For too long, our country and our communities have been in denial about the rise of far-right authoritarianism and the enabling of fascism. For how many months and years have anti-fascist researchers and activists been warning that an attempted coup against democracy would happen, in some form? How many times have we seen eyes glaze over, hearing only condemnations of “both sides,” or dismissive comments minimizing serious fascists as merely “patriot conservatives,” cosplay “clowns,” or stupid “rednecks”? We heard it when Trump was elected, we heard it the next year when far-right militants and death threats besieged our college, and last year when three far-right paramilitaries roamed and held rallies in Olympia.
Our own police and city leaders hyped the threat of antiracist protesters, and turned a blind eye to three paramilitaries armed with semi-automatic rifles, bear spray, and zip ties, even rewarding a cop who had her photo taken with them. There was less government and media reaction to two far-right shootings in December than to earlier Black Lives Matter protests. There were clear cases of a biased double standard, in both Washingtons, and we saw the results last week.Opinion | Denial of American Fascism Has Cost Us Dearly