Picture It: America, 2011

Picture this scenerio:

Your son comes home from fifth grade and says his class is starting a new social studies unit where they will learn how the government and political parties work.  Their first assignment is to ask their parents about their own political affiliation and experience.  You smile, happy your son is learning something with real-world application, and tell him you tend to vote for Republicans.  You like smaller government, you believe our troops need all the support we can give them since your family has a strong military history, and you tend to agree with the Republicans on social issues like abortion.  He takes notes on the worksheet his teacher handed out, then starts on the rest of his homework.  You assume he turns it in the next day at school.

Two days later, late in the night, you hear a knock on your door.  Your wife and children are all asleep in their beds.  What could it be, you wonder as you go downstairs.  Has one of my parents landed in the hospital?  Is someone just looking for another house and gotten lost?  You open the door, just a crack, and some tough men in trench coats barge their way into your house.  “You’re a Republican!” they shout.  They wave your son’s worksheet in your face as proof.  “We can’t have any of you dissidents hanging around!  You’re coming with us!”

“What?  What…it’s a free country!  What’s wrong with voting Republican?  My son filled that out, it’s for a school project on government!  What do you mean?”  But they’re not listening.  They’re rumaging through your hall closet and handing you a coat.  Your wife has come to see what’s going on, but no one will tell her as they drag you out the door.

Sound extreme?  Of course it does.  Whenever I hear people protesting on street corners that we live in a “Fascist state,” though, I want to tell them this story I made up.  True Fascist states, like Nazi Germany, did use school assignments as a way for children to tattle on their parents who didn’t belong to the governing party.  The fact that you can lead such a protest and not fear for your safety and that of your family is proof that we do not, in fact, live under a totalitarian government.

Study history, please, and use it as a reality check before you make such ridiculous accusations.

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2 Responses to Picture It: America, 2011

  1. Tricia Tighe says:

    Nice reminder. I actually didn’t know that tidbit on school projects and Nazi Germany.

  2. Gale Holt says:

    Nazi is a convenient pejorative for whomever we dislike or for views we think we deplore.

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