In just a couple of months, Americans will cast an important vote. If we make the wrong choice, we may never get another.
Our political system has left us with limited choices: Our two powerful political parties have made sure American voters have to choose one of them. If you don't, your vote will be practically worthless.
In November's miderm election, we can experiment with a new brand of American fascism, which we haven't tried before. Or we can settle for the more conventional limited democracy we're used to. After 246 years as a nation, we are left with two contrasting brands: the centrist, imperfect Democratic Party or the angry, fascist-oriented Republican Party.
Both the Republican and Democratic Party are flawed and unpopular. Yet unlike many other countries with multi-party systems, we have only two parties to choose from. Between them, they have divided control of our political system and restricted voters to a narrow choice.
As harsh as it sounds, if we vote Republican we will have installed a Congress that will be more than ready to introduce an undemocratic American-style fascism to this country. The word "fascism," connected to the policies and ideas of the Republican Party, is not hyperbole. There is no one source to explain the definition of this particular set of ideas and principles. This is primarily because fascism is shaped by its leaders, its era, and its location. But it has some defining characteristics.
Merriam-Webster defines fascism as "a political philosophy, movement, or regime... that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition."
Today's Republican Party pretty much checks off all those boxes. Nationalism ("USA! USA!") is exalted, and the party has shown itself to be partial toward white Americans. Republicans want a strong leader, e.g. Donald Trump, are partial toward the wealthy, and stand strong against changing social norms, like gender fluidity and minority rights, as well as non-traditional religious beliefs and nonbelievers. And it is obvious they are going all out to suppress the votes of their political opponents and make sure Democratic Party votes will be unable to topple Republican leadership.
That leaves voters with one other choice: the centrist, moderate Democratic Party. Yet how democratic is it? The party favors free-market capitalism and gives favorable treatment to wealthy corporate donors. However, they are more willing than Republicans to provide modest government programs for the disadvantaged and tend to be considerably more liberal on social and cultural issues.
Voting Democratic will prevent the trauma of fascist control and give the country a chance to heal from the damage of the personality cult that distrusts democracy. We do have to remind ourselves that the Democratic Party, while a better choice, will not be a panacea.
You are going to get one or the other party. No matter which one, our troubles are likely to remain and our political divisions will not be going away. Nobody talks about it, but the U.S. Constitution, just as are most religious doctrines, is outdated and incapable of solving many of our modern problems. There are ways to amend and modernize our 233-year-old founding document, but smaller states are reluctant to give up their built-in advantages, so changes are not easy to come by.
The problems of our remarkable, but outdated Constitution, start with the reality that the presidential candidate with the most popular votes is not necessarily the winner. Recent history provides clear examples of this outrage. How can our elections be considered democratic when the antiquated "electoral college" decides the winner?
But right now, the most important task we have is saving our democracy from those who are abusing it. If we don't, all hell will break loose, here and around the globe. It could get very ugly. But if enough voters cast their ballots wisely (hint: not Republican), it doesn't have to be that way.