Month: February 2017
Waiting for the Burning Down the Reichstag Moment . . .
It’s coming. The incompetence of the roll out of the travel ban is completely beside the point. The travel ban was purely an exercise in messaging to set the scene for Bannon’s game plan for using the next San Bernadino or Orlando as an excuse to seize emergency powers, ditch posse comitatus to deploy the military within the homeland and launch the United States into a civilizational conflict with the muslim world which he would use as cover for reshaping the U.S. along white nationalist lines.
We’re feeling pretty good about ourselves right now in terms of the resistance we have put up to less than a month of insanity and incompetence but everything to date has just been a warm up. We need to get ready to mobilize for anti-war protests that will make the Vietnam protests look like a tea party because if we let Bannon’s war start it could be all over for us very quickly.
Here’s the Wikipedia article for anyone who needs a refresher on how the match was lit last time . . .
“This moment of danger can also be your finest hour as a citizen and an American.”
What happens in the next four years will depend heavily on whether Trump is right or wrong about how little Americans care about their democracy and the habits and conventions that sustain it. If they surprise him, they can restrain him.
Public opinion, public scrutiny, and public pressure still matter greatly in the U.S. political system. In January, an unexpected surge of voter outrage thwarted plans to neutralize the independent House ethics office. That kind of defense will need to be replicated many times. Elsewhere in this issue, Jonathan Rauch describes some of the networks of defense that Americans are creating.
Get into the habit of telephoning your senators and House member at their local offices, especially if you live in a red state. Press your senators to ensure that prosecutors and judges are chosen for their independence—and that their independence is protected. Support laws to require the Treasury to release presidential tax returns if the president fails to do so voluntarily. Urge new laws to clarify that the Emoluments Clause applies to the president’s immediate family, and that it refers not merely to direct gifts from governments but to payments from government-affiliated enterprises as well. Demand an independent investigation by qualified professionals of the role of foreign intelligence services in the 2016 election—and the contacts, if any, between those services and American citizens. Express your support and sympathy for journalists attacked by social-media trolls, especially women in journalism, so often the preferred targets. Honor civil servants who are fired or forced to resign because they defied improper orders. Keep close watch for signs of the rise of a culture of official impunity, in which friends and supporters of power-holders are allowed to flout rules that bind everyone else.
Those citizens who fantasize about defying tyranny from within fortified compounds have never understood how liberty is actually threatened in a modern bureaucratic state: not by diktat and violence, but by the slow, demoralizing process of corruption and deceit. And the way that liberty must be defended is not with amateur firearms, but with an unwearying insistence upon the honesty, integrity, and professionalism of American institutions and those who lead them. We are living through the most dangerous challenge to the free government of the United States that anyone alive has encountered. What happens next is up to you and me. Don’t be afraid. This moment of danger can also be your finest hour as a citizen and an American.