While 'fascism' once referred to the rigid nationalistic one-party dictatorship first instituted in Italy, it has 'been used very loosely in all kinds of ways for a long time,' said Wayne Fields, a specialist in presidential rhetoric at Washington University in St. Louis.I am rubber, you are glue; names bounce off me and stick on you!
'Typically, the Bush administration finds its vocabulary someplace in the middle ground of popular culture. It seems to me that they're trying to find something that resonates, without any effort to really define what they mean,' Fields said.
Stephen J. Wayne, a professor of government at Georgetown University, suggested White House strategists "probably had a focus group and they found the word 'fascist.'
"Most people are against fascists of whatever form. By definition, fascists are bad. If you're going to demonize, you might as well use the toughest words you can," Wayne said.
After all, the hard-line Iranian newspaper Jomhuri Eskami did just that in an editorial last week blasting Bush's "Islamic fascism" phrase. It called Bush a "21st century Hitler" and British Prime Minister Tony Blair a "21st century Mussolini."
It always bothered me that the U.S. couldn't cry foul on the elections in Iraq, which elected theocratic principles to become a religious state because the wingnuts here are attempting to do the same thing. If we had been able to show and promote separation of church and state as a provision of democratic government without which true democracy is impossible, maybe this wouldn't be happening. It's one thing to refuse, say, to have an abortion on religious grounds, and to deny abortion to others on religious grounds. The former is being pious. The latter is being fascist. The trend is just as strong and dangerous whether its Christian of Islamic fundamentalism that is driving the issue. This administration doesn't understand that, and that's why they can't be the example for good that they wish they were.
So, here's a suggestion for making the new name of the enemy culturally neutral: call it theocratic fascism and let people know where the real problem lies.