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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 10/15/18

An American Authoritarianism Rising: Silence Will Not Protect You

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Reprinted from by Roy Morrison

Sinclair Lewis' It Can't Happen Here (first edition)
Sinclair Lewis' It Can't Happen Here (first edition)
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The Trump administration's intent is clear. An American authoritarianism rises.

The press is the "enemy of the people." Nazis chanting "Blood and Soil" and "Jews Will Not Replace US" at Charlottesville are considered "good people" by President Trump. Desperate asylum seekers have their children effectively kidnapped by the government to terrify and discourage migrants.

The perpetrators of violence against women have now become self-righteous victims. Denial of voting rights to the poor,students, people of color is the Republican path to victory Draft regulations issued by Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke radically limit the ability to conduct large scale protests at the White House and on the National Mall, the people's mall . The First Amendment,the rights of free speech and to petition the government for a redress of grievances, is under unremitting assault.

Trump's assault upon democracy includes assault against the ecosphere, a willingness to permit the unfolding of catastrophic climate change that will destroy global civilization. The assault against democracy is also an assault against science, against truth itself, a world of "alternative facts."

Economically there is embrace of enormous tax cuts for the rich,further transfer of wealth from poor and middle class to the rich accompanied by a structural deficit in boom times that will lead to an inability to respond effectively when recession strikes.

Trump's control of Presidency and Congress, is strengthened by aSupreme Court majority that may be set to remove judicial restraint upon the President and codify America First now and forever under a Trumpian dynasty. The skids are greased unless...unless as Mario Savio said to the Free Speech Movement at Berkeley on Dec. 4, 1964 about civil disobedience:

"There's a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart that you can't take part! You can't even passively take part! And you've got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus -- and you've got to make it stop! And you've got to indicate to the people who run it,to the people who own it -- that unless you're free the machine will be prevented from working at all!! That doesn't mean... that you have to break anything. One thousand people sitting down someplace... not [letting] anything happen, can stop any machine,including this machine! And it will stop!!"

In Argentina, after the military seized control, regime propaganda embraced the slogan: "Silence is Health"in true Orwellian fashion.

We are at an historical inflection point similar to the early 1930s before fascism took power. Perhaps the elections in 2018 and 2020 will repudiate Trumpism; perhapsRobert Mueller's reports and indictments will bring clarity and justice; perhaps Chief Justice Robert's Supreme Court will stand up for democracy.

But perhaps, as Camus wrote at the end of The Plague, his great allegorical novel about fascism:

"...that the plague bacillus never dies or disappears for good; that it can lie dormant for years and years...that it bides its time in bedrooms, cellars, trunk and bookshelves; and that perhaps the day would come when, for the bane and the enlightening of men, it would rouse up its rats again and send them forth to die in a happy city."

Silence is not health in the face of an American authoritarianism rising. Raising our voices and millions taking to the streets is essential for the protection of democracy and the ecosphere. Mass nonviolent civil disobedience and non-cooperation is our last peaceful resort in the face of illegitimate authority in defense of our freedom and land.

Roy Morrison's latest book is Building An Ecological Civilization: Outline for Getting from Here to There, forthcoming in 2019. He builds solar farms.

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