From Hitler to Pinochet and beyond, history shows there are certain steps that any would-be dictator must take to destroy constitutional freedoms. And, argues Naomi Wolf, George Bush and his administration seem to be taking them all
Ms. Wolf goes into quite some detail on each of the following:
1. Invoke a terrifying internal and external enemy
2. Create a gulag
3. Develop a thug caste
4. Set up an internal surveillance system
5. Harass citizens' groups
6. Engage in arbitrary detention and release
7. Target key individuals
8. Control the press
9. Dissent equals treason
10. Suspend the rule of law
Even as Americans were focused on Britney Spears's meltdown and the question of who fathered Anna Nicole's baby, the New York Times editorialised about this shift: "A disturbing recent phenomenon in Washington is that laws that strike to the heart of American democracy have been passed in the dead of night ... Beyond actual insurrection, the president may now use military troops as a domestic police force in response to a natural disaster, a disease outbreak, terrorist attack or any 'other condition'."
We need to look at history and face the "what ifs". For if we keep going down this road, the "end of America" could come for each of us in a different way, at a different moment; each of us might have a different moment when we feel forced to look back and think: that is how it was before - and this is the way it is now.
Fascism here won't look like it has elsewhere. It will be uniquely American. Bread and circuses, Britney and Sanjaya, SUVs and malls, life will go on. The Constitution will still be touted as the law of the land, but "Rights Will Not Apply - For Historical Purposes Only". Most people won't notice the change because they don't notice anything anyway. When they finally get an inkling that something's wrong, it'll be too late to stop it short of another Civil War. Or at least an armed uprising. It'll still be Americans killing Americans. I hope I'm dead and gone when it happens.
The Hell of it is that a good many Americans won't give a shit.