There is a point–my red line–where, if crossed by certain elements in this country, I plan to leave the country. I’m really in no physical or medical shape to pack up and leave, but I will not continue to live under a fascist leadership and rubber stamp government. Some of my relatives in Eastern Europe minimized what Hitler was doing in the late 30s, saying he was a flash in the pan, saying he wouldn’t amount to anything, and by the time they were proven wrong, it was too late. They were all eventually murdered by the Third Reich. Trump, his GOP enablers, his henchmen and women who issue death threats to officials who oppose Trump or even who merely vote in favor of Democratic-endorsed bills are an American version of Hitler and his toxic gang.
I have friends who believe that will never happen here, that there are enough checks and balances to prevent Trump from carrying out the dissolution of democracy and the installation of an autocracy in America. I say to them but he already was doing that when he was president, and if he had been reelected, we would now be deeply enmeshed in the quicksand of authoritarianism. Those friends couldn’t imagine that happening in this land of the free and home of the brave, just as my relatives in Eastern Europe in the late 30s couldn’t imagine a madman like Hitler entering their countries and taking away their liberties and lives.
Only a handful of Jews back then had the foresight and courage to follow through on their prognostications. They left their native lands, resettled in safer areas, continued their lives and careers and raised families for generations to come. Some six million stayed and faced the onslaught of Nazi torture and extermination.
Could that be repeated here? I don’t know, but if I examine the happenings of the last five years, I predict that yes, something along those lines could happen here. There are just too many death threats, too many extreme right wing politicians backing Trump to avoid death threats, too many white supremacists ready to take up arms as they did on 1/6, too many radical TV personalities ranting and raving against vaccines and masking guidelines, comparing Dr. Fauci to Nazi doctors of horror, cozying up to authoritarians around the world who have yanked democracy away from their countries under the guise of nationalism and migrants.
There is too much GOP-initiated voter suppression laws enacted by Red state legislatures that have acted as fascist states would act, making sure elections would go their way regardless of the actual count, and that election districts would be rigged in their favor, insuring their victories at local and national levels.
There are too many Trump appointed judges on all levels of the judiciary who think like Trump and will support his distorted agenda.
There is a strong movement toward misogyny, rescinding a woman’s right to choose how to manage her body and mind. Ending abortion rights has little to do with the rights of the fetus and much more to do with controlling women. Republicans have demonstrated time and again they care little about caring for human beings and much more with retaining personal power. Ending abortion rights is mostly red meat that will make it more likely that their base will be inspired to come out and vote for them. The one-issue hot button voter is bread and butter for the GOP.
Systemic racism is rampant in America, and has been since 1619. We’ve made some progress, but it’s been all too slow for Blacks and Native Americans and not enough. The mission statements inherent in our Declaration of Independence and Constitution, first written in 1776, have yet to be fulfilled. There’s no excuse for this. It is reprehensible, unconscionable, and irresponsible. People, still living under the umbrella of those documents continue to suffer for lack of the equal protections those documents promise. If I were grading the country it would unquestionably be an F.
Continued poverty. Continued homelessness. Continued gun violence. Continued hate crimes. Continued discrimination. Continued intimidation of political opponents via death threats. Continued denial and hypocrisy. Continued corruption, deception, and outright lies to continue a cult mentality that has people donating their hard earned money to a cult leader that spouts a fascist message.
So if that cult leader is elected again in 2024 that is my red line that will prompt my leaving this country of my birth. For, as I’ve written about before, I am more a citizen of Earth than of any one country. I will fight to change the country I live in, as I have done through this blog, until that red line is crossed. I am too old and infirm to mount a soapbox and march with the masses. I’ve been there in the 60s and did my bit then. Now, it’s the pen I take up, and though my audience is minimal and mostly apathetic, I think history will absolve and thank me for railing against the likes of Donald Trump and his henchmen and women.
I will be watching the election of 2022 very closely, for that will be the harbinger of 2024. I will be watching the present Senate and see if they can find a way to pass the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act that will apply a federal remedy to the snake-bite voter suppression bills of 19 state legislatures. That will tell a great deal about the willingness of the Democrats to counter the GOP attack on our democratic government. The results of the House Commission on 1/6 and what the Merrick Garland-led DOJ does with those results will also tell me of the resolve of the government to stop Donald Trump and his cronies in their tracks.
I would prefer to stay in this country. I have family here. I have friends here. I get good health care here to keep my cancer and heart disease at bay. I like it here, especially the Pacific Northwest. But as a man of Jewish background, my DNA and cells have vivid memories of the fascist horrors inflicted on my people before and during WWII.
And, for me, as my people still say, Never Again.
My latest venture is an imprint called Sacajawea Press, honoring the Native American woman who, with her small child strapped to her back, guided Lewis and Clark and their Corps of Discovery through the Louisiana Purchase to the Pacific Northwest, where I live today. I’ve been busy during the pandemic and its lockdown, having written and published three books, via my new press, which may be of interest to you for yourself or as gifts. They are The Valley Spirit: Living a Tao-inspired Life; Into the Woods…and Beyond; and Golf 360: For Current Players and Those Considering the Game. Please check them out at Amazon or see reviews at my website at www.stephenaltschuler.com.