Joe Biden says we are in danger of losing our democracy, and I totally agree with him. For we have in one camp those, like Biden and myself, who believe strongly in democracy; and in the other camp (and there are only two camps), those who are in favor of autocracy and authoritarianism. These include all Trump Republicans, QAnon believers, white supremacists, most conspiracy theorists, anyone who still thinks Trump won the election, which of course includes Trump himself and his immediate family (with the exception of Mary Trump): a significant portion of the population.
Democracy, or the principle that all human beings are created equal and are entitled to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, is anathema to this Trump group. On the contrary, they believe white Christians are more equal than anyone else and are entitled to more rights such as the right to vote, the right to bear arms without any regulations, the blending of religion and government, providing its the Christian religion, specifically most Protestant forms of Christianity.
This group is increasingly in favor of a military coup to reinstate Trump to the presidency, as what recently occurred in Myanmar. Michael Flynn, Sidney Powell, Louis Gommert have just advocated for this. A violent insurrection such as what we saw on January 6, 2021, an insurrection that apparently most of the Republicans in Congress were implicated in since they voted against a bipartisan commission to investigate this worst attack on our democratic form of government since the Civil War.
So the lines are clearly drawn. Republicans in many red states have passed legislation that restricts voting rights, aimed at anyone they perceive will vote Democratic, most alarmingly allowing the vote to be overturned by election officials who deem the vote to be fraudulent, and, as for a presidential election, can be tossed to a (they hope) Republican dominated House of Representatives for reversal if the results are not to their liking.
That of course is a strategy of dictators, oligarchs, and authoritarians, ala Kim Jong-un, Xi Jinping, Vladimir Putin, Lukashenko, Erdogan, Assad, and whatever Ayatollah is leading Iran at the moment. Their leaders in Congress like McConnell and McCarthy keep spouting off about the Socialist Democrats, but they actually go a step further than Socialism and dabble in the muck of Fascism.
Although this anti-democracy crowd has begun to clamor for armed insurgency, most are still sticking to a political coup of sorts trying to limit voting and registration to vote. If that doesn’t work–a good possibility given the energy and efforts of frontline Democratic workers like Stacey Abrams–they may call upon white supremacy groups to actively take up arms, hoping that the military–which has its share of white nationalists–will follow suit, and, like Myanmar’s military did with its democracy, assume control of the government and reinstate their own private emperor, Donald Trump.
All of us democracy advocates need to be concerned, for this gang of millions are fanatical and determined enough to pull this off. Continue on Facebook with the cat and puppy videos and reports of how our gardens are doing, and where we went for vacations, but get back to the vigilance we exhibited before the 2020 election–an election that helped save our country and the world from the ogre Donald J. Trump.
This is not a time for complacency. Yes, the pandemic is loosening its grip and we want to get out and enjoy the summer. That’s fine. But it’s not either, or. We can enjoy ourselves and, at the same time, up our political awareness to previous levels. The anti-democracy gang will take full advantage of any complacency in the democracy crowd, much as Hitler did. Jews in Eastern Europe didn’t think he and his authoritarian hooligans would amount to much. Those few who did, left, and their offspring are now alive and well in the West. The masses who stayed died horrible deaths, leaving few ancestors to carry on.
I am not saying that concentration camps will dot the American landscape. But an America without democracy will be similar to a Brazil between 1964 and 1988. My wife lived there through those years and describes a regime under military rule, without due process, without justice for all, with McCarthyist tactics where her own father was detained and interrogated but refused to give up the names of his progressive colleagues. It was a harsh regime, without a free press or freedom of speech, with dissidents imprisoned and tortured, with informants everywhere, with only state TV and press, and with voting restrictions that guaranteed the election of those generals in power. Is that what we want in our democratic America? A Trump Republican Party not unlike today’s North Korea with pictures of “our dear leader” Trump, the Narcissist in Chief, and his subsequent family successors, plastered on billboards everywhere.
Impossible, you say. Think it through. It is quite possible, and given the polarities and insanities spreading throughout our country today, increasingly probable…unless we act and act decisively.