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writing for godot

Announcing the Serialization of: The 15% Solution: How the Repub. Religious Right Took Control of the U.S.: 1981-2022

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Written by Steven Jonas   
Monday, 13 March 2017 06:52

This is an introduction to the forthcoming full serialization on OpEdNews of this book. It is by Steven Jonas, MD, MPH, and was published by Trepper & Katz Impact Books (a Division of Punto Press, Brewster, NY, the publisher is my good friend, Patrice Greanville), Copyright, Steven Jonas, 2013. The serialization will likely take about two years to complete.

 

This book is the third version of one that I originally published in 1996, through my own publishing house, the Thomas Jefferson Press. The title of the original was The 15% Solution: A Political History of American Fascism, 2001-2022. The author back then was the pseudonymous "Jonathan Westminster." That was a play on the name Jack London, who wrote the first dystopic novel about a fascist state, called The Iron Heel. It was set in the United States and published in 1908. (That date happened to be 11 years before the first state in history that could be considered fascist was established in Hungary following the end of World War I. The leader was one Miklos Horthy, a former Admiral in the Navy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, who became the first absolute dictator of a nation who was not a monarch.) "Jonathan Westminster" was a fictional Professor of Political Science at the New State University of New York at Middletown who fictionally published his book in 2048. That was the year of the 25th anniversary of the Restoration of Constitutional Democracy in the Re-United States.

This third version (and it is the third version, not a third edition) is revised only modestly from the original. It has a new introduction, in my (S.J.'s) voice, not that of the putative author. In the 2013 version of the book this introduction is called "The Author's Preface." In this version, Chapter 20, "What Might Have Been Done; Progressive Attack Politics," like the rest of the book is in "Westminster's" voice, but it has been revised from the one he "wrote" for the original version. There is a new "Afterword" for this version which, like "The Author's Preface," is entirely in my voice. Otherwise, except for some editorial cleaning up here and there, the fictional historical narrative is the same as it was in the 1996 original, with nothing added.

In many ways in terms of policy, program, and legislation, up until the establishment in the book of the "New American Republics" in a fictional 2011, they do seem much like what the Republican Party and the Christian Right have been doing, promoting, and implementing over the last 20 years. That is not due to any claim of clairvoyance on my part. It is only because the narrative, again until "2011," is based entirely on what in the 1980s and 90s they were already telling us they would do if they ever got hold of significant governmental power at the Federal and State levels. But no one, most especially the Democratic Leadership Council-led Democratic Party, wanted to listen and/or take them seriously. And of course, what in the book is aptly named the Republican-Christian Alliance, is what in practice the Republican Party has become. Indeed the journalist Howard Fineman in 2012, writing about the Republican Party as it went into the election, labeled it the "American Faith Party."

The book has been called the Uncle Tom's Cabin of its time. Another commentator has said: "Highly detailed, [it's] a roadmap to the craziness of a powerful and fanatical segment of the population that is unlikely to fold any time soon." The term "The 15% Solution" refers to an electoral strategy to ensure their victory which was originally developed for the Republican-Christian Right in the late 1980s by a (long defunct) organization called the "Christian Coalition." Described in detail in chapter 2 in the book, it is certainly the model for the voter suppression campaign which the Repubs. have been carrying out with a vengeance since the mid-2000s.

Written as "fictional non-fiction," the book's primary purpose is to show how a theocratic authoritarianism can be gradually introduced into any country, and in the case of the United States of America behind a facade of Constitutional legality no less. That is, if there is no awareness in some significant sectors of the population, and opposition elected and party officials nationally, of what might happen and is happening. In that sense, it follows in the tradition established by its major forebears in fiction: the aforementioned The Iron Heel by Jack London and Sinclair Lewis' It Can't Happen Here. (However, I must state here, categorically, that I make no claim to be a writer in the class of London or Lewis, nor George Orwell nor Margaret Atwood nor Philip Roth, whose books on various fictional states of fascism are of equal importance to those of London and Lewis, either. As a story-teller perhaps. But as a writer, not.)

When originally published in 1996 the book was a warning about what might happen in the U.S. as a result of the alliance between the Christian Right and the Republican Party. With its re-issue in 2013 and this serialization which will take place in 2017-18, the book is a description/warning about what is happening and will be happening down the line, unless a powerful resistance under the banner of a new Popular Front can be organized and become effective, under the Trump/Pence regime.

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Steven Jonas, MD, MPH is a Professor Emeritus of Preventive Medicine at Stony Brook University (NY) and author/co-author/editor of over 35 books, on politics, health policy, health-promotion/disease prevention, multi-sport racing, and regular exercise. In addition to being a "Trusted Author" for Op-Ed News.com (http://www.opednews.com/ ), he is a Deputy Editor, Politics for The Greanville Post (http://www.greanvillepost.com/ [one of the webmagazines under the umbrella of Punto Press publishing]); a Contributor for American Politics to The Planetary Movement ; a contributor to the "Writing for Godot " section of Reader Supported News; and a contributor to From The G-Man . Furthermore, he is an occasional contributor toBuzzFlash Commentary Headlines and The Harder Stuff. He is also a triathlete (34 seasons, 250 multi-sport races).

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The book is available from Amazon in both print and e-versions: click here

 

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