by Shawn Hamilton (Originally published in the LA Progressive, 2016)
Lately I’ve encountered a surprising number of people in public who seemed to be talking to themselves. Often when this happens, I assume these folks are talking to me, so I respond in some way as polite custom dictates, only to be ignored—or to receive a disapproving glance for having invaded someone’s privacy bubble. Usually by this point I would realize the person was talking on a cell phone or similar electronic device, and I would feel like a fool.
I first apprehended the potentially adverse social consequences of personal electronic devices in, appropriately, 1984. I was attending Humboldt State University, and I noticed a classmate wearing Walkman headphones day after day and commented in class that he seemed to be using them to tune the rest of us out. For me this was the beginning of what I now see as a deleterious trend that is getting so much worse than I initially anticipated.
by Shawn Hamilton
“We could become the first country to go fascist through free elections.” William Shirer, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich
“A Brief History of Fascism in the United States”
Generally we avoid using forms of the word “fascism” in polite company, and until recently, a person citing parallels between Nazi Germany and the current United States would invite elevated eyelids along with the outworn charge of sounding like a “conspiracy theorist“. The current electoral cycle seems to be changing that, so I will trust that now is the right time to convey some ideas I’ve been marinating regarding fascism in my US Homeland. The ruling plutocrats are clearly ferrying the ship of State along that current, so if fascism is destined to be a part of our lives, perhaps we should quit pretending we can’t see the ugly elephant in the room and somehow respond to it.
In discussing fascism as it exists in the United States, an accurate definition is in order. If we can see past lurid images of swastikas, jackboots, and death camps, we might realize that some elements of fascism, such as presumed racial and religious superiority, have existed in the US since its inception and are more pervasive than we have so far acknowledged. While the historical racism responsible for the US slave trade, the ongoing genocide of American aborigines, and the rise of the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazism all reflect symptoms included in the fascist impulse, I am using the term “fascism” in its post-World War 2 context, which involves the rise of the Corporation as amoral tyrant. (continued)