[dc]“M[/dc]ake me do it.”
That’s what FDR said to the progressives of his era when they met with their list of demands. With strikes and demonstrations, and looming fascism waiting in the wings, they did— and he did.
We have watched the slow motion train wreck that is Donald Trump’s destruction of our democracy in action for almost four years now. Granted, the nation has been on a downward slide toward fascism my entire life. I say that as I’m poised to cross my seventh decade. Trump is the creature from the black lagoon, a creation of that momentum, not its creator. He is not a very stable genius, but a very able surfer riding the tide of angst, managing to keep one step ahead of the law and order he claims to exemplify. As such he has become the magnifier of those anti-democratic tendencies that our nation, in all its noble aspirations and hypocritical actions, has never risen above.
I see my friends, and the Democrats, react to Trump’s latest ridiculism as though that proves he will be defeated, without realizing how much he has already shifted the ground beneath our feet.
It is imperative we not have to endure another four years of such corrosion but that is far from assured. I listen with concern as my friends discuss the upcoming election, Trump’s insanity, Biden or Kamala’s record and what we should do after, as though it was. We should get them elected—and then push. But unfortunately I see my friends, and the Democrats, react to Trump’s latest ridiculism as though that proves he will be defeated, without realizing how much he has already shifted the ground beneath our feet.
Take the Post Office. Trump’s man lies to Congress and everyone’s outraged, as though having exposed the outrageous actions and lies has put those sorting machines back together and the boxes in swing states back in place. And while we’re talking about the Post Office we’re not discussing how effective the voter suppression tools already in use have been, and how to counteract them. Not hearing much about that lately from anyone outside Pacifica Radio and Robert Greenwald (check out his film ‘Suppressed’ on YouTube). But again, knowing it’s going on is not the same as having a plan to fix it. The Democrats for years have proven ineffective at countering this sabotage of our democracy, when not participating in it themselves.
We can only tolerate one issue at a time it seems; one just sucks up all the oxygen in the room. This type of manipulation is where Trump’s very stable genius lies. Because he’s a mercurial snake oil salesman people consistently underestimate that Trump and/or his handlers are playing the long game; and very effectively, thus far. Yes, he’s totally botched the pandemic response, but when it comes to sliding away from blame Trump has a lifelong record of evading responsibility for his failures to his credit, so don’t underestimate him there either.
Trump, like Putin, is a media creation. Those who have a hard time laying any blame for our circumstance at the feet of Putin should recall (regardless what you think of the ‘deep state’ one way or the other) over the last twenty years Trump has been the recipient of $2.5 billion in loans from Deutsche Bank, underwritten by the Russian state. Any wonder why he doesn’t want them to release the records?
To look at it from Putin’s perspective, suppose you have a boisterous neighbor who keeps littering in your yard (Yeltsin; Ukraine; Iran less than 200 miles, the equivalent from Malibu to Tijuana, away; NATO expansion, contrary to promises; etc.), while at the same time holding himself up to be the most honorable citizen in the world, literally. When not throwing trash in your yard it’s piling up in his own back yard, until the place is a tinderbox. One day it occurs all you need to do to rid yourself of this irksome neighbor is toss a cigarette over the fence. In our example, Trump (and Russian bots etc.) is the cigarette. Micro-pennies on the dollar in terms of bang for the buck; money well spent.
If there is any way Trump can make it so there won’t be an election in November then there won’t be, especially if there’s any chance it could be fair.
Do not doubt we are faced with a Manchurian Candidate with no interest in preserving American democracy; quite the opposite. If there is any way he can make it so there won’t be an election in November then there won’t be, especially if there’s any chance it could be fair. Destruction of an institution older than the country on which many rely for life-saving deliveries is merely collateral damage in the effort.
With that in mind let’s turn to current events. Apply a little stochastic terrorism and Q-anon conspiracy to our country beset by racism, and you get:
- cops, historically devoid of accountability, nervous of having their authority questioned in the slightest, feeling free to maim and murder
- people protesting obvious injustice
- righteously angry protesters damaging property, and acting violently toward those protecting a system that’s doing violence against them, that refuses to protect them, or reward them
- if that’s not enough, throw in an agent provocateur or two (see stochastic terrorism), and you can
- send in Federal troops (you’ve been grooming in separate loyal agencies) under the guise of restoring “order”
- which most people will see as further provocation
- leading to more violence
- allowing you to declare, for the sake of the protection of all, martial law— since all these actions just prove it’s total chaos without your strong leadership.
This is eerily familiar to how the CIA drove democratically elected President Mohammad Mosaddegh of Iran from power in 1953, for the sin of threatening to nationalize Iran’s oil industry. BP ran to the British government, who sent them to see Eisenhower and Allen Dulles. Dulles sent Teddy Roosevelt’s grandson off to hire one set of thugs to march through Tehran loudly supporting the president while destroying property. Another set of thugs was hired to do battle with the first bunch, allowing (also bought) military leaders to bring “order” to the chaos.
This set the country up for years of brutal rule by the Shah leading to the 1979 rebellion that drove him from power and the hostage crisis that Reagan secretly managed to help secure Carter’s defeat (reminiscent of Nixon before he was elected undermining LBJ’s Vietnam negotiations in Paris); leading to Iran-Contra scandal, never fully exposed due to H.W. Bush’s pardons of those involved; and Iran’s current anti-U.S. position in the political morass in the area we refer to as the Middle East— just one of many instances where our foreign policy forced democracy out of the picture.
These things have a way of reverberating, so it should be no surprise the subversions practiced around the world in our name have come back to haunt us. The chickens, as Malcolm X said, have come home to roost. Our system of justice, both what we practice in this country and what we sought to establish around the world has always been imperfect, even diabolical in its hypocrisy at times, presenting itself as democracy while establishing the opposite. Because we are guilty does that mean we should surrender, and accept our punishment? Hell no.
The question of whether or not it is better to push Biden/Harris toward a progressive agenda before or after the election misses the point. It takes for granted the fact that there will be one, or one that is actually fair.
Neither is this the time for ideological purity. The question of whether or not it is better to push Biden/Harris toward a progressive agenda before or after the election misses the point. It takes for granted the fact that there will be one, or one that is actually fair.
That is where our efforts right now need to be. To that end, it’s important to see those who don’t agree with our views not as devils (I know it’s hard) but as humans operating on a different set of facts, or disinformation. We need to present our case rationally, and win enough of them over to make it count. I don’t even fault Biden/Harris under the current circumstances for wooing disaffected Republicans and independents more than acknowledging the progressive wing of the party. These votes, after all, are more likely to be counted in the current circumstances.
The Democratic Party should have our full support but not be our only avenue of resistance as they have proven somewhat irresponsible to the needs of all the people. We should grow our progressive organizations in swing states, and attempt through them to secure a fair election.
There are enough positive attributes to Biden/Harris that they should get our unqualified support—at this time. You will not find anything on Biden’s website about limiting the military industrial complex or income inequality, for instance. This will be necessary for him to enact his modest proposals, and we would like to see him go further. LBJ proved you can’t have both, guns and butter.
Covid 19, climate change, cops, too many guns, systemic racism, education, immigrants, healthcare, democracy—Biden/Harris may not be the ultimate saviors we would choose but they are definitely better on all these issues than the alternative. If we are successful in November, then, we need to makethemdoit— that is, actually secure true democracy and justice for all of our citizens.