Well short answers: yes, and yes.
Should we panic? Not yet.
But you might be thinking, come on, this is the United States of America, tyranny, really?
Fascism, are you kidding me?
I understand how it may seem far fetched that I’m suggesting that an American president in 2020 would want to dismantle our democracy and turn it into a fascist regime.
But consider this:
- Citizens are confused by the political process, therefore are apathetic.
- The education system we all grew up with is a failure so the People don’t understand the importance of our role in the political process.
- Rising division between left-wing and right-wing ideologies are higher than ever, even resorting to violence.
- Because of the first three, the People have gotten used to handing over power to the government, which has always proved somewhat trustworthy.
These things lend themselves heavily toward a reshaping of our government from a democracy where the People have a voice and power, to a Fascist regime resembling those of Europe in the 1920s and 30s. One where the government, specifically the dictator, has absolute power to rule the people however they choose. They gather and control entire ethnic groups, and churn out falsehoods through propaganda machines.
This isn’t a virtue signal. This isn’t a slam-post. This is a plea to the American People to pay attention and exercise your right and your voice.
Let’s take a look at what we’re dealing with here.
What is tyranny?
Tyranny is cruel or oppressive rule on the People by their government. It is the infiltration and confiscation of the thoughts of an individual for “the common good.” It is often racist and nationalistic. Tyrants reign with an iron fist, without regard to the rules and institutions that allow for peaceful discussion between the People and their government.
Sounds pretty bad, doesn’t it?
This may sound like I’ve been reading too many left-wing newspapers, or listening to too many leftist conspiracy theorists, but hear me out. But I wasn’t a strong believer that Trump was anything more than a power-hungry asshole who finagled his way into office. While he’s there, went my thinking, he’s just going to act like a child for a while, then we’ll vote him out. But my opinion has changed within the last week. Much like all tyrants and dictators, he’s an opportunist.
Trump has taken full advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic. He has deployed the military on citizens, and has gained full power of the economy. He is now talking about delaying the election in November. And when a politician decides to tamper with the election process, we’re in trouble.
The fight against tyranny that the founding fathers talked about was not against foreign powers trying to come in and take over. The talked about fighting against Americans who would use the nation’s freedoms to gain power and reign tyranny.
How is Trump a Tyrant?
Jason Stanley says there are three things that constitute Trump’s particular type of tyranny: fascism.
And I know. That word carries a lot of baggage. People on both sides throw it out like candy on Halloween, but I assure you, this is the correct use of the word and Trump is the perfect example of how it can be done in the 21st century.
Fascism is the political philosophy that exalts nation and race above the individual and stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition.
So what are the three things that constitute fascism?
- MYTHIC PAST
In a fascist regime, politicians conjure the notion that there used to be time when the nation was better. There’s a utopian view on the nation’s past that politicians claim was ruined by liberals, feminists, and immigrants. Examples:
- Bonito Mussolini idolized the Roman Empire
- Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan tries to model the country after the Ottoman Empire
- Viktor Orban was the first to claim he wanted to “Make Hungary great again”
- Donald Trump idolizes the world in which he was raised, a segregated America controlled by “real men.”
- SOW DIVISION
Fascists’ goal is to set the country against someone. A scapegoat if you will. Blame all of the countries issues on one group. Examples:
- Hitler blamed the Jews
- Stalin did the same
- Muslims in Myanmar are “rapists”
- Trump blames liberals, Mexicans, media, and science
- Germans vs. Jews, Hindus vs. Muslims, Citizens vs. Immigrants, Right vs. Left — when you divide, it’s easier to control.
- ATTACK THE TRUTH
Truth is the first casualty of a fascist regime. There is no use for the inconvenient truth in an authoritarian government, only useful lies.
- Hitler attacked the truth of science and of the economy and pretty much everything he could in order to spin it in his favor.
- When Trump became a republican president, he was immediately in control of the one of the nations largest propaganda machines, Fox. Which plays his praises 24 hours a day. It seems like something out of a movie.
Should we be afraid?
We should always be afraid of tyranny. We should be afraid of how easily it has slipped under our noses. We should be afraid of Americans who use the nation’s freedoms to gain power and strive to keep it. We should be afraid that half the country is in support of the president.
But when are we in real danger?
On the first Tuesday after the first Monday of November, if Donald Trump is elected to a second term as president, if there even is an election.
Keep in mind, everything Adolf Hitler did in Nazi Germany was legal. He was voted into office by a legal election, and the country voted for him to legally obtain absolute power, allowing him to pass laws without the consent of the Reichstag (equivalent to Congress).
So it is not merely not outside the realm of possibility that Trump could delay or subvert the November election, it is an actual concern. And that’s when we are in danger.
1932 was Germany’s last election, but they didn’t know it at the time.
1990 was Russia’s last election.
Was 2018 our last election?
As the American people, it is our duty to keep our government in check. Irish lawyer John Philpot Curran said in 1790 that “the condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance.” In other words, the price we get to pay for freedom is persistent vigilance against tyranny.
And what the political climate of today has allowed is for everything to become a partisan issue. Either you support the right and hate the left, or vice versa. Personally, I hate both the left and the right. They’re both disgusting.
But this is not a partisan issue, this is not about left or right. This is about democracy. This is about protecting the nation.
The question that keeps running through my head is this: should I stay or should I go? I wonder whether it would be wise of me to leave the country while it’s safe, or stay and fight for the People I love.
In all honesty, I would much rather leave. I’d rather go to New Zealand, work on a horse farm in the mountains, hunt, fish, and camp, and put all of this nonsense out of my mind. But I don’t think I could bring myself to run away and watch my country fall apart from afar.
I believe in this country. I do not love this government, but I do love this country.
I believe in the colors of this country. The red, the white, the blue, the Black, the brown, and the white. But especially the green (trees).
I believe in the languages of this country. I love the rhythms of Spanish. I love the melody of French. I love the song of and urban accent. I love the leisure of a southern accent. I love the intensity of a north east accent. I love the coolness of a south west accent.
I believe in the history of this country. The people who came from all over the world to make their place in the land of opportunity. The people who were brought here against their will, oppressed for centuries, set free with no possessions, but didn’t accept defeat, and kept fighting for their right to be American.
These things are American. They are what make America great. They are what make the democracy worth fighting for. The government isn’t worth fighting for, the People are. The government isn’t America, the People are.
The People are the America worth fighting for.
So what will you do?
It’s not a decision that needs to be made right now, but it’s something to think about. It’s a decision you should be prepared to make if and when the time comes.