I keep seeing these Memes of an old school Uncle Sam fighting Nazis with the tag line STOP THE ALT-RIGHT "We did it before, we'll do it again!" I just have trouble getting behind that image.
First of all the actual image was used during the Second World War as an anti-Japanese poster. The poster said JAP….You're Next!" and along with many like it using racist images of the Japanese and using slurs that were seen as okay, because ya know, war.
For me, these images are not what we need in the fight against neo-fascism. There is a push to latch onto American patriotic imagery which was based in bigotry and nationalism. This seems hypocritical to me.
During WWII our military was still segregated. The horrors being committed by the Nazis on Jewish and other groups was pretty much ignored by our leaders until allies came across the camps and they were liberated.
Back home during the war, Jim Crow laws in the South were very similar to laws in Nazi Germany. Black Americans were being lynched for just about anything deemed to be a threat to white American values and segregation was widely accepted because the majority view was black people are lesser humans.
In both Northern and Southern states people of color were being beaten, abused and denied equal rights and respect. Jackie Robinson had yet to break the color line in Major League Baseball and Japanese Americans were sent to internment camps.
So while I get the visual and the patriotic call to protect America against fascists and other hate groups, the truth is, these people have always been here and good old Uncle Sam was and is a big part of the problem. In fact Uncle Sam and our government protected racists, promoted racist policy and continue to keep oppressed people down.
Now we have a leader who seems to trivialize the severity of the climate of racism in our country. We as citizens of the world not just the US, must stand as a unified front against hate, in our backyard, elsewhere and most importantly in our own lives. We must also be mindful of the ways we do this and where our own propaganda comes from.
Just some food for thought.