In order to debate the issue, we must first define just what fascism is. <blockquote>The first truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. - Franklin Delano Roosevelt</blockquote> <blockquote>Fascism is best defined as a revolutionary form of nationalism, one that sets out to be a political, social and ethical revolution, welding the ‘people’ into a dynamic national community under new elites infused with heroic values. The core myth that inspires this project is that only a populist, trans-class movement of purifying, cathartic national rebirth (palingenesis) can stem the tide of decadence - Roger Griffin, Professor of Modern History, Oxford Brookes University</blockquote> <blockquote> Main Entry: <b>fas·cism</b> Pronunciation: \ˈfa-ˌshi-zəm also ˈfa-ˌsi-\ Function: noun Etymology: Italian fascismo, from fascio bundle, fasces, group, from Latin fascis bundle & fasces fasces Date:1921 <b>1</b><i>often capitalized</i> : a political philosophy, movement, or regime (as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition - Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary</blockquote> While there doesn't seem to be a concrete definition of fascism, all seem to share the common thread of autocratic power, populist rhetoric and nationalism. Umberto Ecco listed the characteristics of fascsim in <a href=http://www.themodernword.com/eco/eco_blackshirt.html>Eternal Fascism: Fourteen Ways of Looking at a Blackshirt</a> Looked at with a critical eye, the Bush administration meets many, if not all, of Ecco's criteria, as well as those presented in the other definitions. This can be most readily noticed in the administration's obsession with gathering power in the hands of the Executive Branch and attempts to relegate the Legislative and Judicial branches to the status of advisory, rather than co-equal, branches of government. This can also bee seen in the Bush administration's disdain for the rule of law, whether it be the commuting of 'Scooter' Libby's sentence, the illegal wiretaps or the circumventing of international law and treaty as evidenced by GITMO. So long as members of Congress fail to uphold their oversight duties and prosecute members of the administration for their violations of federal law and Constitutional breaches as well as violations of international law and treaty, America is a functional fascist state. So long as this administration remains free of accountability for its actions under those principles laid down in the Constitution and the rule of law, if not now, then after the election in 2008, the change will be <i>fait accompli</i> and America will remain a functional fascist state. The Bush administration is currently functioning under the rule of law, as THEY have defined it, not as it is defined in the Constitution. Until the administration is brought to heel under the principles and rule of law established in the Constitution, America will remain a functional fascist state. While there will be those who feel such observations are mere hyperbole or fabrications of a lunatic left-wing looney, I can only state, that it is not hyperbole or lunacy to recognize and state, clearly, the nature of our government as it now stands. Only by recognizing this administration and the government it has given rise to as fascist can we truly focus on the priorities Congress must address. Until the rule of law is restored, none of the other desperately needed changes, from the occupation of Iraq to health-care reform, to tax reform or immigration reform or any other needs we see daily in the headlines can be addressed. Congress must put aside its partisan bickering. The Republicans must put aside their loyalty to party and president...The Democrats must put aside their political and personal ambitions...All must remember that their FIRST loyalty and duty lies with the Constitution. They mus act to restore the rule of law...Not in six months...not in three months...not even in one week. They must act now, while they still can, to restore the rule of law.