The Road Back from Fascism

Evan Belosa
12 min readJan 9, 2021

“One thing is sure. Democracy is doomed. This is our last election. It is fascism or communism. We are at the crossroads — I take the road to fascism”. — Father Charles Coughlin, 1936

In a day of stark images, one symbolized American descent like no other: the busts and portraits of patriots past gazing down from the walls at a lone terrorist walking through the halls of the Capitol, a large Confederate flag unfurled behind him. One hundred and sixty years have now passed since Abraham Lincoln gazed out at the Potomac in early 1861, anxiously awaiting the arrival of federal troops to save Washington from insurrectionists. It was saved then. Only now, long after Bull Run, is the flag of treason, of white rejectionism, displayed in the Capitol.

American fascism is ascendant. Those who ignored its rise, who both-sides’ed the rising schism in America, can no longer avert their eyes from the ascending illiberalism and resultant fragility of the republic. Donald Trump is the orchestrator of Wednesday’s horrific events, but as Edward R Murrow once said of Joseph McCarthy, “he didn’t create this situation of fear; he merely exploited it — and rather successfully.” Trump could not have brought the country to the brink of catastrophe without the assistance of people who not only should know better, but probably do. “We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful in what we pretend to be” wrote Kurt Vonnegut in Mother Night and if the functionally illiterate president is ignorant of Vonnegut’s wisdom, two Harvard educated scions of the establishment, Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz, likely aren’t. And yet each faux-earnestly pretended to swaddle Donald Trump’s Klu Klux Koup in the respectable garments of fighting “electoral fraud” or “irregularities” or whatever nonsensical nomenclature cloaked reality and gave rhetorical cover to the very real threat against democracy metastasizing on the ground. Each, presumably was well aware that Trump simply seeks to retain power in defiance of the will of the people, to end, in essence, 242 years of Constitutional governance, and yet each self-appointed Constitutional Conservative dutifully supported efforts to infer the darkness of dictatorship in the parchment of liberty. In years to come, we’ll be told that they didn’t really mean it- that they knew there were no grounds, but that play-acting concern was pleasing to their…

Evan Belosa

Lawyer by day. Star Wars aficionado by night. Hug a wookie and fight the dark side.