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The Cutting Edge: Blog of Ed Knudson
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Members of Trump's Religious Advisory Council Have Not Resigned  8/25/2017  (714)

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Church Leaders in Charlottesville Prepared for White Supremacists  8/16/2017  (612)

White House Staffer Fired Over Memo on Cultural Marxism (or, Critical Social Theory)  8/15/2017  (615)

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Southern Baptist Pastor Calls for Holy War against North Korea  8/9/2017  (589)

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The Misuse of Martin Luther on Predestination  7/28/2017  (537)

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NRA Thinks White Alienated Males are Feeling Sorry for Themselves  6/30/2017  (540)

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Peter Berger Dies. Our Knowledge is Not Our Own  6/28/2017  (645)

Not All Lutherans are the Same. Supreme Court Favors One Type Only  6/27/2017  (559)

Obamacare is a Conservative Model of Healthcare and is Failing; Now It's Time for Single Payer  6/27/2017  (628)

It's Clear Now: Putin Wanted Trump, Not Clinton  6/24/2017  (643)

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This Should Happen All Over:  Union Ironworker Has a Plan to Beat Paul Ryan  6/21/2017  (650)

Triangulation Has Been Terribly Hurtful to Democrats  6/20/2017  (656)

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Most of Trump's Voters are Not Poor, but Regular Old Republicans  3/18/2017  (648)

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White People are Hurting Themselves  3/11/2017  (954)

Basic Civics Lesson for Libertarians  3/8/2017  (872)

Public Trust: Post-truth is Pre-fascim  3/8/2017  (986)

Martin Marty Center Publishes Column in Support of Disgraced White Nationalist, Milo Yiannopoulos  2/28/2017  (1163)

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Post-Factual Politics  2/8/2017  (1075)

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Trump Offers to Rescue Lower Income White People in a Secular Rapture  11/2/2016  (1028)

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Legal Aspects of the Contraception Debate  2/9/2012  (2759)

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Wall Street Occupation Protest - Live Video  9/26/2011  (2742)

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When Fascism Comes to America; What Love of Country Really Means

The summer before last my wife and I traveled to Minnesota to attend the fiftieth anniversary of my graduation from college. We happened to drive by Sauk Centre, a small town in Minnesota where Sinclair Lewis was the third son born to a country doctor there in 1885. We stopped and visited the home in which he was raised and a small museum dedicated to him.

Perhaps his most famous book is Main Street about life in a small town. He received the Nobel Prize in 1930 and died in 1951. He knew about war and fascism and the attitudes of people in small towns.

The words in the image to the right are said to be those of Sinclair Lewis: "When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross." If there are any words worthy of memorizing and remembering forever these words are especially important right now. Because there are many who are so terrorized by the media build-up of militant threats from the Middle East and from Russia. The wars drums are being loudly beaten these days by nearly the entire media and leaders in both political parties.

And from the Republican right wing war rhetoric is becoming extreme. At a conservative political conference I heard Ben Carson, a possible presidential candidate and a rather soft-spoken fellow, say that if he were president he would simply tell the military to seek out and "destroy them", referring to "radical Islamist terrorists", as if it is so simple to even identify where and who such people are.

John Boehner invites a candidate for president in Israel to speak to Congress because he wants this country to go to war against Iran rather than allow Obama to make a deal on limitation of its nuclear weapons. Hatred of Iran is so extreme these people want another war. This has now long passed the point of rationality. But it makes great news so the media can't help but report irrational rants as if they are legitimate policy choices. It's as if everyone in this country is in a big electronic war game without realizing that at some point lots of buttons are being pushed that are killing lots and lots of people. The more killing the United States does of others the more desperate the world becomes and the more the security of the people of the United States is undermined. The United States destroyed Iraqi society and now that act is coming back to haunt us in the form of ISIS which is beheading our citizens on television to terrorize our hearts and minds and force us to kill even more people in the Middle East. The more we kill the worse the world gets but the political leaders in both parties are telling us we need to kill more, kill more, kill more of those terrible terrorists. It has all become absolutely irrational.

Then the other day Rudy Giuliani at a fund raiser for Scott Walker, the Wisconsin governor running for president, said to some sixty wealthy dinner guests that President Obama did not love the country. He wasn't raised like us, Giuliani said. He said Obama sometimes criticizes the country. Incredible. Giuliani knows what he is saying and he knows he is making racist comments, as if he comes out of the deep South rather than New York City, trying to make the first black president into someone who is "other" than a real American, which is, indeed, how large numbers of Republicans do, in fact, believe. The Republican Party has become the party of the South, of white people in Southern states, the former Confederacy, those states where white people to this day are angry not only about losing the Civil War but about having the federal government force them to change their ways of racial segregation in the 1960s.

People in the Midwest and West, as well as the East, in both small towns and cities, have no business participating anymore in the Republican Party. Those states have never been so completely racist and violent as white people in Southern states have been. Even though a great deal of change has occurred in the South, it is still characterized by an anger and willingness to engage in violence that is especially not helpful in a highly technological age which requires rational management of our common life to the greatest benefit of all. Love of country should not be associated with racist and violent attitudes as Giuliani proposed. Real love of country is the exact opposite of such attitudes.

Giuliani has praised Vladimir Putin as a strong and decisive leader, apparently the kind of person he thinks we should have as president. Yes, and Putin is basically a dictator. I have placed an article on this website entitled The Link between Terrorism and Fascism: Scared People Readily Accept Dictators. Fascism comes about when people are whipped up by fear, hatred, hostility, by a dictator who knows how to manipulate the minds and hearts of people. Read the article for more understanding of fascism.

As you participate in public life keep some of this in your mind, and when you can, help people understand how dangerous it is for everyone everywhere when we allow our leaders to engage in blatant belligerent talk. In fact, such talk ought to disqualify anyone trying to put themselves forward as a political leader today.

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