I’m not feeling very generous tonight.
Part of this country was willing to embrace fascism the moment civil rights legislation lightly bruised their colonialist way of operating. Ur fascist features are present in the rhetoric of American white supremacy, and thus have been with is since the founding of the nation.
When Reagan got away with Iran Contra, it damaged how this nation understood rule of law, replacing the objective “this illegal thing happening” with the subjective “I felt I wasn’t breaking the law even though I did, and this counts because conservative feelings are facts, and also morals.” And the 90s were just the inflation of the twin spheres of AM radio narcissistic groupthink and white evangelical cults of personality selling apocalypses and indulgences.
And bluntly…the War on Terror is the direct antecedent to the stupidness, cruelty, and gleeful abuse of power that we’re currently watching. Rule of law lost when matched up against American need to feel better through causing pain. The very concept of clearly defined opponents lost, too. Are we surprised that antisemitism is back, when all the tropes and myths of antisemitism got rolled out by paranoids rightists—clumsily marking out “Jews” and penciling in their target of the week, one of whom was “specific Jews who don’t really count as Jews”?
The first time a Sikh died in a revenge killing because Sunni Saudi Arabians blew up the World Trade Center, the stage was laid for this: the sadism has been disengaged from even rudimentarily making any fucking sense this whole time.
After decades of rangefinding, trying to get a socially acceptable tone and pitch with which to sell the same shit, enough cultural capital, political capital, and just plain money has been amassed to do what the authoritarians and racists have been toying with for half a century…or a century and a half if you’re unkind. And as I said, I am not feeling generous tonight.