualifies as the extreme support of their “leader.” Vilifying political opponents as being anti-American and the enemy of the people and dehumanizing PoC means that anyone who can suppress these groups is the national savior.
Violating Election Promises
Fascism is all about blurring the lines between political party, the group, and the nation. Once they have all three united in the minds of their followers, then anything they do is justified. Anything. No atrocity is off of the table.
The populist promises of the Ol’ Pussy Grabber have all been violated in favor of what Paxton described as suppression of individual liberties, imprisonment of opponents, outlawing of strikes, authorization of unlimited police power in the name of national unity, and the revival and commitment of military aggression.
Both send her back and lock her up qualify as supporting the GOP’s open suppression of individual liberties including voting rights, press freedoms, and speech. When your opinion and existence are criminalized, we are living in a fascist state.
In addition, at these political rallies, we’ve seen — and it was at this rally, too — police brutality against protesters cheered and encouraged and individual acts of violence and aggression. The secret service has had to provide protection for individual reporters, photographers, and camera crews both during and after the rallies.
Will the next chant be go to war? nuke Korea?
We are living in scary times. But, the way to combat the fascification of the United States is by exercising our rights and following our laws. We may have to fight for our rights in the courts, but every time we do, we strengthen the rule of law. When we resort to partisan violence and breaking the law in the name of resisting fascism, we are strengthening the hand of GOP. It is what they want.