Well, it's been a wild ride hasn't it? It seems like there is something in the news every time we look at it that just makes one wince, or feel angry, or saddened. This is not just a matter of the fact that there is a mentally-ill man in the Oval Office, and all the damage he is inflicting on the lower and middle class of America, not to mention the environment, immigrants, people of all minorities....and, perhaps worst of all, the collective American psyche...our sense of who we are and whence we came. In the world community at large, we are now causing other nations to ask,"What the hell is going on in America?" And, unless you have been snookered by all the lies, particularly those coming out of Fox News, you know that there is a full-on assault on our democracy in progress.
Most Americans have grown-up in a society that has seemed so grounded in individual choice and personal freedom that it is inconceivable that it could ever go away.....just 'Poof!!!' and it's gone! But, we are suddenly and steadily becoming aware that it can. In a series of well understood and previously recognized steps, the freedoms and the quality of life that we have taken so for granted....are being abrogated, destroyed, eliminated.....set aside. What is coming at the hands of not just the Orange Fool, but the GOP at large, is something altogether different. The term, 'autocracy' has been used a lot recently, but there is also 'kleptocracy' (rule by thieves) and 'oligarchy', as well as 'plutocracy'. They all mean one thing: that a tiny number of uber-rich manipulators are getting the control of us that they have craved for so long. They have created the means of not just generating affluence, but of funneling the vast majority of it to the very uppermost strata of society, i.e. big energy, big finance, big pharma, higher education, big medicine, and they are using this astonishing inequality of wealth to complete the process of gaining control of our society. With the onset of our national tragedy, i.e. the Trump presidency, one would have to say that the kleptocrats are not far short of obtaining their goal of total dominance.
This bears little similarity to some kind of a 'coup d'etat'....far from it. It's more like a slow burning fire in a seam of coal beneath the ground that we're standing on. And it is slowly destroying any semblance of the democratic process by which people have a role to play in deciding how our lives are affected by both government and business. Even prisons are now making billions for these faceless rulers, and we watch all of this as it is happening with a sense of both disbelief and outrage. WE KNOW IT IS HAPPENING. And, yet, we are mostly feeling powerless to stop it.
In his small booklet, "On Tyranny", Timothy Snyder lays out how a tyranny comes into power, and how clearly this is happening right now. He also tells his readers that we have only a very limited time frame in which to resist this, and if we fail to do so, that it will be hell to pay trying to overthrow it once it is firmly ensconced in the halls of power. This is so because the processes of control will all be managed/manipulated by the plutocrats, and once they have control of the congress, the executive branch and the justice system, nothing short of a full-on national emergency and revolt will make a dent in their ability to remove or destroy any resistance.
We watched as they brought in a panoply of thugs, military and police to deal with the people who were resisting the Keystone pipeline. Nouth Dakota even passed a law that made running down a protester with your car more or less okay; Tennessee and North Carolina are doing the same thing.
https://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2017-02-13/common-sense-legislation-would-shield-drivers-who-run-over-protesters This is what tyranny does; it eliminates it's opponents by the most stern and violent means it can get away with at that time. Partially, this is to discourage further resistance, and partially it is because these are people who have no room for compassion or compromise in their methods. They want what they want, and by God you'd better not stand in their way. And, as the laws and policies are modified to suit their plans (by the legislators they have bought and paid for, of course) these means of elimination become all the more terrifying and draconian. Ultimately, tyrants rely on terror to maintain their iron grip on a society. Think 'Gestapo' here. If you want to see this in action, you have to look no further than Turkey, Syria, Iran, North Korea...oh, hell, there's a list of them.
Once a tyranny is well and truly ensconced in power, it has the means to maintain itself......as long as it has either the actual support, or at least the acquiescence, of a significant segment of the population. If it cannot use it's well-developed propaganda machine, i.e. LIE GENERATOR, to flummox the population at large into thinking this is what they both want, and need, then it will come tumbling down.....but, perhaps not before it has inflicted great pain and suffering.
I once interviewed an elderly man who had been a Luftwaffe fighter-pilot during WWII. He had been in the SA, 'Brownshirts' and had a clear sense of how it had all come to pass. His comment that stuck with me, even years later, was that, "....there were 15% who resisted in some usually subtle manner, 70% who went along to get along, and another 15% who were devout Nazis." In other words Hitler maintained his terror state with only a small minority of the people fully behind him.
The Orange Fool is still obsessing about how big his inaugural crowd-size was. Some part of him knows that he's not there with a mandate to rule America as if he was a bannana-republic dictator, but that he needs to constantly lie and manipulate so that people....at least some of them....think he's the most popular and effective president since Old Hickory. It's no coincidence that his presidential culture-hero is Andrew Jackson....a deeply commited racist and a man who didn't hesitate to inflict pain and suffering on whomever he identified as standing in his way. This is the driving force behind the so-called, "Trail of Tears".
So, here we are. It's about to become 2018, and The Idiot's agenda is gaining some traction. The congress passed a 'tax reform' bill without any of the trappings of consideration or negotiation that most such important laws would need. They just shoved it through because they had the votes to do it, and it will take some weeks and months before the American people realize that--once again--they've been had. Initial indications are that it is a big windfall for corporations and the uber rich. Jeezum, didn't see that one comin', eh.
So much for the dire state of the nation.
Now, we need to ask ourselves,"Well, what are we going to do about all this?" And, recently, I have been bumping into people who answer this question with a shrug and,"Nothing I can do will make any difference. So, why bother?"
OUCH!!!!! Feeling beset by all that is happening is very understandable, and a lot of Americans are indeed feeling helpless in the face of all of this. But, to toss one's hands up and decide to just become apathetic.....well, that is exactly the response that the robber barons would prefer you to have, i.e. NOTHING. Just sit back and let it all go down, because, hell, what can we do anyway?
WHAT WE CAN DO.....AND MUST DO IS TO RESIST! I do not care if you feel discouraged, or hopeless, or angry, or just lazy. It is not about you now; it is about America, and if you would like to feel good about being an American again, NOW is the time to get off your chair and let your feelings be known. Yes, of course, it feels impotent to stand outside an office holding a sign,"Do the right thing senator."But, staying home, avoiding looking the situation in the eye and pretending that you are helpless.....is ever so much worse. You have no right to complain if you're not willing to make an effort to let the elected representatives know that what is happening is in no way acceptable.
The Womens' March, last January is a perfect example of making a difference. My wife experienced it first hand in Boston.....175, 000 people turned out and let the world and the new president know that all of this is NOT ACCEPTABLE. What she was a part of in Boston, was simultaneously happening all around THE GLOBE, not just here in America. Millions of people turned out to make sure that The Orange Fool knew he wasn't going to have hands-off smooth sailing ahead. It changed her understanding of what people can accomplish once they make up their minds to do it.
And......we're not done yet. Vote, March, call and write your elected officials....do whatever comes to mind, just do it and do it soon.
Because the real enemy is the APATHY INSIDE YOU. If you surrender to it, you have just given away the only thing that can and will make a difference. You have let the kleptocrats and the Orange Idiot win without putting up a fight.
Please don't do that.