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The Unfounding Father: Donald Trump and the End of American Democracy

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2020/02/27/unfounding-father-donald-trump-and-end-american-democracy

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I wish pundits and commenters both would do more than just state the case. Maybe those on the right still need to be convinced but among progressives, making the case that democracy is being strangled is just more preaching to the converted. The time has come not to convince people that something should be done but to say just how it will be done. What do we do? Not just telling us over and over that something should be done but how about telling us exactly what it is that we need to do! Time is getting late and hopefully not too late.

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A lot of good and true points in this article. Now here’s the truly sad part, if we’re honest with ourselves, almost every one of them is caused by the lack of an opposition party. When Raygun came into power, the dem party started their rightward shift that hasn’t stopped, even today. This shift has been so pronounced, most today conclude we have one party, with two arms. We will never see the 30 year swing back to liberal idealism until the dem party decides that democracy is more important than Wall Street money. We have one candidate in this election cycle who’s trying to drag them back to the left, if he’s unsuccessful, with all of the roadblocks put into place, I fear the only action left is violent revolution. If it comes to that (and I hope it doesn’t), it means most of us here won’t live long enough to see the change. Sad indeed.

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well knowing what the DNC is doing I wouldnt blame the end of american democracy on Trump alone. They are all anti democratic assholes - GOP, DNC, Trump, Clinton, Pelosi, Tcker Carlson, Chris Matthews - they are all the same.

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Democracy won’t end with the sound of a whimper … only because it looks like Democracy may end with the sound of a cash register!

Three Billionaires - Trump, Bloomberg and Steyer - in one election? That tells you where things are headed. Bernie better win for democracy’s sake not just ours.

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“Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., described American history as moving in 30-year cycles, alternating between liberal and conservative eras that, over the long haul, kept the WeConstitution and the country in balance.”

We will begin swinging back to more traditional democracy again now. It’s just a bit late this time, that’s all.

Agree, and as I pointed out in other posts, I think this is our last chance without a bloody civil war nobody should want.

What f’king war? What a crock. You know man, Americans watch too many movies. We all think in terms of a big finale at the end of the show. What about nothing happens? What about no civil war. No WWII type mobilization against climate change? What about how the corrupt Republicans (with the help of the Dem establishment) get away with their slow imposition of a semi-fascist unitary executive state? What about all that and nothing happens?

Look around you. The only thing happening like it should is the youth movement to combat climate change. But does it affect an asshole like Trump? No. We need to get serious and stop blathering about what will happen someday because it is far more likely that nothing will happen. It is a boring movie with no good action scenes. It is just everyday life and people need to think in terms of little successes in their daily lives and not some near mythic big finale! Convince one neighbor that climate change is real everyday and you are doing f’king great. Is that happening? Talking to the converted doesn’t count because we all know the same things already. We all know already. It is those who don’t realize that Trump is conning them that need convincing. The ones who say warming is a hoax who need convincing.

A big finale is not convincing. Leave that kind of thinking to the movies.

Where the hell do you live, a greeting card? You might be fine living under an authoritarian government, I’m not. History tells us many of the Germans in 1930’s felt just like you.

Okay. Well you start getting your bug out bag together and start investing in a hunter’s shack in the woods. I wish you luck but if you are telling me that Americans are going to rise up and overthrow their chains of oppression then I am going to turn the channel and see what else is on. I don’t believe it. Trump has done plenty already. We either rely on our institutions and push for them to work or we all sink together. You seem to think that there will be armed conflict? You did say civil war right? I don’t see two sides. I see one violent prone side and a lot of other people. I don’t see two armed sides opposing each other. I could be wrong of course but tell me, hasn’t Trump done enough already? Back in the 60s had Nixon tried any of this sh*t then things would have gotten crazy.

This is not the 60s.

Actually they didn’t feel like us. They were living in Weimar Germany and deep in the Great Depression. They were in dire straits (let’s just say it was worse than not having premium channels on your cable)! Many were desperate and looking for some kind of succor from somebody. Hitler used a combination of promises and brutality. If you agreed with him then fine but if you were critical of what he was doing then the paramilitary groups beat the crap out of you on the streets. After a time nobody continued to criticize him. After a time trade unionists and critics started getting arrested and disappearing. Soon it was safer and far easier to go along and get along (or else). They weren’t like me and I don’t pretend to have the kind of life they had nor how or what I would have done if I had. Did they see it coming? Who can say. Some must have. Many people tried to leave early on. Most avoided facing the troubles that they would incur if they objected. Therein lies the rub. When does it get bad enough to object? When has it gotten bad enough already that you can no longer still object? To our eyes they had plenty of reasons to object but they didn’t early on and then later when many would have it was way too late.

Human beings.

No one says no when at the point of a gun.

Maybe fascism if it comes, will come first to the cities. Germany is a small place compared to the USA. Here I’d say that fascist forces would grab the reins of power but out in the hinterlands there isn’t enough population to manage things without local help. If the local forces go along then we lose from the get go. If local forces object to losing our Constitution then fascism stays in the cities but loses power away from them. In America there are communities as well. Racial or ethnic communities. Religious and even secular ones.

