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Open hearts and minds

Open hearts and minds

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In reply to a letter in the Bitterroot Star of Jan. 6, 2021.

Thank you, Henry Fowler, for making me aware of Eatwell and Goodwin’s book on national populism. I hope you read other writers on the topic as well — the reviews of Eatwell and Goodwin seem mostly to applaud their quantity of data but not necessarily their conclusions.

National populism is also known as right-wing populism, national populism, and right-wing nationalism, and borders on fascism. It pretends to be “of the people,” but in fact results when a power-hungry individual (which also means money-hungry) is able to delude the general populace that they are victims of a liberal society (also called “elites”) and that s/he cares about them and, with their support, will fix everything.

That’s pretty much where we are as a country isn’t it? After the past four years is everything fixed? It sure is nice for the people at the top. And when the “protesters” invaded the Capitol in Washington, DC, looting and endangering lives as they went, what did they think when there was no one to meet them and further the “revolution?”

The Republican Party has been working toward this for decades by spreading misinformation and conspiracy theories and by gerrymandering and an astonishing variety of other voter-suppression tactics that some of us, at least, thought were beneath this country.

And whether you claim the term or not, you do seem to be a white supremacist. You mention the “so-called ‘Great Displacement’ — the systematic dispossession of white Americans and Europeans by Third World immigrants.” This phenomenon is called history. It is quite natural and neither as despotic nor as systematic as what the Republican Party — led by the wealthy and ambitious — has been up to for so long.

All human beings are born pretty much the same way and die pretty much the same way, and they all want to feel secure and good about themselves and their lot. What we whites have called “race” since the mid-1700’s does not, in fact, exist except as physical details such as skin color and eye shape that evolved as a result of geographical distribution. You can read lots of good books about it, many published quite recently.

At least you didn’t mention socialism or communism as the root of all our problems as do many white folks in your age bracket (and mine). Younger people don’t think about the USSR and the Cold War when they hear “socialism”; they think of Canada and Scandinavia and universal healthcare and affordable education. Good for them!

You refer to “the right side of history”* — the past is not the future, sir. We can learn if we open our hearts and minds.

*Apparently this is one of the phrases yelled by the “protestors” in DC. Do you wish you had been there, perhaps with Theresa Manzella and her automatic weapon?

— Mary Fahnestock-Thomas, Hamilton


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