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.
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.