Lol maybe it is only wishful thinking on my part (or a movie ending trope) but I’d like to believe that fascists would be leery of trying to control Texas. Call it the romantic in me but I’d like to think that even a dumb redneck with violence in his heart and a beer in one hand and a gun in the other would still refuse to do away with our Constitution. I’d also like to believe that a black power type homey with his hands full just like the Texan would also refuse to put aside our Constitution. If there ever were a civil war (which I doubt) then it would have to be one that people were manipulated into starting. I can’t see how it could even continue. Where does the food come from and everything else?

Note than in 1930s Germany the majority of the population were still rural farming communities.

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No longer will i in good conscience continue to proclaim my allegiance to Uncle Sam, especially in light of the extremely dismal political climate in the United States. As a matter of fact, i would like to punch a one-way ticket to Canada should Trump be re-elected. Sadly, the ideals on which the United States was supposedly founded on have been brazenly perverted by the far-right for their extremely insidious political ends. indeed, i am so eager to give Uncle Sam the proverbial middle finger. There is absolutely no doubt that my irreparably shattered faith in American political institutions will never be rectified in my lifetime. it is no wonder why i truly feel ashamed to be an American. :frowning_face:

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This reply is to both of your posts.
I’m not suggesting any kind of prepper mentality, and perhaps the term “civil war” is not correct. The conflict will be the people against the government, with only small amounts of citizens against other citizens, mainly those defending the governments position. When you eliminate the fact that his voters didn’t research his past, why do you think so many voted for such a despicable person (Trump)? Because they are tired of the corruption in DC, the average voter despises career politicians, and doesn’t believe the government works for them, for the most part, their right. Trump promised to “drain the swamp”, it was a lie of course, and all but the most far right voters know that now. Cruise around the webs comment sections, the people are pissed at their government and waking up. With lack of health care, stagnate wages, rising living costs, and all of the financial gains going to the top 1%, they have a right to be. It’s been said 60% of Americans can’t afford a $400 emergency, that’s not sustainable.
Yes I think if the government doesn’t start moving back to the left, something that used to happen in 30 year cycles, at some point there’s going to be a breaking point, and all hell is going to break loose. This will be destructive to everyone for many years, and I would like to avoid this for the benefit of my kids and grandchildren, that’s who will suffer from this, future generations. I can’t predict when this will happen, but if a societal correction doesn’t occur, it will happen. Because of the many roadblocks put in place by the political parties, the government, and the courts, Sanders represents the last peaceful method of a correction.
Their may be differences between the US today and 1930’s Germany, but there’s much that is the same. I suggest you open 2 tabs on youtube, bring up a 2016 vid of a Trump rally, and the other a 1930’s German political rally. When you watch both, it straight up scary how similar they are.
As far as fascism, when corporate power colludes with or controls government, I’d say that ship has already sailed. The question is are we going to stop it or allow it to expand?

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Nice thoughtful response. I have already compared the rallies. While there are similarities nevertheless Trump is not as bad as Hitler. Try listening to a Hitler speech in English and you’ll see my point.

Trump is our problem - a modern problem. He is unique. He is a wannabe prince more than he wants to be a Hitler. I suppose Trump envies the Saudi royals for their literal throne. Trump has to answer for his actions at least in theory. Trump might put opponents in jail if he could but I somehow doubt that he would create extermination camps. Nevertheless, may I point out that I see your point… up to a point and most pointedly… to point the discussion back to your main point.

To wit, I find it hard to believe that Americans will reach a ‘breaking point’. For example, the people did not reach one in Germany did they? That isn’t how things work. People tend to place too much emphasis on the Russian Revolution against the Czars (other older revolutions as well like the French not withstanding) and Mao’s post WWII takeover. In almost all cases a strongman took over by the way.

I look at prewar Germany too but see different learning paths than the main one about the rise of fascism alone. In particular the aforementioned fact that they did not rise up as the threat of fascism grew. Keep that in mind and they were far less comfortable and rich than we are back then. Would Americans risk their homes and livelihoods for … um… for what exactly? For truth, justice and the American way? For liberty and freedom? You just have to wonder whether we would. Remember fascism wouldn’t be like an invading army. It would curtailing free expression all the while bombarding people with manipulative expressions of support etc.

I think Sanders is the stabilizing candidate who will keep things functioning well and peaceably. There will be unrest by the end of this most critical decade but not by some revolution but by outbreaks of civil unrest unless people have faith that someone like Bernie is doing what needs be done about our disintegrating climate. Trump will inspire freak outs by nutzoid maniacs and unstable types more than anything else. Maybe even a riot or two as things get crazy. But a breaking point? I don’t think so but I am just speculating. People will have to lose a whole lot… before they risk losing what they still have.

Corporate power controlling government? Is this something new to you? It has always been that way in our lives that I can see. My hope is for a realistic reshuffling of priorities that make our capitalist system more life sustaining and less rapacious. Social programs like Johnson tried with the Great Society would help. FDR type programs like the Civil Conservation Corps and the work programs etc would help. A Green New Deal works program combined with industry would save us. Let’s not wait four years more to get started on it.

