"One Flag to to rule them all, one Flag to bind them, one Flag to lead them all and in the darkness bind them."
OK, in case you haven't immediately figured it out, I cribbed the above from Lord of the Rings to help characterize my Confascist Cross (aka the Confascerate Cross). Modifying Tolkien's words felt appropriate to me. We are, after all, dealing with Great Evil and a truly monstrous, inhuman Dark Lord leading an army of troglodytes, ghouls and trolls against decency, civilization and humanity. Simply by substituting "flag" for "ring," it readily applied to my new rework/merger of not one but two infamous hate symbols.
I can easily see legions of orcs and their demonic Nagzul bosses adorned with this thing! What about you?
The Confascist Cross–Sign for the Times
So back to reality. What happened at Charlottesville in 2017 bothered me. I mean, really bothered me. It still does. It led to the creation of what I call the Confascist Cross. More on this below.
I may just be a crazy artist, but I follow politics closely (if that's not already obvious to you). More to the point, as a humanist, I find it deeply upsetting, offensive and more than a tad bit frightening that we have so many far right-wing, white-is-right, torch-bearing loons running loose in this land, brandishing weapons of war, threatening peaceful protestors and intimidating passer-by.
According to Trump's own justice department (a remarkable finding in and of itself, given how the DOJ itself has been turned into a partisan tool of POTUS and the religio-fascist GOP), this group of pinheads is the greatest threat to domestic tranquility in the land!
Which is to say, NOT Muslims, NOT Antifa and definitely NOT Democrats, despite what Trumpers tell you. Hell, if anything, Dems should be perpetual winners of the Nice Guys of the Year Award (i.e. The Wimp Awards), something which is not exactly a compliment in the rough and tumble world of politics—particularly when your opponents are thugs and bullies.
At Charlottesville, gun-toting goons paraded around town chanting racist and Nazi-derived slogans ("blood and soil" and "Jews will not replace us"). They terrorized locals (members of a synagogue experienced alarming deja vu for what their ancestors experienced a century before in Germany, circa 1920-45) and "clashed with" (an overly non-judgmental, PC media-speak term for "attacked") entirely peaceful counter-protesters. As they did so, they proudly carried Nazi banners, Confederate battle flags, emblems of the KKK and sported other Aryan/neo-Nazi regalia.
Some of them even deem themselves Proud Boys! I'm sure their mother's aren't.
As an American patriot, an ardent champion of justice and equality and a student of history, I believe that we have here are nothing less than seditious cretins demonstrating their contempt for and hatred of everything this nation and it's noble ideals stand for. It makes me want to puke. I, for one, am very glad the FBI is keeping an eye on these folks. I'm sure the very existence of such unAmerican slimeballs makes the Founding Fathers want to weep.
Maybe these losers grew up in hater families, but I suspect the parents and grandparents of many of them would be shocked, horrified, disgusted and greatly disappointed to see these men spitting on everything prior generations of real Americans fought and died for.
One of these vile thugs felt is was a good idea to drive his car, at high speed, into the counter-demonstrators from behind. Besides being a further demonstration of the cowardice associated with this sort (they're only "brave" while in heavily armed echelons, or while protected by 2000 lbs of steel), this move ensured maximum carnage. It's a miracle that "only" one person was killed. 19 were injured. RIP Heather Heyer.
The Confascist Cross–Hate is Grate*
It sickens me that our society has been corroded to the point that we now have guys (they're mostly young, misguided men) who think thuggery, intimidation and assault is a legitimate form of public debate; that it is somehow "American" and the best way to interact with others in the "public square." As a group, they appear to be perfectly willing to incite and use violence against their fellow Americans.
More scary still is the seeming tacit support mostly white police departments seem to give to these groups. Recently, in Kenosha, WI, protests over the Jacob Blake shooting, wherein a "long rifle" toting young man (who had come from out of state) shot three and killed two, the cops waved him on through their lines, even as onlookers screamed that he had just shot people! I don't want to ascribe bad, racist motives to all law enforcement officers (which wouldn't be correct or fair), but time and time again we see white perpetrators of violence against people of color treated with kid gloves and even overt deference, as in this case.
Conversely, and meanwhile, black and brown folks are shot and killed by police in grossly disproportionate numbers. Try to imagine what the police behavior would have been had the young man mentioned above been black!
Did you know that, in part, all the "gun control" legislation of the 70's (it's in quotes, because such laws really did little to stop gun proliferation and it's consequential rising tide of death and destruction) came to pass because of BLACK MILITIAS in Los Angeles, Oakland and other cities?
Yeah, that's right; honky got terrified that Charlie Manson's Helter Skelter might come to pass, when in fact, what these groups were doing was what every single law abiding American had a right to do, particularly in the face of systemic predation on their communities by the very people tasked with protecting them.
Did you know that police began as slave patrol squads? Some say not much has changed.
Coming back to the present, if you support Trump, IMHO, you're supporting a would-be dictator and the religious-corporatist right (i.e. fascists) who support him. #ManBaby's unAmerican, totalitarian leanings have been demonstrated over and over again by both his words and his deeds, as has the complete complicity of what is left of the Republican Party, which my friend K.S. Knight has dubbed the Trumplican Party. As for me, I call them the Party of Death, and the events of recent months (e.g. 200K+ dead on Trump's watch) only seem to buttress my view.
Witnessing these far right wing proto-fascists proudly and belligerently parading around with Confederate battle flags, Nazi swastika banners and other signs of race hate and white supremacist madness—and Nuremberg Rally-style torches—made me sick to my stomach, but it did inspire (months later) an artistic response.
