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I want to talk for a quick minute about the Tea Party, the meeting where I first realized fascism could find purchase in America, and why our civilization is coming apart at the seams.

Here's some history I learned researching AMERICAN RULE.

This story starts back in 2010, when I saw in the local paper that the local Tea Party group was holding a meeting at the fairgrounds.

I'd been watching the movement with horror, but wanted to know what was happening. So, I went.

What I saw was...worse than what I imagined.

Instead of being a conversation about Obamacare or taxes, the meeting was a complete horror show that ended up centering on the idea that Barack Obama was a Hitler or a Stalin in waiting who had designs on slaughtering Americans by the millions.

Instead of information, the presentations centered around the idea that America had been hijacked by evil people like Obama, that it was under attack by foreigners and conspirators obsessed with destroying the United States and plunging us into a dystopian hell.

What struck me the most, in all of this raving lunacy, was how terrified the people were.

Everyone I spoke to was either on the verge of tears or else violently angry. They were terrified that their families, grandchildren, everyone was going to be slaughtered.

The conversation shifted from a "diagnosis" of the conspiracy to the solution.

For some, it was organizing, voting Obama out. For others it was impeachment. And then, for others, it was the violent overthrow of the United States government that they now saw as illegitimate.

For background, we have to look at how the Tea Party came to being.

With Obama's election Fox News and the Right peddling wild-eyed conspiracy theories about plots and machinations against the United States.

It was the constant drumbeat of dangerous paranoia.

Meanwhile, Fox News treated the Tea Party as a burgeoning grassroots movement that was non-partisan in nature.

Fox provided the problem, and the Tea Party was a ground-up solution that they marketed around the clock.

But the truth is that the Tea Party was a manufactured movement, an illusion created by billionaires like the Koch Brothers who used their wealth to fund and train an anti-Obama opposition party intended to push the Republican Party further right and toward libertarianism.

Before we go further, we have to take a second and talk about Fred Koch, the Koch Brother's father.

Fred was a dangerous and paranoid man who helped found the John Birch Society that operated on the Republican fringes and claimed America was being attacked by conspiracies.

Fred Koch's Birch Society operated by playing on the paranoia of white Americans terrified that communism and other conspirators were infiltrating America and attacking it.

Or, you could argue, Tea Party 1.0.

The Birchers attacked movements like Civil Rights, claiming that Martin Luther King and other organizers were communist traitors determined to use civil rights as a means to destroy America.

It was weaponize white supremacist paranoia of the highest order.

Despite how he's portrayed now, MLK was despised by white Americans in his time. He was framed as a communist traitor throughout pro-segregation circles, considered public enemy number one.

Birchers like Fred Koch contributed to this quite a bit.

Conventional history flattens this out and makes it seem like white supremacists like George Wallace just opposed segregation on its face, but the claim he made, and others as well, was that Civil Rights was a communist plot using African Americans as pawns against America.

The violence doled out against Civil Rights protesters was legitimized to white supremacists in part as a means to contain a communist plot against America.

The protesters weren't oppressed minorities. They were traitors, terrorists, pawns in a communist plot.

Bircher thought infected the Republican Party for a long time, and was mostly relegated to the sidelines except in moments of crisis.

With Barry Goldwater's GOP nomination, that kind of paranoia flared out of control and engulfed the Republican Party.

In the wake of Goldwater's defeat, the GOP needed a new, more nuanced strategy.

Richard Nixon embraced this and used the infamous "Southern Strategy" to stoke racial hatred while remaining distanced by rhetoric.

The GOP was on a new focused course.

The GOP's mode of operations remained a calculated rhetorical appeal to racist, paranoid white people. Candidates like Reagan appeared before white supremacist communities and hid behind tested rhetoric like "color blindness" while reinforcing white supremacy.

That "respectable" facade could only last as long as the GOP maintained control and until a black man was elected president.

Barack Obama's election brought the poison out from under the GOP's smiling veneer and it spread like toxic wildfire through its base.

Just like the conspiracy theory that communism controlled the Civil Rights Movement, the story was that Obama was brought to power by an outside force: the New World Order.

Nationalist, white supremacist, and religious mythology merged to make Obama The Enemy.

Birtherism wasn't just about making Obama "the other," it was about nodding toward a conspiracy to put Obama in power

Again, it robbed a black man of agency, made him a pawn in a larger game, and boosted a conspiracy theory that minorities were being used to destroy America

The Tea Party was Bircher-ism reborn with only a tiny veneer of Republican "color blindness" applied.

It claimed to be about taxes, but this manufactured movement was about focusing white supremacist paranoia on a black president they believed was an NWO plant.

In this scenario, the Koch Brothers created Tea Party became a manufactured, corporate-created "movement" that opposed a fake tyrant of a president.

In doing this, they pushed the Republican Party toward libertarianism while also furthering the NWO conspiracy theory.

