I can’t be the first to argue that what I see happening in the United States increasingly resembles fascism. From those who hold power to legislation being passed in various states, it is clear that democracy is dying.
Fascism is a political movement that emphasizes the dominance of a powerful leader, extreme nationalism, and prioritizes the supremacy of the nation and its leader over individual rights.
When asked if I’ll ever move back to the U.S., I always cheekily respond by saying that it depends on who’s in power. These days, I’m thinking more and more about renouncing my U.S. citizenship.
In my view, there are currently three major things happening in U.S. politics that are driving the rise of fascism in America.
The first involves yet another school shooting in the U.S., this time in Nashville, Tenn. on March 27. While I could once again go on about the recklessness of not having appropriate gun laws in the U.S., what is even more scary about the current situation surrounding the tragedy is the blatant disregard for democracy that Tennessee legislators are showing.
Passionate students took to the state’s capitol building to protest current gun laws and push for reform in a peaceful and legal manner, and three Democratic lawmakers supported them. Now, two of those lawmakers have been expelled from the house of representatives because of their participation in democracy and their advocacy for the safety of students everywhere.
It is terrifying to see that the Republican party is purposefully trying to silence any Democratic voice that tries to advocate for young people and their ability to stay alive and free.
Additionally, Nashville police have said that the shooter identified as transgender, and rather than listening to the needs of the people they are serving, U.S. lawmakers are turning the tragedy into rhetoric for anti-trans campaigns.
The Trans Legislation Tracker notes that in 2023, there have been 492 anti-trans bills introduced across the United States. So far, 32 have been passed this year.
An example is Montana’s Senate Bill 99, which prevents minors with gender dysphoria from receiving care. Specifically, treatments “are prohibited only when knowingly provided to address a female minor’s perception that her gender or sex is not female or a male minor’s perception that his gender or sex is not male.” This is only one bill from one state. There are 13 other states that have similar laws against gender affirming care.
There are also various bills being passed that prevent young trans people from using bathrooms belonging to the gender they identify with or playing on gendered sports teams that they identify with, as well as laws that ban teachers and schools from using students’ preferred names and pronouns without parental approval and that prohibit teachers from discussing gender identity or sexual orientation at certain grade levels.
The Declaration of Independence states that all Americans have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Shouldn’t that mean that no matter who a person is or how they identify, they should be free to present themselves however they wish?
The core of the fascist rise in the U.S. is, in my opinion, occurring in Florida. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is leading the state, and probably the rest of the country, toward a form of fascism.
Florida introduced House Bill 999, which is essentially an outline of basic guidelines for higher education institutions. I first learned of the bill on TikTok and the need to avoid misinformation prompted me to closely read the legislation itself. What I found was saddening.
The legislation claims to support education for “citizenship in a constitutional republic” but is forcing institutions to remove any core courses, or any “major or minor that is based on or otherwise utilizes pedagogical methodology associated with Critical Theory, including, but not limited to, Critical Race Theory, Critical Race Studies, Critical Ethnic Studies, Radical Feminist Theory, Radical Gender Theory, Queer Theory, Critical Social Justice or Intersectionality.”
The bill requires this while at the same time stating that courses cannot “distort significant historical events with misleading or incorrect presentations of fact.”
So, when Floridian colleges and universities teach their students significant historical events in U.S. and world history, they cannot discuss anything other than the white, straight and Christian characters and versions of events?
This makes absolutely no sense to me. Rather than improving education, the Florida government is straight up restricting any discussion or instruction about the true history and incredible stories of the Black and queer people that have made America what it was and is today.
The bill also bans post-secondary institutions from using any funds to promote or support social or political activism, or to advocate for equity, diversity and inclusion. To me, this is a government saying that if you are not what it wants you to be, or try to change the way it wants things to be, you are not welcome.
Ron DeSantis makes me worry for the future of the United States. If he runs for president in 2024, as many are predicting he will, I think that America has a lot more to worry about than the pronouns someone prefers to use. With the rise of this kind of fascist legislation, a fascist America could be just beyond the horizon.