“When fascism comes to America, it will be sexually assaulting the flag, carrying a Bible upside down, riding in a golf cart, and enjoying the fact that tear gas and rubber bullets are in use against peaceful protesters”
Salon: It has been said that when fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross.
This well-known line has been attributed to a number of people — most often to novelist Sinclair Lewis, but also to socialist leader Eugene V. Debs and even to populist Louisiana senator Huey Long — but none of them wrote or said it in precisely the way it has come down to us. It appears to be an aphoristic stone nicely polished by being handled by a lot of people.
To have it reflect our current situation, we need to roughen it up.
When Donald J. Trump was running for president in 2016, Lewis’s novel “It Can’t Happen Here,” written quickly in 1935 as authoritarian leaders were rising in Europe, started to sell out. In it, populist demagogue “Buzz” Windrip, a Democrat (i.e., a pre-Civil Rights Act Democrat, who would be a Republican today), wins the presidency. As Beverly Gage describes it in a 2017 essay for the New York Times, Windrip — who was based on both Long and the anti-Semitic radio priest Father Coughlin — is not exactly Trump, but he’s right “there” in a number of respects:
Like Trump, Windrip sells himself as the champion of “Forgotten Men,” determined to bring dignity and prosperity back to America’s white working class. Windrip loves big, passionate rallies and rails against the “lies” of the mainstream press. His supporters embrace this message, lashing out against the “highbrow intellectuality” of editors and professors and policy elites. With Windrip’s encouragement, they also take out their frustrations on Blacks and Jews.
So, just a super guy — someone you could really rally around. And shriek. And chant about putting people behind bars.
Apparently, the first iteration of the saying just had the bit about the time-honored false patriotism of wrapping oneself up in the flag. Then the faux-religiosity gambit of cross carrying was added.
I think we must now edit and append it further:…read more..