I was recently asked to say in just a few sentences why I think "the upcoming election is so important." Here's my best attempt to boil it down to "a few sentences:"
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The 2004 presidential election will determine whether we let the seeds of fear germinate into the roots of fascism.
Mussolini defined fascism as "the merger of state and corporate power." With its big tax breaks for the wealthy, industry-favoring environmental policies, pocket-lining Medicare programs, and private-enterprise invasion of Iraq, the Bush/Cheney administration has made that relationship the cornerstone of our public life.
But there is an even greater danger lurking: that the Federal Government will soon be overrun by right-wing fundamentalists who flunked Civics 101 and truly believe that the separation of church and state applies only to non-Christian denominations.
If Bush is "re-elected," then State and Corporate power will be combined with Evangelistic zealotry into an ideological triumvirate that threatens to undermine the secular foundations of all our public institutions. Stir into that already festering stew our brooding apprehension about the terror lurking around every corner, and you have the perfect formula for a theocratic police state. Do not believe for a moment that "it can't happen here."
At the conclusion of the Constitutional Convention in 1787, Benjamin Franklin was asked if the new nation was to have a monarchy or a republic. "A republic," Franklin replied, "if you can keep it." The challenge to preserve our republic, and the secular institutions on which it was founded, is every bit as dramatic now as it was in Franklin's day.