Naomi Wolf, author of ‘The End of America: Letter of Warning to A Young Patriot,’ lists these ten steps in an article she wrote for the Guardian. After researching Mussolini’s Italy, Hitler’s Germany, tyrants like Stalin, Latin American dictators etc., she distilled the process taking place when an open society is being dismantled, and she claims that the Bush administration is using these exact tactics in order to shut down our democracy. In an interview on ‘Author Author!, she outlines the grave dangers she perceives as well as what should be done to prevent them — if it’s not too late already.
Exaggerated? Overstated? Hers isn’t the only voice of warning. On the website Third World Traveler, “an alternative view to the mainstream media” which offers a wealth of information about human rights, social and economic justice, foreign policy, media control, etc. I found an article by Captain Eric H. May, a former Army military intelligence and public affairs officer: “Amerika Über Alles” – Our Nazi Nation. May draws parallels between the rise of Hitler and Nazi-Germany and the current White House politics, from the fact that both Hitler and Bush were elected by less than half of their respective population, to the gradual but continuous reduction of civil rights.
I grew up in post-war Germany amid bewildered adults who were unable to answer questions such as: how could this have happened. Why didn’t you do anything to stop this. My parents were too young to have voted for Hitler, and they certainly weren’t Nazi followers, but their generation’s claim that they didn’t know about the barbaric atrocities being inflicted on Jewish people for example didn’t sound convincing or excusable. The outer signs of fascism — the Swastika, “Heil Hitler” greeting, the old National Anthem — were not allowed any more, but even as a teenager I felt that the underlying causes were poorly if at all examined.
What if today’s children will be asking the same questions in ten, fifteen years: Why did you let this happen? How come you didn’t notice what was going on? Maybe it’s not too late to wake up. Democracy, like a good marriage, can’t be taken for granted or it will crumble.