History re tweets itself

On inauguration day, this country will in effect be run by a white supremacist clique. That is an undeniable fact. The specifics of actual damage is yet to be seen, but the possibility that there will be none, is close to zero.

I am still undecided on how I am going to act on and after that fateful day. In the past, under other Republican administrations I thought of myself as “the loyal opposition” even when our government was doing reprehensible things. While Nixon undermined democracy, Reagan ran illegal wars, G. W. Bush lied us into a war and then used torture as if it was a legitimate tool... through all of that I stood as an American, with belief that all would out and sooner or later justice be done.

This time is different. We are faced with an unprecedented threat to the America I have spent my life fighting for. The lack of scruples displayed by a man that either does not know the difference between a fact and a lie, or does know but believes (rightfully) that his followers don’t or at least don’t care, puts us in a place unseen before.

In our past there were Presidents that owned slaves... after the Civil War there were Presidents who were members of the Klu Klux Klan... there have been Presidents more recently that held racist, homophobic, misogynist and xenophobic beliefs... but after Obama I thought that was all in the past. That we had turned a corner... that we as a nation had finally forced the dark “original sins” of the country’s founding into retreat and had embraced Lincoln’s “better angels of our nature”. That the promise held in the Declaration that “all men are created equal” would go from being rhetoric to reality... that the words of the pledge “liberty and justice for all” would no longer include unspoken exceptions.

And then I woke up the day after the election to find the world turned upside down and one of the most unquailed and repugnant human beings to ever run for office to be in the position of presumed President elect. I had never lost faith in our system to this degree before. Surely it was the Russians hacking... The collusion of the FBI... The local Republicans had fixed their States... The gerrymandering had paid off... The Electoral College had failed us once again... While all of this did in fact happen, the truth had to be faced; there were simply too many backward thinking, misogynistic, xenophobic, racist people voting... and far too many of the sane not showing up at the polls.

Be THIS guy August Landmesser Almanya 1936

Regardless of the ‘how’ we got here and the autopsy that makes so many want to blame what ‘we’ did wrong, who we should have run, should have voted for... we seem to be stuck with the result. And the question that keeps recurring to me is; what would I have done as a “good German” in 1933... because my understanding of history makes it impossible for me to not see the parallels. I understand that Godwin's law will be immediately thrown at me and a year ago, I would have been the first to claim that this is an exaggeration, hyperbole and even making light of what the Nazis did. The problem with all of that is this hypothetical “good German” was not aware of the horror to come in 1933. Most knew little about Hitler other that what they heard at the rallies or read in the paper. Some had actually read Mein Kampf and understood that there was pure evil afoot. But who could have guessed at the death camps... the gas chambers... the worldwide inferno...

I look at Trumps rhetoric and can easily substitute Muslim for Jew, Hispanic for Roma... I see the racists he is pushing for his cabinet... the war mongers... the creationists and dominionists... and I cannot help compare them to Goering, Himmler, Goebbels, Speer and the rest of that hellish entourage...

If that comparison is even close... if we can imagine a President that will dismantle 60 years of progress and possibly destroy our Republic, are we still duty bound to be the LOYAL opposition? Do we write letters... Petition and demonstrate... All of that did no good as the Weimar Republic was crumbling and being replaced with absolutism. Are we just one Reichstag fire away from the end of the great American experiment? And if we are correct or at least presuming based on facts to date, correctly... what then? At what point is it the President who is not loyal to the Constitution and our duty to disavow? Is #NotMyPresident worthless or the sign toward... something?

I fear bloody revolution... I have studied the past long enough to understand that even those that start with good intentions usually become a morass of horror and often result in a regime worse than the one overthrown and in many cases, the cycle begins again. So this is obviously something that sane people only consider in the most desperate circumstances. Can a revolution be accomplished without the streets becoming battlefields? Few cases exist as precedent, but maybe worth studying...

Regrettably I have no firm conclusions at the moment. What I do know is that we are on a precipice that if we somehow manage to escape, we need to make some major changes as to ensure we are never this close to the edge again.

This list is based on one that Millie McCoo a good friend and retired life-long Foreign Service Officer put together and I simply elaborated on;

  • Get rid of the Electoral College. This vestige of that horrible compromise made with slavers, has cost this country enough. Before it created the current crisis, it gave us G.W. Bush. ‘nuff said.
  • Eliminate gerrymandering. There are several plans out there and we need to start a national dialogue, because this is the single most effective way to cheat democracy.
  • Nationalize voter registration and elections rules. This should never have been an issue decided at the state level. We need universal suffrage. Automated at voting age across the country.
  • Restore the Voting Rights Act and make it permanent. The minute it was abridged, the worst offenders went straight back to their old tricks.
  • Repeal “Citizens United”. Corporate money has made our elections a contest of who can be bought best. This must end.
  • End corporate lobbying and make it illegal to use the “revolving door”. There must be a clear line that separates politicians from those who buy them.
  • Make congressional salaries and benefits subject to voter approval. The constant raises for themselves as they simultaneously deny the most vulnerable among us is a shame.
  • No congressperson should enjoy benefits not available to the general American public. Top of this list is healthcare. Medicare for all.
  • All candidates for Federal or state office must be required to pass a basic civics test equal to the knowledge expected of high school graduates, or greater than the test that is required for people seeking US citizenship. We must be confident that our elected officials are at least familiar with how the government is supposed to work.

This list is not going to be easy to achieve and less so after the coming inauguration, but if we do not fight for it, sooner or later democracy will be dead. I can only hope it is not already too late...

The Crisis in Democracy

Jose Rosa

Jose Rosa

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