Kevin Brennan Writes About What It's Like

This is not a rant; it’s an essay about words 😃

I love words. I’m a writer, so I love words. Words have meaning. Words have impact. Words have connotations, implications, derivations, conjugations, constructions, abstractions, and distinctions. Words can help or harm, and when they’re used with precision and skill they carry the truth like that terrible swift sword of song.

The word of the hour is fascism.

This has come up because Joe Biden recently accused MAGA Republicans as moving toward “semi-fascism,” then went medieval on their ass in his prime-time speech from Independence Hall last week, declaring that democracy was under attack by believers in Trumpism and QAnon conspiracy theories. Such people went nuts over the impression that they were being called fascists. In response, they came up with the hashtag #pedohitler to describe Biden himself.

When in doubt, label your opponent with your own worst attributes. It’s the pot calling the kettle black thing.

Now, we all know that the MAGA movement is at very least fascism-adjacent. They walk and talk like fascists. They express fascist beliefs. They display swastikas on their person. They invite fascist leaders to their meetings (Hungary’s Viktor Orban @ CPAC). They threaten blood in the streets if they don’t get their way. They carry tiki torches while chanting “Jews will not replace us.” They attack the corridors of power to bring about extraconstitutional election outcomes. They hoard assault weapons and thousands of rounds of ammunition, they use racial epithets and despise immigrants both illegal and legal, they abuse the children of people seeking asylum at the border, they repeat lies about election fraud and defend an ex-president who stole top-secret documents and stored them in unlocked rooms in his beachside compound, they nominate for office extremists who swear to change election law so that their party will never lose, they believe anything the MyPillow Guy pukes out, and they hate law enforcement officers who enforce any law they don’t like (but love them when they kill unarmed Black men or bust antifa heads).

All of these are true things, yet the MAGA movement can’t abide being called fascist.

What I don’t understand is that they embrace all of this but they don’t welcome the name. You would think that behaving this way is the expression of a wish to be called fascist. It seems like it would be a title of honor in their world. They seem to want to create a nation where only one political party can ever hold power and is governed by one man who can never be dislodged. And they seem to want to eliminate their political opponents by any means necessary.

I don’t know about you, but to my mind no word describes all of this better than fascism, and I haven’t heard anything from them to make me want to reassess. I mean from leaders and rank and file. They’re all singing the same tune.

Words do have power. And what these people rightly sense is that they can never govern as “fascists.”

The word they’ve come up with in its place is “patriots.”

Words do have power, but they can also cease to have meaning.


Photo by Chris Boese on Unsplash.


9 comments on “This is not a rant; it’s an essay about words 😃

  1. House of Heart
    September 5, 2022

    It’s clear to anyone who isn’t determined to tear down our democracy that The Rep Maga cult under the leadership of their God Trump are semi fascist who attempted a coup on Jan. 6 and unwilling to accept his clear win over their “leader “ will try again. Biden was not lying nor overreacting.

    • Kevin Brennan
      September 5, 2022

      I totally agree. It was really pretty amazing that Biden was so direct in his speech. I hope millions of independents and moderate Repubs were watching.

  2. pinklightsabre
    September 5, 2022

    Maybe it’s because, in our recent worldview of the term fascists, they lost. (Or more accurately, just changed uniforms post-45.) the tag doesn’t connote winning!

    • Kevin Brennan
      September 5, 2022

      Excellent point! Patriots win, fascists lose. Semantics, I tell ya!

      • pinklightsabre
        September 5, 2022

        I work in marketing, writing messaging and positioning, so yes…

  3. Marie A Bailey
    September 6, 2022

    Greg heard the other day that for the midterms Republicans are pushing talking points around how upset the Democrats were in 2000 when SCOTUS made Bush president. Of course, the Maggotheads will argue that Democrats behaved worse than the rioters on Jan. 6. I say, bring it on. I don’t feel smug, like thinking the Dems have got the midterms in the bag, but I do feel an underlying impatience and disgust with the current form of Republican propaganda among the more reasonable and sane Republican voters (there are a few, we can only hope there are enough).

    It’s all gotten so damn Orwellian, so predictable. Here’s a snippet from a Florida news outlet about a recent speech from Marco Rubio:
    “The battle we have now is not that. This is not between the left and the right. This is not between conservatives and liberals, this is not between Republicans and Democrats, this is a fight between common sense and insanity. And insanity knows no limit. Every time you think, “oh, they’ve reached the limit,” like they can’t get any crazier than this, they get crazier. Almost as a kind of reaction,” said Sen. Rubio.”

    Can’t wait until the midterms are over!

    • Kevin Brennan
      September 6, 2022

      I think Rubio’s right about insanity. He’s just got the sides swapped on that front.

      I remember how it felt to have SCOTUS hand the election of 2000 to GW. It was devastating. But nobody attacked government buildings, planted bombs, put on antlers, smeared the Capitol walls with feces, or made death threats. Frankly, I think that decision is at the root of our current situation.

      Yeah, can’t wait till the midterms are over, but I hope the outcome is better than we thought it would be a few months ago. 😬

      • Marie A Bailey
        September 7, 2022

        That’s what makes Rubio’s comments so funny/not-funny. Democrats might have extremists among them but the party hasn’t been hijacked by them (although I wish the party was more progressive). I’m crossing my fingers that if the Republicans do try to argue the 2000 election, Democrats will at least point out that they didn’t try to start an insurrection. The 2000 SCOTUS decision followed by Citizens United really fucked things up.

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This entry was posted on September 5, 2022 by in politics and tagged , .
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