I haven’t blogged much about the rise of fascism in the U.S., which is a little surprising to me (and perhaps long-time readers), since I was one of the first people, back in 2014, to identify the Republican Party as a White nationalist party.
One reason is that I don’t blog simply to repeat what other people have written already, often more eloquently than I would. Another reason is that, as a microbiologist, I spend a lot of time writing about COVID (better me than that shit-for-brains Leonhardt). But another reason is that there is a surrealism to the moment: As the Republican Party–and the country–is being taken over by fascists, The Discourse™ is still arguing the real threats are college students who are tired of tolerating bigoted assholes, misguided diversity consultants, and a very small number of trans children who might be transitioning at too young an age.
At a personal level, the dissonance is even greater. Things are going reasonably well for me: professionally, my work is going well and actually doing something to improve public health**. Unlike a couple of years ago, where I was hit with the double whammy of the pandemic and a dear relative who was dying, mostly alone due to COVID visitation restrictions, personally, life is much better too.
Yet this doesn’t change the problems the country faces, which are as severe as this not-young person has ever seen. Somehow we’re just supposed to go on about our everyday lives and ignore this background reality. Even discussing COVID–and with hundreds of deaths per day and long COVID looming, COVID is still an vital issue–seems somewhat trite, if the extremist right were to take over. It doesn’t help that even the most basic and straightforward response, voting, really isn’t an option for me since I’m a resident of the mainland colony and lack Congressional representation. At the same time, most of the national Democratic leadership seems unable or unwilling to respond to the threat–and is unwilling to cede power to those who are.
So it leads to a certain sense of hopelessness, combined with wishful thinking–maybe it won’t be that bad if it all does go to shit. And that’s how they win.
Anyway, this is a very long-winded explanation of how I’m going to try to write about these topics a bit more, for the little good it might do.
*I’m part of a larger project, and very grateful to have this opportunity to do this work.