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Terry Boyles: So, what else is new?

Terry Boyles | Other Voices

When President Joe Biden called MAGA Republicans “semi-fascist,” he was lambasted for divisive language. But many of us heaved a mighty “so, what else is new?” Look up the word “fascist” and “far right,” “nationalist” are among the first descriptors. I suppose we can all be accused of being “semi-“ something.

Progressives have long ago become inured to the expletive “communist” hurled during even the most casual discussion of policy differences. At least get it right, just call us semi-socialists. Property rights are ensconced in the Constitution. Progressives, all but the most extreme leftists, actually love capitalism, and the Bill of Rights. Patriotic Americans still believe in pluralist control of the government, no matter how large or small we, the people, choose to make it. But increasingly, right-wing zealots reject the idea that the people can be trusted to make proper law.

When people turn a blind eye to the watershed moment on Jan. 6, they reveal their secret fascist. “Rigid national identity, intolerance of diversity, militarism and embrace of a strong, authoritarian leader.” Sounds like a pretty accurate description of those angry folks, carrying Trump flags, who violently stormed the Capitol. Obviously, all Republicans are not the fascists that this small group are. Just, as obviously, Democrats are not all Marxists.

Yes, there are actual communist true believers that vote blue. And Antifa extremists generally see little difference in evilness between the two parties. Where are the real “communists,” calling for nationalized banks, nationalized oil companies, national everything? The Bernies and AOCs, the most left leaning Democratic reps, are actually just middle of the road democratic socialists. There’s already ample evidence that Americans like being a little socialist and have for years, just try and touch their Medicare and Social Security!

The inability to accept the results of elections, and its requirement of minority status at times, is antithetical to the democratic precepts laid down in the Constitution. Trump loudly declared, even before election, that if he lost, it would be fraudulent. “Stop the steal!” is the language of a would-be tyrant. Courts roundly dismissed his claims, but his gullible followers are still enraged.

Election officials are retiring or quitting in record numbers under threat, and general harassment by angry MAGA voters. Rusty Bowers, a loyal conservative who had served as Arizona Speaker of the House, refused to be pressured to illegally decertify the count by Trump allies and take the state from Biden (he won by over 10,000 votes). After his sworn testimony to the Jan. 6 committee, he’s been banished from his party. For merely doing his duty to the Constitution!

Fascism is, at its heart, anti-democratic. In America, there should be room for all kinds of different opinions about what it is to be a good American. Differences in the amount of government involvement in our daily lives have always been accepted as normal political grist, fiercely argued in the field of public opinion. Choose your representative, and vote. But the trust that our votes would be counted was never a negotiable part of our covenant with government, and more importantly, one another. If there’s fraud, prove it! Any attack on the core principle of America, fair elections, is an attack on America. It’s fascist. Not even “semi.”

Terry Boyles lives in Penn Valley


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