Step #3. Beware the One-Party State -“The parties that remade states and suppressed rivals were not omnipotent from the start. They exploited a historic moment to make political life impossible for their opponents. So support the multi-party system and defend the rules of democratic elections. Vote in local and state elections while you can. Consider running for office.” – Timothy Snyder, On Tyranny
“…Hitler’s originality lay in his realization that effective revolutions, in modern conditions, are carried out with, and not against, the power of the state…Hitler never abandoned the cloak of legality; he recognized the enormous psychological value of having the law on his side. Instead he turned the law inside out and made illegality legal.” – Alan Bullock, Hitler: A Study in Tyranny, 1953
“Though they seem at opposite poles, fanatics of all kinds are actually crowded together at one end. It is the fanatic and the moderate who are poles apart and never meet.” – Eric Hoffer, The True Believer
“Markets without regulation are theft.” – Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)
“In a move towards increasing religious inclusion and accommodation, the US Air Force has updated its dress code policy to include an approval process for Muslims and Sikhs to wear turbans, beards, and hijabs.” Daily Kos, 2/16/20
“Money talks; but it don’t sing and dance, and it don’t walk.” – Neil Diamond
“You can’t always get what you want…but if you try sometimes…you might find that, you can…get what you need.” – The Rolling Stones
The dramatic resurgence of Joe Biden’s candidacy for President on “Super Tuesday,” March 3, 2020 means that a specter is haunting Donald Trump. It isn’t Karl Marx’s socialism, as a recent frantic and vitriolic chorus of “Cold War Columnists,” like Jonah Goldberg (LA Times), David Brooks (NY Times), and George Will (Washington Post), would have us believe. It isn’t even Joe Biden, the man that drove Trump to commit crimes on the way to impeachment. It’s the turnout of Democratic voters of all kinds in support of the “audacity of hope” of Barack Obama.
Bernie Sanders’s doctrinaire approach may not win the Democratic nomination, but Democrats cannot win in November without celebrating his movement’s vital contributions to their Party’s conscience: qualitatively and numerically. There has never been real progress in the United States without strong doses of socialism, carried out by revolutionary legislation, legally and democratically. We just prefer to call these radical changes something other than “socialism,” or “revolution.” North Dakota’s Nonpartisan League did it 100 years ago with the publicly owned Bank of North Dakota. FDR and the New Deal did it in the 1930s with Social Security. Lyndon Johnson did it with Great Society programs. Poverty programs launched by JFK’s reading of “The Other America,” were inspired by a Democratic Socialist, Michael Harrington, moved by Catholic Church teachings on social welfare. The cruel irony for Bernie Sanders and his “brand” is that the American electorate, which overwhelmingly favors some form of his “Medicare for All,” is suspecting that large Democratic majorities in the House and Senate, without which there is no progressive “revolution” at all, are better secured by a Joe Biden candidacy.
It’s true that Communists from Lenin to Castro used ideals of socialism to mask their dictatorial ambitions, but it’s also true that “Savage Capitalists,” from real entrepreneurs like Alexander McKenzie to fake ones like Donald Trump, have perverted ideals of conservatism to mask dreams of dictatorship. This time, however, it isn’t simply “Uncle Joe” or “Uncle Bernie” vs. “The Artful Dodging Donald,” or forensic facts vs. FOX fiction; it’s democracy vs. dictatorship. The good news is that Donald Trump and his enablers, while nasty and powerful, are cowards when you get down to it, while a host of new and old Democrats are not.
When Senator John McCain (R-AZ) handed over the Steele Dossier, on December 9, 2016 to FBI Director James Comey, he acted in a patriotic, bi-partisan, desire for “regular order” in the American body politic. It availed little. Republicans had contracted demagogic diarrhea (DD), beginning with tribalism of Congressman Newt Ginrich (R-GA) in 1994, and accelerating with Tea Party racism, Birtherism, and religious bigotry aimed at Muslims of any nationality, and immigrants of any color but white. With the addition of world wide social media, there just hasn’t been enough rational toilet paper to wipe out the dysentery of organized ignorance in the past decade. A good example of DD infection can be found in Congressman Kelly Armstrong (R-ND), bleating “NO QUID PRO QUO,” from the pages of the Bismarck Tribune (12/5/19), like Orwell’s sheep in 1984, and (Senate Majority Leader) Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) and (House Minority Leader) Kevin McCarthy’s (R-CA) Republican Caucuses in 2019 and 2020.
Like its close acronymic, ED (Erectile Dysfunction), DD has a debilitating effect on any political posture that requires stiffness in a spine. In Joe McCarthy’s days, it afflicted both parties, but lately it has been an exclusive affliction among Republicans. The Democrats “got a spine,” and the American body politic avoided the worst effects of DD in 2008, when the country gave two terms to President Barack Obama. But in the very next election of 2010, the Republican Party, in addition to DD on steroids, used poll closings and privatized voting machines to create widespread voter delays (VD) and apply a ferocious constitutional constipation (CC) of voter suppression in key battleground States. Combined with massive white voter turnout, objecting to President Obama being “Commander-in-Chief while black,” this added severe cramps to a besieged democracy in body and soul, and we got President Trump in 2016. Since Republicans often said the American flag didn’t belong to Democrats, it was a small step for the Donald, with a cramped brain and a diarrhea mouth, to assume that the country belonged to him. My search for a democratic antidote to such dictatorial thinking led me to my KGB animal friends.
