Thursday, February 8, 2018

Diktator Trump

I have come to a conclusion:

Well-meaning as they may be, the good folks at MSNBC, the NY Times, etc (Rachel Maddow, Lawrence O’Donnell, Don Lemon, etc) and their guest pundits don’t get it: they keep wondering when the Republicans (e.g. Paul Ryan) will finally develop a conscience and divorce Trump. They still think that firing Mueller is a “red line,” that this would result in a constitutional crisis, etc.

Most Americans, no matter how well-meaning they may be,  have difficulty being sufficiently pessimistic, regardless of how bleak a situation is. This is an admirable quality, of course. However, sometimes, Americans' positive thinking needs to be tempered by some old-fashioned (European?) doom.

Today, many Americans still have difficulty realizing that the country is moving towards dictatorship. They do not understand the genesis and history of dictatorships, because they have been fortunate not to ever have EXPERIENCED dictatorship.  My own  perspective is darker.   Whether this is because I am a European or due to my personal disposition doesn't matter.

Trump can fire Mueller (and/or Rosenstein, or anyone else), and this won’t change anything. The current president will continue to rule. Why do the Republicans continue to kneel, to obey, to collaborate, to prostrate themselves?

Because that is what people in such situations do. Trump has the power; he is holding the gun. People obey those who have power over them. They always have and they always will.

What the Republicans do is the NORMAL and UNDERSTANDABLE thing. Resisting Trump would be the weird and abnormal thing.

Go back in history: look at the reigns of all despots, good ones and bad ones: - Henry VIII, Queen Elizabeth, Louis XIV, Napoleon, Caesar, Augustus, Hitler, Stalin...They held the power and people obeyed them. People went along, because they understood that if they didn’t, it was off with their head (sometimes figuratively, often literally).

We have elected a would-be dictator.

Trump is convinced that America is a corporation which he has come to own. He is the CEO. It is his God-given and natural right to hire and fire whomever he pleases. The most important criterion to do so is loyalty to him and to his company - America Inc. Thus, he asks Comey to declare his loyalty to him, he asks McCabe who he voted for, he asks Rosenstein “are you on my team?”

The Republicans have repeated an error often made in history: In 1932, German Chancellor Von Papen persuaded President Von Hindenburg to appoint Hitler as the next Chancellor, believing that the ugly little mustached  rabble-rouser would easily be controlled. Two thousand years earlier, Roman senators including Cicero facilitated the ascent of Octavian, similarly convinced that they would be able to control the young upstart. Such cases are examples of the creation of Frankenstein-like creatures which then turn against their masters.

Over the past year, the pundits have carried a relentless campaign of harassment against Trump. Comedians have entertained us night after night with a barrage of ridicule aimed at the would-be  Fuhrer. There have been million-women marches. Polls suggest that this President’s popularity is at a record low.

All to no avail ( so far). Trump is as securely ensconced in his position as ever. All branches of the government are controlled by Republicans at the national level, and in a majority of jurisdictions. No amount of liberal punditry and ridicule by late-night comedians will save us from the emerging dictatorship. Trump is not budging. He is gaining in strength. As a result of counterattacks, Russiagate is not gaining traction. The FBI is investigating Russiagate? Trump’s Republican base in Congress turns this on its head by launching an investigation of the investigator (the FBI). And half of the gullible public buys it.

So what is on the horizon?

Well, obviously nothing matters more than the upcoming fall election. However, let’s not delude ourselves: As a result of decades of gerrymandering, voter suppression and other Republican dirty tricks, Democrats will have to garner MILLIONS more votes than Republicans to even have a chance at retaking the legislative, the judiciary and eventually the executive branches of the government. Trump lost to Hillary by 3 million votes and yet he managed to steal the election!

I suppose we still have a free press, and most people who march and protest aren’t thrown in jail.  But dissent is punished and oppression manifests itself in more subtle but equally effective ways, such as blacklisting. Ask Colin Kaepernick. His treatment by the NFL is reminiscent of that of Dalton Trumbo and other Hollywood lefties during the 1950s Red Scare.

Make no mistake about it: Left-liberalism  is  under attack, and not just by an extremist fringe. Trump’s election is  the culmination of a trend that has been under way for a long time. Trump and the Republican agenda may not have the enthusiastic  support of a numerical majority. However, this is no reason for comfort, because there is one thing which a majority of the people can ALWAYS be expected to do, and that is to GO WHICHEVER WAY THE WIND BLOWS.

And the wind is blowing in the wrong direction: Flag waving is in, as is the adulation of the military. The Caudillo-in-chief  wants to introduce Soviet and North-Korean-style  military parades.  The label  “socialist” used to be a cuss word, but now even being a “liberal” is viewed by many as an insult. Patriotism is equated with nationalism and chauvinism. Right-wing values are in ascendancy. American democracy has much to  worry about.
© Tom Kando 2018;All Rights Reserved

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