Our Turn

Reading time – 2:18; Viewing time – 3:02  .  .  .

I observed an incremental shift toward authoritarianism during the Bush years. The John’s – Bolton and Ashcroft – scared me as much as Cheney did. I didn’t see that kind of power shift during the Obama years, although I could have been misled by his intelligence and his reasonable manner.

Now, though, we have a Destroyer-in-Chief, who is incrementally doing sociopath Steve Bannon’s work of eliminating anything that smacks of what we used to call “the establishment.” You know, the systems that promote the general welfare and the rest. Many of the Presidential Cabinet heads are dedicated to eliminating their departments (like DeVos, Price, Perry and Pruitt) and many of the rest are headed by diabolical or drone types (like Mnuchin, Carson and Zincke). Most of what I read from progressives and centrists about the actions of these powerful people is in opposition to the things they’re doing, like allowing oil drilling in the arctic refuge, cutting support for public education and food for poor children and eliminating regulations that prevent industrial pollution. While all of that opposition is important, I’m much more interested in what happens after the infrastructure take-down.

That is to say, what does all the trashing of the established order create? What will fill the vacuum? The answer that keeps coming up is fascism, autocracy, dictatorship. Pick a word that is in direct opposition to democracy and it will do.

When I met with some activists against fascism shortly before Trump took office I agreed with them in principle, but their notions seemed a bit wing-nutty extremist to me and I wasn’t ready to sign on. Now, though, the evidence has continued to accumulate and the picture is becoming clearer that we are on the road to the end of our democracy. That has fueled the change in my thinking.

Have a look at this poster about fascism. It was created during the Bush/Cheney years and is frighteningly accurate today.

If you really want to be informed, click through to the links accompanying the poster and read more. Then let us know how you’re feeling about democracy’s chances.

We must continue to protect our fragile experiment in democracy, because the work will never be done. The Founders thought it was pretty well done in 1789 when the Constitution was ratified, but in the 1950s Joe McCarthy got away with trashing the Constitution until some courageous people found their spine and stopped him.

Today Big Money has bought our democracy and the system hasn’t produced leaders with the spine to stop it yet. Reality is telling us every day that very bad things are happening and we need people to step up. It’s our turn now.

LATE ADDITIONS
  1. Go to http://www.RefuseFascism.org/.
  2. The Washington Post ran ran a story today entitled “When democracies are under attack, it’s time to rein in executive power.” Here are a couple of quotes from the piece:

”  . .  .  democracies erode not from military intervention or revolutions, but from the expansion and abuse of power by elected leaders.”
“.  .  .  political constraints are the strongest and most consistent predictors of democratic survival.”

“”We find that limiting executive power both lowers the stakes of elections and protects vulnerable minority groups from abuses of power.”

Read the piece.

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Ed. note: There is much in America that needs fixing and we are on a path to continually fail to make things better. It is my goal to make a difference – perhaps to be a catalyst for things to get better. That is the reason for these posts. To accomplish the goal requires reaching many thousands of people and a robust dialogue.

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Copyright 2017 by Jack Altschuler
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3 Responses to Our Turn
  1. John Calia Reply

    You didn’t notice the “power shift during the Obama years?” Amazing! While I am not a fan of Trump (nor did I vote for him), draining the swamp appeals to me. His reversal of many of Obama’s executive actions is not only appropriate but legally required by our Constitution. Let’s hope for more of the same before we throw the bum out.

  2. dominickpalella Reply

    Jack, I continue to inform our fellow citizens that if they call our political system a democracy, it should have some provision for its citizens to have a voice in the decisions made by it. In our “democracy”, most voters are currently allowed to elect “representatives”, but these officeholders have no obligation to listen or respond to them after they take office. While we currently have First Amendment rights to protest, petition and complain about their self-serving decisions that often do harm to our health, safety and financial welfare, we have no right to interfere with their autonomous personal decisions. Notice that I said currently in both cases.

    You do a good job of cataloging the obvious abuses of power by our elected officials, but why do you accept the preservation of political power in their hands? How many more examples of abusive power do you need to present, yet continue to accept our subservient roles as citizens? I don’t, and show how we can vet and elect true representatives of our communities. TrueDemocracyNow.org

  3. Jay Becker Reply

    Thanks for your thoughtful observations, Jack. I’m tempted to reply about how Obama solidified authoritarian trends set in motion by Bush (e.g. not prosecuting any wrongdoers), but I think we need to keep our eyes on the prize of stopping this fascist landslide coming at us.

    One characteristic not mentioned on that otherwise spot-on list: disdain for the rule of law. This is evident in word and deed of the Trump regime: “so-called judges,” courts being blamed for some future military attack when they strike down his unconstitutional executive orders, pardoning and praising Joe Arpaio, and those cabinet secretaries deconstructing (Bannon’s word) their departments – they too are setting themselves above the laws enacted by Congress that they are supposed to execute, not undermine.

    Dissent is under attack as well, our civil rights mean nothing to this regime. The press is deemed an “enemy of the people,” and Trump calls for yanking the broadcast license of a network that exposes his wild talk about expanding the US nuclear arsenal 10 (!) fold. This is why our window of opportunity to resist and stop this fascist direction is limited. How limited, we don’t know. But it could close at any time, and then it will be infinitely harder to change course.

    I don’t think any of us really wants to see “what happens after the infrastructure takedown.” We’re getting a pretty good glimpse right now, with access to healthcare restricting, the people of Puerto Rico in truly dire circumstances, hate crimes surging, etc. I invite everyone reading this to read, sign, and share the Call for Nov 4, the start of a non-violent movement to demand that this fascist regime must go. We have not and won’t be able to defeat these assaults one by one; the effort is wearing us down, and fascism is being normalized. Please join us at http://www.RefuseFascism.org to put an end to this nightmare, while we still have a chance.