Sarah Palin summed up the Republican Party's turn to Fascism perfectly when she mocked Senator Obama as someone who would want to read enemies we capture "their rights".
"Terrorists still plot to inflict catastrophic harm on America ... he's [Obama] worried that someone won't read them their rights."
Long before Sarah Palin's son was preparing to deploy to Iraq, my son John joined the Marine Corps, did two deployments in Afghanistan, one mission in Iraq, and fought for and defended his country and family. I was proud of his service, in spite of the fact that I believed that my son had a fool for his commander-in-chief. In my mind, John's motive (regardless of who the President was) was to defend an American way of life based on a set of principles and our Constitution that place the value of the rule of law and human rights above mere expediency.
John and I wrote a book, Keeping Faith: A Father-Son Story About Love and the United States Marine Corps, that, after my appearance on Oprah, became a bestseller and has since become a standard book many Marine Corps families read as a guide to Marine Corps boot camp, and the lives of Marine families.
I won't take a back seat to flag-waving Republicans and their "patriotism." Besides the fact that my son stood up and volunteered, Sarah Palin would not have been nominated if it were not for the abortion issue and John McCain's need to shore up the commitment of the Evangelical pro-life right wing. As John McCain and the leaders of Religious Right know (including figures such as Dr. Dobson and Pat Robertson, Rev. Hagee and their ilk) there would have been no Evangelical pro-life movement as we know it without my and my father's connecting the Republican Party to the Evangelicals.We led that movement into the pro-life camp in the 1970s and early 80s with a series of influential books and film series.
So, I know something about the Republican Party having been a lifelong Republican until recently when, disgusted with the dirty tricks perpetrated by Rove and others, I quit and registered as an independent voter. (I even worked for McCain in 2000 by going on many religious radio shows to plead his case against Bush.)
But there is a better reason for not being a Republican today: the Republican Party stands on the brink of becoming the Fascist American party. Republicans seem ready and willing to trample everything my son stood up for when he put on the uniform of United States.
The Fascist side of the Republican Party is summed up in her historic line: "He's worried that someone won't read them their rights." This snide off-the-cuff remark embodies everything that has gone wrong with America since George W. Bush became president.
In this one little aside is the American equivalent of another "little" phrase: "the final solution." Palin's is an attitude that places ideology and rabid nationalism above the law. For her, war trumps ethics. This attitude has turned America into a country that tortures prisoners, has put us on the wrong side of our Constitution, has taken the country that liberated Auschwitz and made it a place that now uses torture, intimidation and the desecration of human freedom as a means of war.
Palin and the Republican Fascists believe that we are so right, so great and so powerful that we no longer need to obey our own laws or even -- in the case of global warming -- the laws of nature. We can start wars for no reason and then claim "victory". We can torture in the name of Jesus.
Sarah Palin is a member of a theologically extreme church, one that views history as in its "final dispensation" wherein Jesus is about to return and wherein America can help this event along by spurring the apocalypse by goading Israel into a war eternal with its Arab neighbors.
So, our new Republican Fascism is actually Fascism with a twist of nutty Evangelical theology, much like German Fascism evolved with a nutty twist of bizarre superstition and stargazing on the part of Hitler and many leading Nazis who were as enamored by the occult as by politics.
We have seen the next Mussolini and she's wearing a skirt. Don't let Palin's "hockey mom" image fool you. Sarah Palin is the face of a post-democracy America, post-constitutional and post-freedom America. She is the home town "little Austrian" vice presidential candidate to a cancer-riddled old man who, chances are high, won't see the end of his first term in office if he becomes president due to illness and old age. The woman who said that we don't need to read people their rights may well be the next president.
The Fascist tactic that destroyed the democracies of old Europe was simple: mock and belittle your opponents, nibble at the edges of the rule of law, promote violence, and grasp at a weird religion of "destiny" (their version of American exceptionalism) with an "us" against "them" mentality, blame others, including the intellectual classes and the media, pit the working people against the perceived elite (Jews in Europe and today's university-educated Democratic Party leaders in America), take power based on grievance and fear and then set aside the constitution altogether based on claimed threats by outsiders.
This is the path that America is on with Palin and McCain. The election of 2008 is a choice between United States Constitution and Lipstick Fascism.
Frank Schaeffer is the author of CRAZY FOR GOD-How I Grew Up As One Of The Elect, Helped Found The Religious Right, And Lived To Take All (Or Almost All) Of It Back.