Alt-his­tory or fu­ture re­al­ity?

Pres­i­dent thinks that fi­nanc­ing a nu­clear arse­nal is more im­por­tant than fund­ing univer­sal medi­care

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - OPINION - BY RICHARD DEATON Richard Deaton, re­sides in Stan­ley Bridge, and worked as a se­nior pol­icy an­a­lyst for the fed­eral and Saskatchewan gov­ern­ments.

The stench of fascism is upon the land. As the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion in the U.S. im­plodes and lurches from cri­sis-to-cri­sis, do­mes­ti­cally and in­ter­na­tion­ally, and is in­creas­ingly con­sumed by chaos, it is time to as­sess what’s re­ally hap­pen­ing.

In the first in­stance we must face the grim truth that the very foun­da­tions of Amer­i­can democ­racy are be­ing chal­lenged, if not un­der­mined. This is not a fan­tasy, rant, or aber­ra­tion.

The U.S. now has a pres­i­dent who rules by pres­i­den­tial de­cree - that is, Ex­ec­u­tive Or­ders, who prob­a­bly col­luded with a for­eign power to get elected, doesn’t be­lieve in the Con­sti­tu­tional sys­tem of checks and bal­ances or the sep­a­ra­tion of church and state, who threat­ens the ju­di­ciary, doesn’t be­lieve in cli­mate change, who is openly anti-ed­u­ca­tion and anti-univer­sity, and who thinks that fi­nanc­ing a nu­clear arse­nal is more im­por­tant than fund­ing univer­sal medi­care.

We have a pres­i­dent who has ac­cess to the nu­clear trig­ger whose for­eign pol­icy is in tat­ters, who is a racist and a sex­ist, who is of­ten in­co­her­ent and bor­ders on be­ing un­hinged from re­al­ity, and is prob­a­bly suf­fer­ing from var­i­ous men­tal dis­or­ders.

We now have an Amer­i­can pres­i­dent who wants to make “Amer­ica Great Again” by re­turn­ing to the al­legedly idyl­lic 1950s, where ev­ery­one knew their place, but in re­al­ity re­ally wants to re­turn to the 1860s by dis­en­fran­chis­ing blacks and the poor, as well as gut­ting af­fir­ma­tive ac­tion pro­grams in em­ploy­ment and univer­sity ad­mis­sions.

This is not democ­racy in ac­tion; this is a coun­try in ter­mi­nal de­cline. Pax Amer­i­cana is com­ing to an end as did the Ro­man and Bri­tish Em­pires. And Don­ald Trump is the un­der­taker. But rigor mor­tis will be messy.

It is prob­a­bly fair to say that no U.S. pres­i­dent has been as re­viled as Don­ald Trump. By com­par­i­son Repub­li­can pres­i­dents Richard Nixon and Ge­orge W. Bush al­most look re­spectable and sane. And in terms of out­right cor­rup­tion, crony­ism, and nepo­tism the ear­lier ad­min­is­tra­tions of U.S. Gen­eral Grant, the com­man­der of the Union forces dur­ing the Civil War, or the TeaPot Dome scan­dal of Pres­i­dent War­ren Hard­ing in the early 1920s, look am­a­teur­ish when com­pared to Trump.

What is to be done? Let me sug­gest some un­pleas­ant, but in my opin­ion, very real pos­si­ble sce­nar­ios. In the first in­stance, in the name of democ­racy, the newly cre­ated Pres­i­den­tial Com­mis­sion on Elec­toral Fraud will amend the ex­ist­ing fed­eral leg­is­la­tion so the states will be able to elim­i­nate mil­lions of vot­ers, es­pe­cially blacks, im­mi­grants, and the poor. This will ef­fec­tively stack the elec­toral sys­tem by elim­i­nat­ing its op­po­nents, es­pe­cially in the south.

Sec­ond, the U.S., like Ger­many in 1933, will have a Re­ich­stag in­ci­dent, where there is some sort of man­u­fac­tured do­mes­tic ter­ror­ist in­ci­dent, like a bomb­ing or sec­ond 9/11, that is used as an ex­cuse to in­voke mar­tial law and limit civil lib­er­ties in the U.S. Po­lit­i­cal op­po­nents may pos­si­bly be in­car­cer­ated, as was pro­vided for un­der the Cold War, Smith-McCar­ran Act, Ti­tle II.

Third, at the risk of be ei­ther sound­ing fool­ish or hys­ter­i­cal, I am pre­pared to say that there will be no pres­i­den­tial elec­tion in the U.S in 2020. It will be can­celled by Pres­i­den­tial Ex­ec­u­tive Or­der, in the in­ter­est of na­tional se­cu­rity (of course), pos­si­bly as a re­sult of a staged Re­ich­stag in­ci­dent. This is ef­fec­tively a coup, whether car­ried out by Trump, and his sur­vival­ist and Chris­tian-right wing sup­port­ers, in or­der to cling to power, or by the U.S. mil­i­tary to sta­bi­lize the de­te­ri­o­rat­ing po­lit­i­cal sit­u­a­tion.

Such an idea is hardly new in Amer­i­can po­lit­i­cal cul­ture. Some may re­mem­ber the film, “Seven Days in May” (with Burt Lan­caster and Kirk Dou­glas), or another film, “A Very Bri­tish Coup.” More re­cently, re­spected Yale his­to­rian Ti­mothy Sny­der, in his book “On Tyranny (2016),” has also raised the spec­tre of a Trump-in­spired coup. I am in good com­pany. Th­ese po­lit­i­cal sce­nar­ios are no longer fan­tasy or fic­tion. Fic­tion is be­com­ing re­al­ity. To deny or ig­nore this un­fold­ing re­al­ity is dan­ger­ous. And what hap­pens in the U.S. will af­fect Canada.

But, “the price of free­dom is eter­nal vig­i­lance.” And we must, “Stand on Guard for thee.”

U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump

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