I think that thoughts of widespread rebellion are pointless fantasies. If ever it came to that we’d all lose. For example what about food for hundreds of millions each day?

Just sayin’!

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The f’king war ReconFire worries about has been going on for…since the invention of agriculture and the building of empires which gave rise to rich people who turned others into their slaves. Yes?

All empires based on this model have turned to dust in the ensuing 9,000 or so years except the current worldwide empire. And it’s always been a shooting war because the wealthy & powerful have always murdered the lower classes with impunity. They own the cops who shoot/beat/intimidate/lie/plant evidence/ commit perjury against the working class, and the military that continue to murder the working class all over the planet for those billionaires and bankers and corporate war industries. The wealthy own or are the ‘judges’ and prosecutors (lawyers) that continue to uphold the status quo of the wealthy as do the rest of the highly-paid lawyers that aren’t working for the state. The owners hire others, from the lower classes who’ll do anything for money and a tiny bit of power for themselves, to do whatever it takes to keep their level of ownership increasing. Working class against working class. What a perfect set-up!

ReconFire:
Bernie is my LEAST OFFENSIVE choice of a candidate to vote for considering the ‘lesser evil’ crap that has taken over any real ethical choice. Voting for any of the other candidates is just putting a Democrat version of Trump in so why does it matter if you vote if the DNC kills off Bernie? Your kids, and my g-kids, are going to suffer either way. 60% of the population earns less than $40k a year. And that’s barely financially survivable above poverty level in this country and damned easy to fall through the cracks with a single medical emergency.

But Bernie is just another FDR, the man who saved Capitalism from the civil war that was erupting across the country in the 1930s. My Iowa farm-raised granny, whose teacher sister was a union organizer in the 1920/30s, and I had long conversations about what the ‘common people’ did against the bankers and cops coming to take neighbors farms back then. They stood together in front of the cops with shotguns and hunting rifles and said NO YOU ARE NOT. And the cops backed down since, after all, they were local and had to keep living in the community.

Now the various levels of gov (city/county/state/fed) send war weapons, snipers and tanks and weaponized drones if you even try to use Amendment 1 of the Constitution. And to imagine that there could possibly be a ‘civil war’ coming…gonna be a VERY short war I’m thinking because the citizens with guns who really like using them on other humans are the rightwingers/the ex-military/ the cops/the militias that all support the status quo of Class War even as dumb a concept as that is though, to be honest, with the lack of critical thinking skills that have been bred out of the population, that somehow isn’t much of a surprise. Join the military or police forces or a militia and become a indoctrinated slave who is convinced of doing ‘right’ by those in power who care less if you live or die. Though they will say ‘pray for the dead’ a lot I’ve noticed.

As to the title of this piece, the “Unfounding Father,” one certainly cannot just point to Trump without pointing to Obama (NDAA) or Cheney/bush (PATRIOT Act, Military Commissions Act of 2006) or Clinton (Effective Death Penalty & Terrorism Act), or HW Bush or Reagan or…on back it goes. The Class War, because that’s what this has ALWAYS BEEN, goes on and on across the planet. But this country really turned a corner in 1947 (I think) with the establishment of the blatant Nat. Sec. State. There was no going back after that.

But here’s the good news, sorta. The climate is destabilizing at such an accelerating rate, and to an extent that right now is so much worse than anybody except those that are really paying attention to the science understands. The odds are that we aren’t even going to be here by 2050. Or sooner. Be a short reign by the ‘winners’ I’m thinking, but an ugly one. Our species (your kids, my g-kids) might not have to suffer too long. Isn’t that a relief?

A cut: Dr Andrew Glikson from the Australian National University regarding an article he wrote titled: Beyond Climate Tipping Points: Greenhouse Gas Levels Exceed the Stability Limit of the Greenland and Antarctic Ice Sheets,

“The pace of global warming has been grossly underestimated. As the world keeps increasing its carbon emissions rising in 2018 to a record…33.1 billion ton CO2 per year, the atmospheric greenhouse gas level has now exceeded 560 ppm (parts per million) CO2–equivalent, namely when methane and nitric oxide are included. This level surpasses the stability threshold of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets. The term “climate change“ is thus no longer appropriate since what is happening in the atmosphere-ocean system, accelerating over the last 70 years or so, is an abrupt calamity on a geological dimension threatening nature and civilization. Ignoring what the science says, the powers-that-be are presiding over the sixth mass extinction of species, including humanity.” I am unable to post links says CD.

Blind dumb luck is not the right hand of god. So said Kurt Vonnegut. I guess that means ‘may the odds be ever in your favor’ ain’t gonna happen with our species… Not with what we’ve done to the planet. Our politics pales by comparison.

sealintheSelkirks

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“Cars will soon enough be self-driving” you frickin idiot. Self-driving “driverless” car/truck tech is BULLSHIT you fn moron.

From my perspective, American Democracy ended with the assassinations of JFK,MLK and RFK because the traitors and perpetrators have never been held accountable. Trump as a Mafia Don and his Administration of Lieutenants are just the inevitable result.

A willful tragedy that we are required to take Don’s party seriously.