The term “fascist” as used by right wing extremists such as Limbaugh and Beck is a propaganda device that bears no relationship to the actual meaning of the word.
A Nathaniel Currier depiction of the real Tea Party with a genuine cause.
That Limbaugh and Beck are right wing extremists and engage in extremist propaganda should not be surprising. Unfortunately they appeal to a large audience of less educated and ideologically fossilized working class Americans who, in too many cases, are motivated by religious and racist causes. We are all too familiar with the fanaticism of the fundamentalist right and the racist birthers.
For this reason the creed of those lower and middle class men and women, who support the Tea Party and right wing extremism, is filled with contradictions. As just one example, these Pied Pipers have embraced a movement that demands small government and rejects the so-called “intrusion” of government into private affairs while simultaneously depending on the government they so recklessly repudiate for sustenance either now or at some point in the very near future.
Moreover, the relationship between the Tea Party and its working class supporters is hardly mutual. The ignorance exhibited by these “small people” (a term of ridicule employed by the American aristocracy to describe this fatuous group) is fueled by latent racism and religious dogma. As a result the small people eagerly accept right wing propaganda but gain no benefit for themselves.
For the most part the racism, particularly in the South but not exclusively, remains below the surface where it cannot be detected. Nevertheless it remains a powerful influence in modern Southern politics where Jim Crow laws were violently overturned during the sixties.
The attack on Jim Crow by the Democratic Party, which prior to mid-twentieth century, remained a bastion underpinning the racist laws, delivered the South to a manipulative Republican party. Lyndon Johnson, when he signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, remarked to Bill Moyers, his press secretary at the time, that his actions would deliver the South to the GOP for a generation.
Johnson, himself a southerner, knew well the region that spawned his politics. His prediction has been validated ever since although he badly miscalculated the time frame. The South could well remain in the Republican fold forever.
In part, the “fascist” propaganda leveled at the Democrats is an attempt to deflect the growing reality that the Republican party is itself a fascist party. Fascism is nothing more than control of government by corporations. In American history, the GOP has steadfastly remained the party of Big Business – in effect a corporate controlled fascist organization. The Tea Party is merely following in its big sister’s footsteps. As Sinclair Lewis remarked: “When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross.” He might have added that it will be embodied in the ideology of the GOP.