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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 7/10/22

Is Ron DeSantis Our Next Authoritarian Nightmare?

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Reprinted from hartmannreport.com

If DeSantis "- an authoritarian who's even followed Il Duce's lead in creating a private police force answerable only to himself "- becomes president, George Washington's nightmare could become true

I just got an alarming email from Ron DeSantis. More about that in a moment.

Historians and political observers have been predicting that America would get our very own Mussolini ever since the days of Barry Goldwater. And there's been no shortage of candidates: bribe-taking Nixon; Central American fascist-loving Reagan; Gitmo torturing and war-lying Bush; and, of course, Trump.

But with Ron DeSantis, we may finally be facing an all-American politician who has Mussolini's guile, ruthlessness, and willingness to see people die (from Covid or lack of medical care/Medicaid) to advance his political career, all while being smart and educated enough to avoid the easily satirized buffoonishness of Trump.

Mussolini mugshot 1903 Bern.
Mussolini mugshot 1903 Bern.
(Image by Wikipedia (commons.wikimedia.org), Author: Unknown authorUnknown author)
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Mussolini was a famously short man who strutted with his muscular chest pushed out and his chin jutted forward, just like DeSantis, who Trump says is musclebound, likes to do.

Both men were socially awkward, craved power, lacked empathy, displayed casual cruelty, sucked up to the wealthiest men in the nation, and demonized opposition politicians "- literally calling their fellow citizens "the enemy" (a favorite trick of Hitler and Orba'n, as well) "- to encourage their followers to support them or perhaps even consider violence and threats of violence to achieve political ends.

George Washington, in his Farewell Address, warned us of the possible rise of politicians like DeSantis who would call other Americans enemies, who would exaggerate policy differences in war-like terms, and who would ascribe the most evil of motives and intentions to simple political opponents.

"The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism."

But it wasn't just that calling other politicians "enemies" or attributing evil motivations to them produced dissension and could tear a society apart, although those concerns were at the top of Washington's mind.

He also knew that such rhetoric was the platform from which a literal strongman could arise in America, destroying the democracy he'd fought the Revolutionary War to create:

"But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism," he told the nation. "The disorders and miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of public liberty."

Such a warlike approach to politics, Washington said, could only lead in one direction:

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Thom Hartmann is a Project Censored Award-winning New York Times best-selling author, and host of a nationally syndicated daily progressive talk program on the Air America Radio Network, live noon-3 PM ET. www.thomhartmann.com His most recent books are "The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight," "Unequal Protection: The Rise of Corporate Dominance and the Theft of Human Rights," "We The People," "What Would Jefferson Do?," "Screwed: The Undeclared War Against the Middle (more...)
 

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