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21 May 2013

‘When Fascism Comes to America . . .’

By Mona Charen

Liberals used to love to quote the (apparently apocryphal) line from a Sinclair Lewis character “When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and waving a cross.”

Wonder if they’re reflecting on that this week?

We knew that early in the first term, the White House attempted to exclude a news agency from pool reports. Now come revelations that the Justice Department engaged in sweeping eavesdropping on AP journalists; that the IRS targeted conservative private citizens while favoring liberal ones; that the EPA charged fees to conservatives groups while waiving them for “green” activists; that the Justice Department retaliated against a whistleblower in the Fast and Furious investigation; that the Department of State demoted and attempted to silence a senior diplomat who told the truth about Benghazi, and today, that the Department of Justice went to an administrative judge to label Fox News reporter James Rosen a “co-conspirator” for attempting to report on what was happening in North Korea. They tracked his movements and read his private emails.

It’s time, ladies and gentlemen of the press, for a rethink.

The affidavit the FBI prepared said that Rosen “asked, solicited and encouraged Mr. Kim (the State Department employee) to disclose sensitive internal United States documents and intelligence information. The reporter did so by employing flattery and playing to Mr. Kim’s vanity and ego.” Imagine. That is a flagrant assault on the First Amendment.

If this is not sufficient to give liberal members of the press second thoughts about their pin-up in the White House, there is truly no hope at all for them. They will have proved themselves utterly corrupt. And we will have learned that when fascism comes to America, it will wear a broad smile and call itself “progressive.”

SoRo:  Sinclair Lewis never wrote the famous quote attributed to him. It is NOT in 'It Can't Happen Here,' as is frequently cited, nor is there any other record of him ever having made it. 

The 'Sinclair Lewis quote' is a Progressive 'urban myth.'

Update:  From The Sinclair Lewis Society... 

Q: Did Sinclair Lewis say, "When Fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross"?

A: This quote sounds like something Sinclair Lewis might have said or written, but we've never been able to find this exact quote. Here are passages from two novels Lewis wrote that are similar to the quote attributed to him.

From It Can't Happen Here: "But he saw too that in America the struggle was befogged by the fact that the worst Fascists were they who disowned the word 'Fascism' and preached enslavement to Capitalism under the style of Constitutional and Traditional Native American Liberty."

From Gideon Planish: "I just wish people wouldn't quote Lincoln or the Bible, or hang out the flag or the cross, to cover up something that belongs more to the bank-book and the three golden balls."

There was also a play called Strangers in the late 1970s which had a similar quote, but no one, including one of Lewis’s biographers, Richard Lingeman, has ever been able to locate the quote.

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