When I was a girl I was repeatedly told by my paternal grandparents (I don’t think my maternal grandparents were super-political), my parents, and the myriad of conservative churches I attended, that fascism comes from the left.
Mind you, this was the 70’s and early 80’s, long before anyone would have believed the events that led to the downfall of the Soviet Union could ever happen. At that time there was a lot of pandering to the USSR by democrats and the Republicans appeared to be more opposed to communism on all fronts.
I can recall that as young as age seven that I was concerned about these matters. I even had an internal debate with myself in the second grade over whether I should continue to watch Little House on the Prairie after Amy Carter (daughter of President Carter, for you yung’uns) was pictured with the twins who played Carrie Ingalls on the cover of The Weekly Reader.
I grew up watching the evening news and would have recognized Tom Brokaw if I’d seen him on the street even when he was just a correspondent.
This idea that fascism would come from the left, however, began to make less and less sense the more I studied history. Fascism, even the form that took over in Russia after the Marxist revolution, sounded very conservative to me. In all forms of fascist governments the letter of the law rules. There is no compassion, there is no debate. The law says it, therefore: Obey, or else. There is also, in almost all cases, a hearkening to “the way things were” before some outside force (be it colonialism or what) changed the country.
From middle school onward I lived one life in my mind and another out loud. The few times I ventured a differing opinion (usually on the issue of race) I was told that people had very good reasons for their beliefs. But no reason given for the way conservatives viewed minorities and the impoverished made sense, especially since we numbered in those living in poverty. There was also the ever present threat of hell to keep me silent, as it was taught in nearly every church I attended that being a Republican meant you were a Christian and being a Democrat meant you had rejected the True Faith.
I watch now the embodiment of everything the right side of my family stands for play out on my screen day after day. I hear liberals complain that it makes no sense, they can’t understand how people can’t see through the blatant lies.
There are two reasons for this, first, the conservative voting base have spent a lifetime being conditioned to believe specific authorities even if what they say has no basis in truth. Most conservatives are highly religious and they see no problem saying we must take god’s word on faith and then applying that to their politicians. Second, conservatives, be they Republicans or Democrats, will vote for whomever spouts what they believe is most important. Most Republican and Democratic voters stand or fall on the issue of Roe v Wade. This is their litmus test. They don’t look much deeper at a candidate than their stance on abortion. And, on the surface, this appears to be the reason white Evangelicals came out in droves for Trump.
As we head to midterms (elections, not school stuff) the right has become more open and blatant about their hatred and contempt for anyone who isn’t like them. With a PA politician physically threatening his opponent and obvious voter suppression in Georgia and North Dakota (the latter enforced by Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court) it’s readily apparent who the corrupt are. But white people have had enough of equality and fairness. They want their country back and they will steam roll over anyone who tries to stop them. For now that steam rolling is mostly proverbial. When they are fully in power, don’t be surprised that it will become a very real thing.
Now we see that a vote for Trump had nothing to do with much of what he said, or even who he was. He honestly could have grabbed pussy right on screen and they still would have voted for him and backed him up because he is a white man and it’s his prerogative to treat women the way he wants. This is the Evangelical base, this is the way they want the world, one where the white man rules again. It appears that they will do absolutely anything to get this.
Fascism always comes from the right, and the right is fully aware of this, and they are content with it.