Monday, November 19, 2018

The dark specter of an authoritarian government hangs over the Nov. 6 midterm election

It’s a battle over whether this country will continue to have a democratic form of government or one under the control of authoritarian rule.

Image Credit: Kena Betancur/Getty Images

The November midterm election is not just a battle over which of two political parties will control Congress; it’s a battle over whether this country will continue to have a democratic form of government or one under the control of authoritarian rule.

We know what a democratic form of government is; one in which the power is vested in the people, i.e., a government of by, and for the people; where the people rule either directly or through freely elected representatives. In America, it is the latter.

There are those who will hear that statement and say that this democracy is now dead, it no longer exists. They are angered and frustrated by the undemocratic actions taken by our governments in recent times  Well, our democracy is not dead but it is on life support. And because it is, the door to an authoritarian government is now wide open.

Most Americans do not have a good grasp of what authoritarianism is so let’s go over the characteristics of this system of governance.

There is strict obedience by the people to the dictates of those in control, a stifling of their personal freedoms. Authoritarianism is any political system that concentrates power in the hands of a leader or a small elite group that help to maintain control. It’s a system that completely rejects the notion that it has responsibilities to the American people. It is responsible only to itself.

These types of controlling governments are of many types. However, all will exercise strict control over the freedoms of the people and will use a variety of methods to hold onto power.

They totally control every aspect of life in the nation. Tight restrictions are placed on freedom of assembly; the Constitution and the rule of law become irrelevant. Any opposition to the regime is harshly punished.

Now, with a better understanding of that kind of repressive, suppressive form of government, let’s see if there are signs that would indicate that America is headed in that direction.

Trump and Republicans in Congress have an obsession with control, over this government, this country, and society. This obsession is evidenced by their determination to eliminate and/or water down America’s most important social programs.

They were almost rabid in their numerous attempts to repeal Obamacare and they still have that as a main objective. The lion’s share of their giant trillion dollar plus tax cut was given to the top 1%, those who have helped to establish a large control over what goes on in this country.

This march toward authoritarianism has been going on for some time. While Trump has not initiated this process it can accurately be said that he has taken it to new heights. Look at his never-ending battle with the free press, how he refers to “fake news” and how he calls the media the “the enemy of the people.”

Recently we heard Trump say he is going to use an executive order to countermand the 14th Amendment of the Constitution and no longer allow children born in this country to become citizens if their parents are not citizens.

While he has no authority to do that under current law and the Constitution, under an authoritarian form of government he could do this because no one would be able to question his authority, and it wouldn’t matter what the Constitution said.

All we need to do is to continue watching Trump and listen to his words and we will see the modern day version of Benito Mussolini in action. If I ever saw a control freak in a position of high authority in America he is just that.

Upon assuming the presidency Trump wasted no time before he began the process of dismantling key government agencies. The State Dept. is a shadow of what it once was. The cabinet heads of various important agencies such as the EPA and others either eliminated or watered down critically important rules and regulations involving the environment and the banking industry.

Authoritarian governments have nothing to do with democratic principles; they are a controlling force that makes the rules and enforces them. When they take over the free press is no longer free. Its members fall under the control of the government and become no more than its mouthpiece.

That has happened many times down through history, most recently in Nazi Germany under Hitler and in Italy under Mussolini.

The following was taken from justsecurity.org: “But it is the president who has made undermining the rule of law an art form. He has stated to reporters that he believes the attorney general’s role is to protect the president from criminal exposure.”

“He has implied to the FBI director that he can order him to investigate specific allegations to prove they are lies and claimed that he can use the Department of Justice to pursue politically inconvenient leakers, even if there is no evidence that they have broken any laws.”

“He has assailed the media to law enforcement officials And he has publicly engaged in legal doublespeak, claiming that hush money his attorney paid to alleged mistresses couldn’t be illegal because the payments didn’t come from the campaign, when the fact that they didn’t come from the campaign is the key issue that would make the payments illegal.”

Here are some other things that Trump or a subsequent controlling type of president could do after becoming the Authoritarian in Chief:

Obamacare will be repealed. Medicare, Medicaid, and the VA system will be privatized. There will no longer be such a thing as pre-existing conditions. A very large portion of Americans will have no kind of medical coverage.

The 1st Amendment will no longer exist. The American people won’t have a say in anything.

Women’s right, minority rights, and voting rights will become a thing of the past. Abortions of any kind will be criminalized.

The U.S. government will closely resemble the governments of Russia and China and authoritarian regimes of the past.

The people of America better wake up to the fact that if the Republican Party retains control of both the House and the Senate in the upcoming elections they will continue taking this country down that wrong road. And once this controlling force gets firmly established it is not going to ever let anything or anyone to stand in its way.

So this election is not just about whether or not Democrats can retake control of the House or the Senate; it’s far more than that. It will determine if the American people will let what’s left of this democracy be transformed into authoritarian rule.

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