It's Not Hypocrisy When It's FascismRoundup
tags: Republican Party, conservatism, fascism
Dr. William Horne is a founding editor of Activist History Review.
Whether it’s pointing out Republican opposition to access to safe infant formula (or childcare, for that matter) while restricting abortion access or their flag-waving, stand for the pledge, support our troops “patriotism” while blocking essential healthcare for veterans, our media, politicians, and public intellectuals have been having a field day discovering “GOP hypocrisy.” The problem is that they’re wrong. It’s not hypocrisy if it’s fascism.
Today’s Republican Party is a fascist party waging an eliminationist war on their perceived enemies. Just like many historical fascist parties, the GOP is committed to white supremacy, patriarchy, and Christian nationalism rooted in myths and lies about the past. While we might reasonably find it odd, for example, that Republicans promote “religious liberty” and Islamophobia or celebrate American history while banning parts of it from being taught, it would be a mistake to conclude that this is some kind of accident. In both cases, these aren’t simple misunderstandings but clear expressions of a particular vision of (white) Christian nationalism that is the bedrock of their fascist movement.
The recent example of Glenn Thompson, the Pennsylvania Congressman who spoke at his gay son’s wedding just three days after voting against protecting the rights of same-sex couples to marry, illustrates the problem with the “hypocrisy” diagnosis well. On the surface, it seems like a case from Hypocrisy 101—Thompson celebrating a marriage he voted not to protect.
The problem, though, is that it treats Thompson’s behavior individually—an issue of personal morality—behavior that nonetheless only makes sense through his party membership. Remember, House Republicans voted en masse against the Respect for Marriage Act, a bill that would not only protect same-sex marriage in the event that the Court moved to overturn Obergefell, but also protects interracial and international marriages. Each of these unions are now vulnerable since none, to borrow Justice Alito’s argument overturning Roe, are “deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition”—a tradition firmly grounded in racism, patriarchy, and misogyny. That fact, by the way, is not lost on prominent fascists like Justice Clarence Thomas or Senator Ted “Cancún” Cruz, both of whom suggested that same-sex marriage should be overturned following the reversal of Roe.
Thompson’s vote against the Respect for Marriage Act reflects a growing Republican commitment to an explicitly Christian version of fascism—Christian nationalism. It’s why, for instance, the flag-waving, hyper-patriotic Republican Party is obsessed with the fascist authoritarian leader of Hungary, Viktor Orbán, who led his own attacks on the LGBTQ community under the banner of “Christian democracy.” What about Hungary, exactly, does this hyper-nationalist party identify so strongly with? What could it be? (it’s the fascism).
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