Battle Royal for Democracy

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Who knew that in our own lifetime we would see the unraveling of democracy in real time. I’m beginning with a claim that some may disagree with, as is their right. The signs began during the Reagan years when neo-liberalism started to hand over the power to corporations and false military adventurism, catastrophically enlarged during the Bush administration. As income has stagnated for the 90%, income inequality has been weaponized by the right. We’ve seen politics turn itself into identity groups defined by intransigent positions on moral as well as economic issues. But the most egregious result of this fragmentation is the cavalier destruction of perfectly verifiable reality, the truth, or even a common level of respect for bipartisan opinion and point of view. They’re not all the same but without respect for both there isn’t much ground to walk on.

There’s no bipartisan communication, hardly any at all. Where’s the loud wall of opposition vocally from Democrats to present common cause against Constitutional abuses? When all vestiges of congressional procedures and oversight are jettisoned for partisan reasons, natural checks and balances cease to function. As the views and opinions become more and more intransigent, more based on partisan politics, the incipient autocrat is empowered to take advantage of the situation and begin spewing the vitriol and heretofore unimaginable hatred and disdain that plays into his base’s xenophobia. Woe for anyone who doesn’t genuflect to his abuse, bow to his narcissistic delusions.

False gods demanding false tributes, not for unity of purpose but for the emperor himself. With bluster and demagoguery we watch a completely out of control Trump lash into the Justice Department and go to any extent to squash the investigation and smear the JD. This is what fascists do. They clean out all the people and institutions in their way while diddling their base with rosy promises and a thunderous dose of blasphemy. That’s acceptable now. The president is clearly ready and willing to shred the Constitution and pursue any issue that allows him full throttle against his enemies, down to the final inning, as far as he can go to maintain the statue that is Trump, prominently placed in the center of the square. This is a crisis. Trump cleverly manipulated false narratives to distract from reality. But make no mistake. This is all only about the preservation of Trump. Rule of law is oh, so inconvenient. Three branches of government? Don’t they all work directly for him?

This is absolute chaos. Every American should get out in the streets and make sure this November that we elect candidates who respect the rule of law and are beholden only to us, not big corporations, not the special interests, certainly not dictators. We’re into the second year of this presidency and our representatives have to take a united stand, unequivocally, to stop this avalanche of constant lying and public deception. Fascism plays on ignorance, cruelty. He insinuates, plays on self-pity, touts vindictive accusations, and completely twists the truth. He knows people want to be told what to believe. The subconscious is his tool, the seat of emotions and limited logic, easily manipulated. No matter what evidence is presented, he will turn it into a circus and tell you water is wine, and his base believes him. Even if they don’t actually believe him, they buy into his style. It’s a Barnum and Bailey World. Authoritarianism may just be more effective. The regular politicians have forsaken us.

But we know all that, right?

I keep imagining that the world is moving in the larger sense toward unification, more equality. I see the people I know dealing with their day to day lives surrounded by this cacophony of dysfunction, not only here but Europe where uncertainty now affects peoples’ election of authoritarian rulers. It’s no longer just the elephant in the room. The European Union is under siege and the entire fabric of previous diplomatic and economic norms barely exist, if at all in places. Of course some vestiges of the old order remain. But autocracy is now gaining more ground than democracy. Congress is paralyzed by representatives in lock step to their donors and afraid of Trump. Unilateral actions now suit the party in power. The war between Mueller and Trump Inc. has become the most dramatic contest for the preservation of U.S. democracy in anyone’s lifetime. You can believe that Mueller is simply out to get Trump for political reasons or see that judicial independence is democracy’s lifeline. What on earth was Rosenstein thinking, trying to mollify the Trump administration?

But now we find Trump pulling out all the stops to discredit the investigation in a war that is actively undermining the Justice Department’s independence. The strategy of breaking down the institutions we depend on simply so that Trump can claim a victory of sorts illustrates just how demented and depraved the man is. Justice is a threat to the tyrant. It’s exposure, defeat, humiliation. They need to silence or neuter Justice, such an inconvenience. And all those cowards in Congress whose silence threatens daily the rule of law. That we have devolved to this. The midterms in November must turn the tide. It’s turning now with this week’s primary victories. Everyone needs to start digging if we’re going to get to the light at the end of this very dark tunnel.