High Plains Reader: How do Americans avoid the DD’s and CC’s that are weakening our democracy and putting us on the path to dictatorship? With yet another old white guy?
Putin: Old white guys have screwed up your country. Why shouldn’t one of them be in charge of cleaning it up? Impeachment didn’t work. But massive voter turnout by Democrats against organized lying by Republican dark money did work in 2018, and can again in 2020. That’s why Republicans resort to massive voter suppression, nowadays. Fraud no longer works so well.
HPR: But nominating a declared “Democratic Socialist” is such a drastic step. And the folksy guy refuses to perform for the media like a trained seal to fit their narrative of “electability.”
Rasputin: Drugs for treating diarrhea and constipation are also drastic, when people could more easily encourage regularity by ingestion of prunes, which, of course, have wrinkles. Acceptance of Obamacare, Great Society, Square Deal and New Deal reforms, instead of blind opposition from a smug status quo, could have prevented the current digestive stress in the body politic.
HPR: Are you suggesting that we impeach, and then un-elect our Presidents regularly?
Omar Khayyam: You already do that, when necessary. The rest of us just hope you get on with it asap. regarding Trump. Nobody impeaches and overturns their would-be tyrants better than Americans. It is that, more that your military might, that earns admiration around the world.
Chicago Dog: Indeed! The American Revolution impeached the tyranny of George III and the British Empire. The Civil War of 1861-1865 impeached the tyranny of slavery, and then the racism of President Andrew Johnson. Both Republican Teddy Roosevelt and Democrat Franklin Roosevelt impeached malefactors of great wealth, and Republicans, as well as Democrats, impeached Richard Nixon’s abuse of power. Unfortunately, racism and greed have resisted the impeachment and electoral processes, but U.S. Constitutional Checks and Balances have survived, despite all assaults in the 19th, 20th, and 21st Centuries.
Schickelgruber: One of America’s consistent strengths in the past 150 years, has been the loyalty of its public servants, military and civilian, to the U.S. Constitution, regulations and regular order, rather than to individual leaders, elected or otherwise. That is what was lacking in the first experiment in German democracy under Weimar, which fell to Hitler, and has succeeded in today’s Germany, thanks to the inspiration, as well as the material help of the United States.
Señor Perro: I am so impressed by military men like Lt. Colonel Vindman, and career diplomats, like Marie Yovanovitch, who understand, like Senator McCain, that “regular order” requires that institutions like the State Department must follow laws and regulations instituted by Congress, and not be subjected to the whim of would be dictators in the White House West Wing, if American democracy and western civilization are to survive.
Torquemada: These courageous civil servants are all over the place, in plain sight, like the Lions, Kiwanis, or Elks; the ACLU, or the Southern Poverty Law Center. “Impeachments R Us,” is not some secret society, it is just what Americans do when their executive branch gets too far out of line. On the other hand, when tolerance becomes institutionalized, as it has in much of American military and civilian life, there is less room for intolerant leadership to have its way.
Corporal Kangaroo: Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s decision to proceed with a successful vote on two Articles of Impeachment, although it failed in the craven Republican Senate, exposed the dictatorial tendencies of the Trump Presidency. With another “blue wave” in 2020, she will also have the major say in any “Medicare For All” Bill originating in the House of Representatives under a Democratic President of any persuasion, democratic socialist or not.
Lena: Women like Speaker Pelosi are not afflicted with ED, DD, VD, or CC emanating from sophomoric stunts by the likes of Congressmen Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Matt Gaetz (R-FL).
Schickelgruber: Nor are House Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff (D-CA), House Judiciary Chair Jerry Nadler (D-NY) and other men and women of the Impeachment Trial of President Trump. These Democrats, like our Founding Fathers, and their current Presidential candidates are all well aware of the common appeals to mob behavior by Kings, Dictators and Fuehrers of the past.
Chicago Dog: I am also impressed by the political maturity of young Democratic members of the House, like Congresswoman Ilhan Omar (D-MN). Committed to fighting homelessness and racism exacerbated by Trump administration policies, she was clearly willing to follow Speaker Pelosi’s lead in pursuing a “narrow” path to impeachment via bribery and obstruction charges.
Mr. Swamp Fox: Trump can run away from the truth of his venality and incompetence, but he can’t hide from the truth of his impeachment. The laughter of foreign leaders, allies and adversaries alike, at Trump’s cowardice and ineffectiveness, has already reached his ears
Putin: Thanks also to a reenergized media–seeking, not ignoring inconvenient facts, Trump is suffering from consequences of his cynical behavior. Impeachment is not necessarily about removal of a President, but a calling out of criminal behavior, and a calling forth to the American people to do something about it, at all levels of government and civic discourse. It’s called a democracy – a Republic. If Democrats continue to confront lies about democratic application of social justice goals from the Bank of North Dakota through Social Security, Medicare, Civil Rights, and Trade Unionism, they will find that Nancy Pelosi’s mantra of “Health Care, Health Care, Health Care” will cure any ills they might incur from nominating Uncle Bernie.
Rasputin: Meanwhile, the emergence of Joe Biden has caused Republicans in the House and Senate to suffer, along with Trump, from ills of a different sort. They don’t know whether to sh*t from DD or go blind from VD and CC, as the consequences of ED in their political spines devolve into the elections of 2020.