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What Would Nellis Say?

How'd We Get Here? - January 2024


How’d We Get Here?

By Rick Stiller


In 1958 Fred Koch and eleven of his super-wealthy archconservative associates formed the John Birch Society, which trumpeted the fallacious threat of a Communist plot to subvert not only our form of government but the very fabric of our society.


The underlying motivation for their campaign was the elimination of taxation and regulation of their industries and their fortunes by a federal government they intended to dismantle. That goal was built on a radical social, economic, and political foundation that included ending government support for welfare, public schools and liberal universities, everything in the New Deal, and certainly the granting of women’s rights, voting rights, and racial equality.


They viewed all these programs and many more as the result of rampant Communist infiltration into our government, which committed the ultimate socialist offense of using taxes collected from the wealthy to lift the poor out of poverty and disease. Fred Koch is quoted, “The colored man looms large in the Communist plan to take over America.”


Scientific research into the rapid increase of diseases and deaths related to the unregulated dumping of industrial pollutants into the air, ground, and water prompted state legislatures and then Congress to write laws limiting the unfettered rights of large corporations (i.e. Koch Industries) to dispose of toxic waste wherever it was cheap and convenient. The idea that our government should bear the responsibility to protect the population from being poisoned by companies who valued profits over social responsibility was blasphemy at best and a further reason to do away with the regulatory agencies within the executive branch of the Federal Government.


Over the ensuing decades, an expanding web of financial affiliation by extremely wealthy patrons across the nation provided the means to spread their extremist philosophies through every level of media from small-town newspapers to national magazines and network television. Billions of dollars have been invested in a continuing campaign to convince white Americans of their victimization as a result of the impending threat of Communism, Socialism, and integration. 


The original movement has been working on their project for more than sixty years in a steady methodical crusade to protect and expand their power and radicalize sympathetic media outlets to constantly reinforce their propaganda with white Christian extremist supporters. 


The Koch contingent invested millions to establish The Heritage Foundation to vet and promote radically conservative political candidates and develop an “ultra-conservative” philosophy that could be sold to the general public as gospel. As a result, school boards, city councils, state and national legislatures, and, ultimately, the presidency were conquered through enormous contributions driving well-organized campaigns. The culmination of their ongoing effort resulted in the radicalization of nearly a third of our white voting population through a constant barrage of hate, racism, and victimization.


As a result of an investment exceeding $20 million since the election loss of 2020, the Foundation recently published Project 2025, a thousand-page blueprint for dismembering the government and discarding democracy. Four years of extremist persistence resulted in a detailed plan that commences with removing fifty-thousand non-partisan bureaucratic experts from the civil service, to be replaced with people whose oath of loyalty to Donald Trump and MAGA defiance is their primary qualification. 


The next Republican president would claim absolute power over every agency within the Executive, end the independence of the Department of Justice, the FBI, and the Department of Homeland Security, and curb the regulatory functions of all the other federal agencies. The text also calls for deploying the military for domestic law enforcement and repression of protests and descent under the Insurrection Act of 1807 beginning on inauguration day. Have a need to be more terrified? Read the summary.


The Republican’s current slim majority of representatives has brought the business of Congress to a halt. The House of Representatives passed a historic low twenty-three mostly inconsequential bills during this session out of nearly five hundred that were proposed. Meanwhile, state legislatures in the red states have been diligently passing bills limiting or eliminating the rights of women, minorities, LGBTQ citizens, anyone who worships another religion, purging voter rolls, and gerrymandering district maps to eliminate Democratic competition by diluting the minority vote.


The wealthy clique donated massive endowments to premier law schools in a campaign to install extremist curriculums to justify and promote overturning laws that prove inconvenient or intrusive to the wealthiest of our neighbors. The Federalist Society was instituted to place those graduating archconservative attorneys into lifetime appointments on the federal bench, where they could alter or abolish long-established precedents with impunity. Their mandate, to dismantle public education, diminish the influence of unions, rescind or eliminate taxation, limit voting rights and benefits for minorities, women, and the LGBQT community, and deregulation of industry, is being fulfilled every day.


The radicalized Supreme Court’s first order of business was granting States the right to eliminate women’s entitlement to make their own medical decisions regarding abortion, most without exception for rape, incest, or the life of the mother. They followed that up by granting the States the right to enact laws allowing any moron to carry a gun in public without training or license which has resulted in gun violence becoming the leading cause of death of children in many red states. 


The Court decimated the Voting Rights Act and the Equal Rights Amendment, and they are about to decide whether the experts in our government’s regulatory agencies have the right to impose rules and regulations on industries to protect the public. Think clean air and water, uncontaminated food, medicines that have been thoroughly tested, the safety of imported products…that list covers almost everything we encounter in our daily lives. 


Considering the sponsors who created and controlled the Federalist Society that placed a majority of the “conservative” justices on the court, one might assume that there is little chance that we will be protected from the excesses of those wealthy few. Do you want your personal safety to be determined by experts who have spent their entire lives dedicated to employing facts and science to protect you or extremist judges who have no knowledge of or training on the issues behind the laws they are overturning?


Funding for public education has been cut continuously for decades in many states, while our taxes are subsidizing home schooling and religious charter schools until what was once the shining example for the rest of the world has become a hollow shell. A tiny minority has demanded that any book that might make a white child uncomfortable, addresses black history, or different lifestyles, be removed from libraries across the country. The absurdity has resulted in pulling Webster’s Dictionary out of classrooms because it contains a definition for the word “sex”. 


Librarians are being harassed and driven from their profession, for providing knowledge and answers, by right-wing fanatics who have not read the books they are damning. The stampede to ban books in Florida was driven by a dozen women, who formed Mothers for Liberty (an organization that is the equivalent of the Proud Boys in skirts), most of whom had no children in the schools they were assailing.


History books are being rewritten to teach children that the Civil War was fought for state’s rights, that kidnapped Africans benefitted from being forced into slavery, that the Holocaust and the Trail of Tears never happened, and white people are superior to everyone else.


This year’s election presents a stark choice between defending our democracy, despite the imperfections, or succumbing to an extreme theocratic autocracy (a white-nationalist Evangelical Christian dictatorship serving a tiny minority of super-wealthy citizens).


Trump and his toadies have touted their slogan “Make America Great Again” since his first campaign. The problem with that anthem is that the America they are referencing has not existed since before the Civil War, when white men owned their women and their slaves and the wealthy controlled the economy and dictated the norms of our society. It was a great time to be a rich white man but the rest of the populace had no rights under their absolute domination.


The future of the country and all it stands for depends on enough citizens appreciating the peril we face in the tyranny of a tiny extremist minority. The wealthy clique has used every tool they could buy to peddle hate, bigotry, intimidation, and white victimhood to rally a radicalized slice of white America to blindly support their lust for power. They have no interest in the needs or hopes of the population beyond soliciting their votes to place extremists in the most powerful seats in the nation.


Remaining silent, staying home instead of going to the polls, or voting for third-party candidates is cowardice and capitulation. Every vote not cast against Trump and the extremists, who have commandeered today’s Republican Party, might be the one that puts them over the top. Are you willing to take the chance that your vote enabled the decimation of our way of life?


How did we, as a nation, get to this point of having to defend our society against a lethal assault on everything our citizens have fought and died for over the past two hundred and fifty years, from an enemy within our own borders?

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