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Basic Black (Shirt)

Jack Grimes and Sally Parker, from the United Fascist Union website.

Posted 12/11/2002

Is it too soon to think about Election 2004? Not for presidential hopeful Jack Grimes. We here at Nose politico HQ were busy circular-filing campaign materials from the November election when Grimes' statement of candidacy landed in our in box. What plucky political party is this early bird battling for? The United Fascist Union. Yes, fascist--a word that an army of inside-the-Beltway spin-docs would have a hard time making palatable. But hold on, this is not your grandfather's fascist party. Well, not based on the Nose's phone interview with the Wilkes-Barre, Pa.-based Grimes, an erstwhile Shakespearean actor and U.S. Army soldier turned full-time fascist.

For example, you won't find any racism here. Grimes, who is white, says his running mate in his unsuccessful 2000 bid for the Big Chair--and his likely sidekick again in '04--is Latino. And Grimes counts a black woman among his party organizers.

Warmongering? Not really. "I don't think Saddam Hussein is a threat to the country, and if he is still in power after I'm elected, I'll leave the man alone," says Grimes, adding that, "war is not very nice, and we ought not have it."

Anti-Semitism? Doesn't look that way. "We need to strengthen Israel so that there will be a Jewish power in the Middle East," Grimes states.

Right-wing extremism? Well not unless you count socialized medicine, preserving wilderness, curbing urban sprawl, and legalizing cocaine and marijuana--all of which Grimes supports--as issues the John Birch Society readily gets behind.

So what are the 21st-century Black Shirts all about?

Well, their sound-bite slogan is the benign "Vote fascist in 2004 for peace, plenty, and prosperity in the new age." There's a lot of populism in the fascist plank. The party feels that both big government and big business are screwing the little guy (you and me), and they'd unite them in a state of "corporate statism" that would work for us.

Oh, but there's more: "We would be trying to revive the empire of the pagan Romans--the old Roman republic in pre-Julius Caesar days," Grimes says. The party also takes inspiration--not to mention its sartorial stylings--from Benito Mussolini's early days, when Il Duce fashioned a "flexible political movement" that brought Italy an "economic boom."

Grimes feels that Christianity has failed to provide a "spiritual center" and would establish a "voluntary" national religion based on, you guessed it, the Greco-Roman gods: Saturn, Jupiter, Venus, and the rest. Kind of a curious choice for spiritual guidance, given what the Nose recalls from mythology class. The Mount Olympus crew engaged in more bed-hopping and back-stabbing than a month's run of Days of Our Lives. But then paradoxes abound when you plunge into the fascist platform.

While Grimes contemptuously calls the newly minted Department of Homeland Security a "new Gestapo," he advocates for "enacting rules of public conduct" that a vastly expanded police force would "rigidly enforce." And he's all for "strict censorship of the press."

Check out the United Fascist Union Web site, www.ufu.gq.nu, for tales of secret U.S. moon colonies, death rays, Nazi negotiations with "cave dwellers" from the center of the earth, and our own government's exchanges with aliens from the Orion galaxy. Boy, howdy. No wonder Grimes has been on Jerry Springer.

But then it takes all kinds to make an election, and Grimes--and his estimated 3,900 party faithful--are serious about taking the White House. (Where they would take it, and what sort of alien spacecraft would transport it, has yet to be determined; tee-hee.) Grimes, who met President George W. Bush while stumping in 2000, calls him "a very bad man."

"No, I was not impressed with him," Grimes recalls. "I shook that limp, jellyfish hand, and I thank god that Mussolini put black leather gloves on the uniform."

It's official. Slugfest 2004 is underway.

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