It's my personal soapbox, a place for me to express thoughts and feelings, musings and rants, reflections and recollections; to have fun with words -- about things spiritual, environmental, social, political, economic, and, from time to time, personal. And of course about peace. Soapboxes are in public places (as London's legendary Hyde Park) on purpose, and so I invite conversations with you, for it is through civil discourse that we can gain some perspective on the seeming chaos of these changing times and learn together how to shape a positive future for ourselves, our communities, and the generations to come.

Friday, April 19, 2019

"It Can't Happen Here" - Or can it?

It Can't Happen Here is a semi-satirical 1935 political novel by American author Sinclair Lewis, and a 1936 play adapted from the novel by Lewis and John C. Moffitt. Published during the rise of fascism in Europe, the novel describes the rise of Berzelius "Buzz" Windrip, a demagogue who is elected President of the United States, after fomenting fear and promising drastic economic and social reforms while promoting a return to patriotism and "traditional" values. After his election, Windrip takes complete control of the government and imposes a plutocratic/totalitarian rule with the help of a ruthless paramilitary force, in the manner of Adolf Hitler and the SS. 

But it can’t really happen here. Can it?

National Public Radio’s “On the Media” program of March 1, 2019, aired a segment about a short documentary film, “ANight at the Garden”. All 7 minutes of it can be seen on the website, which says this about it:

In 1939, 20,000 Americans rallied in New York’s Madison Square Garden to celebrate the rise of Nazism – an event largely forgotten from American history. A NIGHT AT THE GARDEN, made entirely from archival footage filmed that night, transports audiences to this chilling gathering and shines a light on the power of demagoguery and anti-Semitism in the United States.

And be sure to listen to the “On the Media” segment, too.

It is scary that such tendencies still run through our body politic. Yet I am convinced that they represent a dying thread that is on the wane, though it is still toxic, can do a lot of damage, and requires vigilance and push back. Not just push back but the offering and demonstration of a positive, more loving alternative vision.

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