It seems so long ago now.
Seventy-one years ago–in December, 1941–America declared war on global Fascism. And won.
In April, 1945, with Italy in ruins, Benito Mussolini–Il Duce–was shot by anti-Fascist partisans.
In a ravaged Nazi Germany, its Fuehrer, Adolf Hitler shot himself in an underground bunker.
But Hitler and Mussolini may be having the last laugh after all. Their methods and goals are very much alive and flourishing–among the Americans who once drove them into the earth.
If you doubt it, consider the following from MSNBC’s “Hardball With Chris Matthews” for August 15, 2012:
MATTHEWS: Here is a group of less than average Joes. Joe the Plumber [Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher], Sheriff Joe Arpaio of [Maricopa County] Arizona, and [Illinois Congressman] Joe Walsh all spew insanity. But rarely do they go back to back to back.
Well, first up, you have Joe the plumber telling an Arizona Republican fund-raiser that he wasn’t worried about being politically correct. He was going to tell it like it is. The way to protect the border, he says, is to build a fence and then start shooting.
Samuel Joseph “Joe the Plumber” Wurzelbacher
At that same fund-raiser, Sheriff Joe Arpaio…said his investigation [into] the president’s birth certificate is proceeding and [he] is convinced the document from Honolulu is a fraud.
Sheriff Joe Arpaio
And a few days earlier, Tea Party favorite Joe Walsh told a town hall audience in Illinois there were radical Islamists in the Chicago suburbs trying to kill Americans every week.
Congressman Joe Walsh
What do these Joes have in common? They [are] all trying to be as incendiary as possible and they all succeeded.
Turning to David Cantanese, a reporter for Politico, Matthews says:
MATTHEWS: These are heroes in the Republican culture. These are people like Donald Trump, he knows how to make money as least. They love these people, David. They’re the heroes.
DAVID CATANESE, POLITICO: I would actually put Joe Walsh in a bit of a different category….I think he’s a true believer.
This is a guy who says things on the record that most politicians would never do off the record. And again, he is an elected congressman in a very tough race. When he says something, I think he believes it.
I think…the Plumber and the sheriff are more showmen. They’ve got books to hawk. Joe the Plumber was revealed that he gets paid sometimes to go into these congressional districts.
Remember, Joe the Plumber is a congressional candidate running in Ohio, what is he doing in Arizona if he really wants to win that race? You know, it was revealed after her endorsed Herman Cain last year, Herman Cain campaign paid him $10,000.
MATTHEWS: We’ll skip ahead to Joe Walsh and what he’s been saying. He’s an elected an official, a United States congressman.
Let’s hear what he has to say about the near threat of radical Islam in this country.
REP. JOE WALSH (R), ILLINOIS: In this country, it’s not just over there, trying to kill Americans every week. It is a real threat. And it is a threat that is much more at home now than it was right after 9/11. It’s here. I’s in Elk Grove, it’s in Addison, it’s in Elgin. It’s here.
MATTHEWS: The specificity of this insanity, I guess it`s the old Joe McCarthy trick. The more specific you sound, the more credible you are. If you give a lot of details about the near threat of Islamic terrorism in this country plotting against us as a real threat — I guess it rings true to those people watching his pointer there as if he was the mad professor.
Well, there’s one common thing here. There’s a common thread in this insanity and it’s racial and ethnic. I mean, they go after people, Mexican-American, and other people who have come here to this country from Latin America, South America, they attack them. That’s Joe the Plumber.
Arpaio does the same thing. He’s going after the president because he’s African-American, go after his birth certificate. Let’s face it, he wouldn’t do it to a white guy.
* * * * *
Candidates like Joe Walsh, Joe Arpaio and “Joe the Plumber” (who isn’t a licensed plumber) don’t get on the ballot by accident.
They do so through the support of men and women whose hates and resentments they share–and exploit.
These voters are seeking a representative who will inflict their hatreds onto those they despise.
Adolf Hitler, for example, did not create anti-Semitism in Germany. He simply shared it–and exploited this poisonous hatred within his audiences to attain political power.
Postwar Germany, however, had an advantage that America now lacks.
The United States was determined to root out Nazism among the Germans. And, to a large extent, it succeeded: Germany today is a far different country from the one Hitler ruled.
But who will exorcise America’s own Fascistic elements?