It played off Islamaphobia leftover from 9/11 while again framing a John Birch Society narrative that Marxists and Communists were infiltrating the country, using African Americans as pawns in their conspiracy, and planning to overthrow the United States.

Fox News did its part.

After all, Fox's entire fabricated reality is a lightly disguised New World Order conspiracy and Birch-erism given a sheen.

They promoted the Tea Party, which they knew was a corporate-created "movement" as if it were a grassroots revolution.

Just as the Koch Brothers planned, the GOP had to make a do or die decision.

Either they would be replaced by the Tea Party or they would merge with them, giving control of the party to the paranoid fringe they had manipulated and stoked for decades.

The GOP dove in.

A quick note: the Tea Party/GOP merger in 2010/2011 was the final conquering of the Republican Party by the John Birch Society.

The Koch Brothers finished the job their father started. They used white supremacist paranoia to takeover the total operations of the GOP.

After the Tea Party, Republicans could only get elected if they lived in the reality designed by the Tea Party "movement," Fox News, and rich manipulators like the Koch Brothers.

They dove deep, deep, deep into the fascist abyss, and with them were their paranoid base.

This has continued.

This year's spate of "reopen protests" were funded by powerful billionaires in an attempt to respawn a new Tea Party Movement that could push the Republican Party EVEN FURTHER Right, which is...well...into fascism

It was a corporate constructed illusion

Funded by billionaires like Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, the Reopen "Movement" was another illusion that intended to destroy public health efforts in order to help the wealthy restart their businesses and damn people to die in order to continue exorbitant profit.

But we also need to talk about the aspect of the Tea Party "movement" that have made our politics murderous and fascist.

In part, it brought to the surface the politics of malleability wherein white Americans begin advocating openly for segregated entitlements.

What Tea Partiers were arguing for wasn't a reduction of benefits or services, it was a reduction of benefits and services FOR OTHERS.

The Republican Party has become a white fascistic movement with no other purpose beyond ensuring resources are given to its white base.

The Republican Party has no principles beyond power now.

They're not fiscally conservative. They're not socially conservative. They're not pro-troops. They're not actually pro-life.

All of these things are slogans without meaning.

They exist to consolidate power.

For an example of what this means, we need to look at Mitch McConnell's treatment of Merrick Garland's Supreme Court nomination.

This was seen as a GOP win because he shamelessly changed his principles when it suited power for his party and his base.

The holdup of Garland's nomination was a moment of malleable ideology. McConnell knew he should go through with it, but he decided to hit the brakes.

The GOP now exists without concrete ideology, which means it can shift whatever it believes in search of power.

Donald Trump is this fact personified and the logical outcome.

He has no real ideology beyond "winning" and profiting for himself. He doesn't believe anything and can shift any second. He weaponizes paranoia and white supremacy openly and freely.

He is the GOP.

And like all fascist movements, Trump leads this one by freely embracing baseless conspiracy theories that not only demonize his opponents, but legitimize literally anything he does as a means of fending off a satanic, criminal conspiracy.

It is war without war.

This war without war is what leads to conspiracy theories like the "Clinton Criminal Complex" where Americans are in danger of being destroyed, exploited, and possibly murdered by literal traitors.

Again. It legitimizes literally any action by making it a wartime decision.

Like other fascist movements, it points to "shadowy puppetmasters," or Jewish cabals and manipulators.

It says that powerful Jewish people are working with liberal traitors to manipulate people of color into destroying America.

This is literal Nazism and fascism.

By designating opposition as terrorists and existential threats to the lives and security of the base, the Republican Party is saying they are fighting an invisible war.

You don't need to declare, pass it through Congress, nothing, except convince your people to accept it.

This is what the Deep State is.

The New World Order conspiracy theory with a new paintjob, a rebranding.

It's the Protocols of the Elders of Zion that inspired Nazism and fascism.

It is a war without a war that allows any action to be taken with impunity.

What happens, if it is successful, is that the base gets drawn into an alternate reality where everyone who disagrees with them is a murderous criminal and terrorist and where any extralegal action, any murder, any assassination, is made necessary in order to protect.

What is terrifying here, is that people don't need to understand that they're doing this. Societies slip into the fascistic abyss without even knowing it.

It doesn't take shadowy, smoky rooms, drawn-up plans, handshake agreements or conspirators in contact.

Sometimes fascism happens after decades and decades of political decisions, last-minute calls, media operations without malice, a side-comment by an adviser looking for an edge.

The point is this isn't a conspiracy theory, it's what's happened in America and where we are.

All this history is out there. It's just a matter of connecting the dots, seeing what's happened, and tracing the evolution of something sinister and murderous.

If we continue down this road, we're in a lot of trouble.

Recognize it. See it. Tell people about it.

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Keep Current with Jared Yates Sexton

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