Nationalism and framing

Sinclair Lewis said that if fascism comes to the United States it will be a cross wrapped in the American Flag. Chris Hedges wrote a fantastic book on christian fascism and on the problem of Christian extremism in the United States. However, there are many voices who prefer to discuss the problem of Islamic terror instead of Christian terror. Right wing extremism is objectively more prevalent in the United States than any other type of extremism not to mention actual right wing terrorist attacks. Fascist parties are rising up around the Western world all couched in similar language and each preying on their home country’s own national pride and fear of the other. This is combined with the objectively worse standard of living that most people are forced under due to the proliferation of late capitalism. The world’s current issues are too nuanced to be fit into a neat box but at the same time there are things that must be addressed to make a better world. I will only speak for myself personally, but I believe nationalism is disgusting. I believe patriotism is a problem too. I believe that patriotism too often is used to distract from actual problems. I do not think there is anything wrong with loving your country or the place that you live. I think that is perfectly reasonable. However, nationalism in the United States is often conflated with patriotism. American exceptionalism is, in many ways, a cultish ideology. It assumes that America is the best place and the most free and assumes that anytime you make any sort of criticism, you are being anti-American. It is essentially calling you a less moral person for deigning to criticize your place of birth. Similar to McCarthyism, it is used in order to prevent any meaningful discussion of change and even is used to revert to some previous better time. It cannot do anything good for anyone who is not already comfortable. Many people in the United States have not reached the most desperate point yet and I believe this is why the left is still super divided. Too many people are too comfortable and are unable to see beyond it. This is not, me telling them, that they are wrong for being comfortable or that they are bad people. I myself am more comfortable than most. I have privelages that most don’t. But I try to see things outside my own perspective. I will mess up and I will be wrong. But I will continue to try. Systems of power, whether they be the state or private corporations require you to allow yourself to be divided. The left is very easily divided because we don’t agree on how to achieve our goals. The right is less divided because they actually recognize their shared goals first, and are less picky about how they get their. It is the ends justify the means versus procedural issues. I am not saying that the procedure is meaningless, but I will say that liberal values including free speech, rationality, individual rights, etc are things that many people simply stop caring about if they feel threatened enough. The right understood this and post 9-11 America is worse off for it. But at the same time, the left hold no power, and until we do we cannot change how the game is played. All we can do is understand the game and adapt. We must refuse to concede the rules and framing to our ideological opponents. Also our opponent’s goals cannot be held as reasonable. We must be dogged in our attacks on not only the means of right wing policy but their intended goals. Do not allow their words to reach you or stop you from speaking the truth. Remind Americans that their framing, is wrong. They must be unable to speak without you shutting them down when they mislead people. We must frustrate them at every turn by exposing their tricks and showing contempt for them when they moan and cry about being shut down. The right wing has the most thorough infrastructure of monied interests in this country. There is nowhere in this country where they do not have the backing to reach people with their message. Remind our citizens that whether or not one platform decides to pass an actual moral judgment, there are plenty of immoral business interests that will be happy to fund the most hateful among them. Take a stand and remind Americans that the left actually cares about morality. Politicians are allowed to have moral standards. The right has for too long gotten to sell themselves on their own brand of morality. They lie about it, but they always are allowed to frame things. The corporate media will always use the right wing framing and whenever you go on you must immediately challenge it and scoff at it. If you appear rude, so be it, the mainstream media has been rude to the left for as long as I’ve been alive (nearly 30 years). The right cannot win if they are whining all the time. The left cannot use being polite as an excuse. If the right complain all the time and the left seems to not care about it, it will reflect poorly on the Republicans. You can be polite and shut down hateful ideas. The battle of ideas is only a battle if you fight back. Never allow right wing ideas to be allowed to stand alone.

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