United States Capitol (Martin Falbisoner, CC BY-SA 3.0)

Fascism on the rise, and I’m the one who’s losing my mind?

A few weeks ago I had lunch with a group of old friends — yes, that old — to honor a woman who was leaving her job at a building where we all lived at one time or another.

At one point one of the women asked me something (of course I can’t remember exactly what) about my dementia. Every head snapped to look at me and get my answer. It made sense, given that I am open about my condition. I opened my mouth and my mind went blank. That’s what I should have told them, but I felt pressure to be informative or at least responsive. After all, I’m the one who went public about it. I have no idea what I said, but if I’m guessing right, none of them do either.

Maybe that’s what makes good friends. You can fake it, they know you’re faking it, and everyone carries on.

Some of my friends say they do the daily crossword in 30 minutes or an hour. The New York Times crossword has been over for me for some time, although I still keep a book of NYT puzzles next to my bed. Instead I play Scrabble on my computer several times a day and before I go to sleep. I beat the computer 99 times out of 100. I also play in the “beginners” category. Why should I frustrate myself? 

I drink wine every day, usually one glass, often two. Most of my friends drink martinis, so I give myself points for that.

I truly believe that I would not be doing so well mentally if Trump had won the election. Joe Biden is just so sane.

But I do worry about my country. The attack on the Capitol was unreal, shocking, right out of a horror movie, but it firmed up an idea that I was not sure I wanted to admit to myself: fascism is not only present in my country, it’s flourishing.

On Jan. 6, it was not hard to believe that Trump would ask a crowd to go to the Capitol; what was unbelievable was that the crowd was so large, so filled with hate, so murderous, and so armed to the teeth. It still is.

Since then I’ve been watching everything I can about World War II. There’s no question that Hitler looks and acts crazy in all the documentaries. But when the cameras pan, the size of the crowds is absolutely stunning. Trump did not attract those huge crowds, perhaps because his followers had Fox TV. We were able to fool ourselves that his following was not huge, let alone dangerous.

One of the many documentaries I’ve watched — and isn’t it interesting that so many documentaries about World War II are being aired — hit home for me.

It concluded by saying the Germans were motivated by the need to be superior, to be a pure German race. Thus the murder of Jews, gays and the handicapped.

The fascists in our country — and that’s what they are, fascists — also think there is a “true American” who is white, Christian, straight … and armed. They fear they are being overrun by the “other.” They probably are because they’re not too bright and their leaders are duplicitous morons.

Who can they turn to? Well, Trump was their savior, the poor fools, and he lost. Solution? Tear the place down. Vote Liz Cheney out of her position. (By the way, I hope she has round-the-clock security.)

I wish I knew how it will all turn out. What I do know is this: Cheers for Joe Biden, who is so damn normal, and for his backups, the cunning-in-a-good-way Nancy Pelosi and the future of our country, Kamala Harris. 

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Mary Kay O'Grady

Mary Kay O'Grady is a former high school English teacher and later owned her own public relations business, The O'Grady Group. She has lived in Oak Park for almost fifteen years. She is currently the chairperson...