fresh voices from the front lines of change







For six years the Campaign for America’s Future organized the annual Take Back America conference, the largest annual gathering of progressives in the country. At the conference progressives came together to discuss how to improve the country, through goals like health care reform, clean energy, investment in infrastructure, and not making America less secure by engaging in unnecessary wars of aggression. These were undeniably happy conferences with positive messages.

Starting this year, after the election of President Obama to the White House, CAF changed the name of the conference to America’s Future Now! to reflect the promise of a new progressive era.

Apparently conservatives were inspired because they quickly co-opted the name and held their own conference, this past weekend, named the How To Take Back America Conference.

(See how it isn’t a blatant ripoff? They added “How To” at the beginning!)

Now if a confused progressive would have happened to stumble into this conference, expecting to see a positive discussion of how to improve the country for all Americans, they would have been in for the shock of a lifetime. No, that isn’t what this conference was about. Instead, it appeared to be the modern equivalent of The Two Minutes’ Hate, only spread over two days.

Take for instance one of the workshops which bore the McCarthyesque title of “How to Recognize Living Under Nazis & Communists” (Yes, really, you can’t make this stuff up). The obvious point of the workshop was to show attendees how Obama is just like Hitler, specifically a communist Hitler. Quoth the presenter:

We elected Hitler by 98% of the vote by means of the ballot box. How could that happen, that such a monster, would get elected in a 100% Christian nation? The fact is, Hitler talked like an American politician [knowing chuckles from audience] […] Now, if we would have dictatorships–dictatorship overnight, and had we had our guns, we would have fought a bloody battle. So, keep your guns, and buy more guns, and buy ammunition. […] Take back America. Don’t let them take the country into Socialism. And I refer again, Hitler’s party was National Socialism. […] And that’s what we are having here right now, which is bordering on Marxism.

So what did we learn? We learned:

1) Obama, like Hitler, can win democratic elections, even in “100% Christian nations” (for some reason I was under the impression that there were a few Jews in Germany in the 1930’s). This means that democracy isn’t always right, and an anti-democratic revolution is thus justified.

2) Obama is a great speaker. Hitler could speak well too. Thus, Obama is just like Hitler.

3) We need to stockpile guns and ammunition so we can fight a “bloody battle” against the American government. (US ammo manufacturers are facing shortages because right-wing conservatives are actually doing this).

4) Hitler was a socialist because the name of his party included the word “socialist”, and that is all the proof we need. Yup.

This last one always annoys me. It just shows how shallow conservatives’ understanding of basically everything really is. A political party 70 years ago included the word “socialist” in its name, thus fascism = communism. Let’s forget about the fact that the Nazis hated Communists, and Hitler killed millions of them–a weird thing to do to a group that you are supposedly part of, isn’t it? Well hell, let’s just ask Hitler what he thought of socialists:

“The German state is gravely attacked by Marxism.” -Adolf Hitler

“In the years 1913 and 1914, I… expressed the conviction that the question of the future of the German nation was the question of destroying Marxism.” -Adolf Hitler

“The Marxists will march with democracy until they succeed in indirectly obtaining for their criminal aims the support of even the national intellectual world, destined by them for extinction.” -Adolf Hitler

“Marxism itself systematically plans to hand the world over to the Jews.” -Adolf Hitler

“The Jewish doctrine of Marxism rejects the aristocratic principle of Nature and replaces the eternal privilege of power and strength by the mass of numbers and their dead weight.” -Adolf Hitler

Apparently Hitler didn’t get the memo that he was a Commie. Someone probably should have told him. In fact, as it turns out, when you actually look at what Hitler believed and actually did, his policies were generally far-right (thus why he hated the far-left, otherwise known as socialists and communists).

But hey, facts are so inconvenient. It is much easier to just tell people that fascists and communists are the same because of a word in a long-defunct political party’s official name. That is of course a lot more important than, I don’t know, what the two groups actually stood for, or the history of what actually happened back in the first half of the 20th Century.

But that is par for the course for the conservative movement. Their idea of taking back America appears to be through spreading insane lies about the President of the United States being a Nazi-Communist, and by advocating a bloody armed rebellion against the United States. That’s quite a change from the flag-waving jingoism of the “love it or leave it” crowd just a few short years ago.

But should we be surprised? Of course a Take Back America conference from the right-wing isn’t going to be focused on taking back America democratically–virtually all of their policies are opposed by an overwhelming majority of Americans. So I guess Plan B is advocating treason.

Mind you that at this same event a GOP Congressman denounced the President as “an enemy of humanity.”

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