Obama Style Fascism

By Margaret Kimberley 

Obama nationalism

George W. Bush recently reared his ugly head while promoting his obligatory presidential memoirs. The sight of the man who stole the 2000 presidential election brings back many sad memories. Bush occupied both Afghanistan and Iraq, destroyed Haitian democracy, and raided the treasury on behalf of his friends, the “have mores.”
 
During the eight years of his presidency Bush appeared to be the cause of all the country’s problems, a clear villain in the prolonged drama.
 
Many commentators, myself included, equated the expanding security apparatus and endless war with the presence of Bush and the Republicans as the party in power. Bush used the September 11th attacks to push through draconian measures such as the Patriot Act, and the creation of the Department of Homeland Security. He legalized, with the help of congressional Democrats, warrantless wire tapping and email surveillance.
 
While Bush succeeded in getting almost all of his policies enacted, he left office with low level approval ratings and the Republican Party brand fell along with it, assuring a Democratic victory in 2008. Alas, that victory has meant little in undoing the evil doing of the Bush regime and America’s slide toward a fascistic state continues.
Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and company were openly and unambiguously fascistic in their intent. Cheney in particular argued for continued war and enriched himself personally through his ties to Halliburton, the corporation that profited the most from warfare.
 
Yet the Bush era ended nearly two years ago. Barack Obama won and Democrats controlled both the House of Representatives and the Senate. Under Democratic Party control of our government, all of the signs of fascism have not been reduced, they have increased.
 
Obama and company use different language, and if words were the only proof of evil intent might be considered more benign. Yet the dates for American troops to leave Iraq and Afghanistan are continually postponed and withdrawal dates are meaningless. The Afghanistan occupation will end in 2014, we are told, but we are also told that it may take longer.
Closer to home, the outrage created by the enhanced airport screenings are curiously devoid of anger directed at the Obama administration. These procedures are clear violations of the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution, which protects against unreasonable search and seizure. Millions of travelers must choose between receiving doses of radiation or being physically violated. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, an Obama appointee, insists on small children, the elderly, and passengers with prosthetic breasts or colostomy bags being needlessly humiliated and endangered as they travel. The president says he has no intention of changing the rules and gives a bland assurance that he is frustrated too, but ultimately shrugs his shoulders and tells us that you can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs.
 
Republicans may be the true believers in state control of the people, but if Democrats choose not to oppose them, the differences between the two become non-existent. It is Barack Obama, not George W. Bush, who claimed a right to assassinate citizens, who backtracked on closing Guantanamo and trying September 11th suspects in civilian courts. Most Democrats argued that Obama must move further to the right in order to win the support of independents or to protect the seats of “blue dog” Democrats in swing districts. In the recent mid-term elections blue dogs were swept out because independents abandoned the Democrats. The arguments in favor of treachery by now ought to be null and void.
Programs such as Secure Communities increase the likelihood that immigrants, even those without criminal convictions, can be deported. Secure Communities forces local police departments to share finger print records with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and has led to an upsurge in deportations. According to ICE records, 79 percent of individuals deported through the Secure Communities program from October 2008 through June 2010 had no criminal record or were arrested for minor offenses like traffic violations. The administration has prevented state and local governments who want to opt out of this program from doing so.
 
If the Secure Communities program had been fully implemented during the Bush administration, most Democrats would not hesitate to use the word fascism as they condemned it. The pro-Obama selective amnesia unfortunately continues, and the absence of outrage directed in the right direction makes us more endangered now than in the days when Bush occupied the White House.
 
Our system is such that any Oval Office occupant is an enemy of democracy. Our safety depends on ourselves alone. Changes in political parties either mean nothing or greater danger if the party in power is trusted when it should not be. It can happen here and it is happening right before our eyes.

Margaret Kimberley's Freedom Rider column appears weekly in Black Agenda Report, and is widely reprinted elsewhere. She maintains a frequently updated blog as well as at http://freedomrider.blogspot.com.