Post #64: Can it Happen Here?

News item: In an interview with Time magazine, Jared Kushner said that he couldn't commit to keeping the elections going in November. 

He was an ambitious Senator named Berzelius "Buzz" Windrip. Promising every citizen $5,000 a year and a return to a strong economy and "traditional values" he ran for President and won.

From there, everything changed. He drastically cut down the powers of Congress and set up kangaroo courts to enforce the laws he created. He built a paramilitary unit he called "The Minute Men" to stifle dissent. He eliminated minority rights and sent his political opponents and dissenters to concentration camps. He eliminated individual state governments, carving administrative "corpos" he could control more easily.

It can't happen here.

Right?

Sinclair Lewis would disagree. That was the title of his 1936 book, which essentially predicted the rise of Donald Trump 90 years ago.

Think about it.

* Yesterday, with the help of his kangaroo Supreme Court (and courts, when you count the hundreds of judges his chief congressional toady, Mitch McConnell, has jammed through the system into federal courts across the country), he sought to emasculate the powers of Congress to investigate him. He has devoted much of his presidency to eliminating minority rights and voting rights of any group that might oppose him. 

* He wants to send his opponents to jail, namely Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden.
* He has imprisoned immigrants, both documented and not and put their children in cages.
* He has actively supported the curtailing of voting rights of his political enemies, through gerrymandering and voter IDs. 

* He ran for office promising a better economy and a return to traditional patriotic values. 
*We see evidence of his paramilitary forces in ICE and in those who bring their weapons into state capitols across the country and threaten the lives of politicians who oppose them. Across the country, thugs acting in his name, attack minorities and threaten law enforcement officials into giving them a voice to express their racism, homophobia and antiSemitism. 

As Lewis was suggesting, it can happen here. It nearly happened with Huey Long and with the businessman's coup of 1935, and it nearly happened again with the rise of Joseph L. McCarthy in the early 1950s when Congress and the President let him run roughshod over the  Constitution, and the FBI set up concentration camps and made lists of leftists to incarcerate in them in case of a national emergency.

In "It Can't Happen Here," Windrip was opposed by an heroic journalist named Doremus Jessup. Today, a free press that especially on the local level has been crippled by the greed of those who own  newspapers and are more interested in advertising than they are in delivering journalism. In fact, in the wake of Watergate, many bought up newspapers and TV stations to prevent another situation where a conservative president can be forced from office by the press. Now, many cities have one paper whose owners are in lockstep with corporate interests and the Trump administration. Oppose them and you're out, a lesson I learned when I helped organize a union at my first newspaper so that reporters who were then making $180 a week for 50 hour weeks could earn a living wage. For my trouble, I found myself blacklisted by daily newspapers across the country. As one editor from a Newhouse paper said to me after learning of my background, "We don't have a union here, and we don't want one."

With the help of McConnell and other reactionary powers in Congress the rule of law is being directly threatened, investigations of the President are being curtailed and he is using mass media and another toady, Attorney General Bill Barr to destroy his opposition and create a mythological record of his accomplishments. Every action on every day shows how one determined president can destroy civil liberties with the help of a frightened Congress and a court system that in effect reports to him. Political opponents are not only threatened with jail but opposition voting blocs are gerrymandered to preserve his power, and at the same time states are throwing thousands of Democratic voters off the voting rolls and making it sometimes impossible for those who can vote to do so.

Our Senate refuses to investigate or pursue any punishment when his high crimes and misdeameanors are laid out openly by the press and the few in Congress willing to investigate him. As for the press, a day doesn't go by when he doesn't try to delegitimize its credibility.

Now, they're talking about canceling the election as potentially hundreds of thousands of people —  many of whom members of the opposition Party — are killed by a virus that he refused to contain and now refuses to destroy. In fact, he is doing what he can to encourage its spread because he knows who are its main targets. The politicians who oppose him, such as Gretchen Whitmer are threatened with death by armed militias, acting in his name.


In other words, "It Can Happen Here."

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