* In several of my tshirt designs, I use the MAGA slogan, only slightly modified: MAKE AMERICA GRATE AGAIN. Not "GREAT." No, "GRATE." As in "grate on one's nerves." Trump, Trumpers and all the sicko haters in this land certainly grate on mine.
Our mainstream media is wholly unprepared and most illiterate about firearms. Few know or understand the difference between a traditional rifle (like a hunting rifle) and an assault weapon, which is basically a weapon of war slightly modified for the consumer market.
Recently, I've seen reporters calling these weapons being brandished by para-military "militia" types "long rifles." This is a broad, generic term, technically correct, but insufficient to the task at hand.
When it comes to guns, it is as if the average newsperson cannot distinguish a station wagon or pickup truck from a dragster or NASCAR competitor. Yes, that's the degree of ignorance here. And it's a big problem, because it both cheapens any coverage the issue does get, and misinforms (by omission, whether intentional or not) the general public.
What many, if not most, of these "militia" types I've seen are brandishing the AR-15, which is the commercial version of the standard U.S. military assault rifle of decades (the M-16 of Vietnam war era fame). Some carry similar weapons, and a few even have the consumer version of the long-standing weapon of communist armies going back half a century; the AK-47 and it's many variants, used not just by Soviet-bloc nations, but the Chinese and their satellite states, too. Both weapons, even in their "civilian" version, fire the same ultra-powerful round used in war.
Second Amendment or no Second Amendment, I don't believe for a single moment that the Framers of the Constitution meant that individual citizens should possess weapons of war, except when they are at war! As my friend K.S. Knight has said, "If the Founders meant us to have weapons of mass destruction, they'd have included cannons, mortars and bombards in the Second Amendment."
Which they didn't, because doing so would have been insane. Frankly, i'm pretty darn sure the founders think modern day Amerika is insane on a number of fronts, and that was even before Donald "Grab 'Em By The Pussy" Trump came along.
A military-grade weapon, even if no longer fully automatic (i.e. "semi automatic") and made for the domestic consumer market, still fires a a very powerful rifle round which is designed to penetrate light vehicle armor and do maximum possible damage to human beings.
Despite what you may see on TV, there is very little similarity between the typical wound of the average pistol round (9mm, .45, .38, etc.) and that of the average assault rifle. The former can be stopped by body armor, a wall, a car door. The latter will tear through such barriers and keep going!
Unless you take a fatal hit (bullet to the brain or heart), you'll probably survive a pistol round. But even an assault rifle wound to a limb can be fatal, because it will do so much damage there's a very good chance of bleed-out in a matter of minutes—to say nothing of the kind of damage such a round can do to a more critical area.
Did you know an AK-47 round can go right through a car body, including the engine block, and still kill? Yeah, like that.
Weapons of war have no business on our streets. They really don't. And guess what? In other advanced countries, you don't see them—and you don't see the kind of outrageous and appalling massacres we see here, either.
Which begs the question, particularly given the Trump administration's appalling record on science and forward progress, whether the United States of America is, in fact, a first world nation anymore. I hate to alarm you, dear reader, but we may, in fact, be more akin to one of those despised-by-Donald-Trump "shithole countries" than any of us want to believe.
Anyway, even cops hate these weapons of mass destruction, generally speaking, because they don't want to face them. See the infamous North Hollywood shootout of 1997, if you want to see what I mean.
Such weapons should ONLY be found in the hands of SWAT teams. Period. IMHO, we need to make them illegal once again, as they once were under the Assault Weapons Ban of 1994, do a gun buy back program as they did in Australia, and make the penalties for buying, selling or owning such weapons extremely severe.
The Confascist (aka Confascerate) Cross Arrives
Somewhere in the deepest, darkest recesses of my branding-oriented brain, thoughts and emotion stirred. And slithered. And bellowed. And stank up the joint. And then, roaring out of the reeking subconscious, the Confascist Cross was born! Which is just as well, since it's about time Nazi's, Johnny Reb and the KKK got a unified symbol of hate they can rally behind.
The rest of us have the stars and stripes and are proud of it—despite how Trump/Pence have defiled the nation, it's reputation and virtually everything Americans have fought and died for over the centuries (you know, those "losers" and "suckers" Trump despises so).
I was originally calling it the Confascerate Cross, 'cause I wanted the term for it to reflect it's dual origins – for the term to be as hybridized as the art. To get there, you take the first syllable of "confederate," substitute the first part of "fascist" for "fed" and tack on the rest of the word. But I admit, it's a bit awkward.
Worse yet, Confascerate Cross is a bit of mouthful even if you do know how to pronounce it. Confascist Cross is better, though either one is "correct," insofar as I'm concerned. I've just come to the conclusion that while the former is more evocative, the latter is simpler, easier to pronounce and therefore far more likely to be used and intuitively understood.
Either way, I think it's an interesting, compelling if slightly terrifying graphic, and you can see the tshirt and merch designs I've used it in over at my shop. If YOU want to make use of the sign, feel free and be my guest, so long as the use is non-commercial and you credit me under Creative Commons 4.0. See below. If you DO want it for some kind of commercial use, please kontact me.
The Confascist Cross is available for free non-commercial use under the Creative Commons license. This means you can take it and use it in your own creations, so long as you're not selling 'em. All you've gotta do is properly credit me, Mann and/or MannArtt.com with the design, and you can integrate it into your own works. All the details on how to do this (it's easy) are available on the Creative Commons site.
NOTE: Again, if you have some commercial use in mind, please kontact me.