If you believe that there is no such thing as a coincidence in politics, you should also believe that the election of Donald Trump is part of something much bigger.
Ever since the GOP leadership gleefully accepted the most unqualified president in U.S. history just because he was a Republican, the true mission of the so-called conservative movement began to leak out like a sickening disease. Trump is not just an authoritarian threat; he’s a vehicle for a plutocratic fascism disguised as Republican conservatism.
Beyond the circus of Trump’s delirious tweets and signs of mental instability, nepotism, the Russian connection, and presidential self-enrichment schemes that are conveniently being ignored, the profound corruption that has been smoldering just beneath America’s fragile democracy seems like it’s on the brink of an eruption.
As long as there was a Democrat in the White House, Republicans have had to pretend that they actually believed in democracy. But all that pretense has been hiding their true goal of a single-party state. Such a state could appear to remain a free and open democratic republic, yet in reality be nothing of the sort.
What Republicans have been doing for the past two decades is using the levers of American democracy to dismantle it. Take gerrymandering. Both parties have done it for years, but Republicans took it to a new level by combining it with voter ID laws and a long-sought effort to have the Supreme Court help them strip the teeth out of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. This three-prong approach did not happen by accident, nor is it over. And as it progresses, the same laws that are meant to preserve democracy are protecting conservatives’ efforts to weaken it.
Consider the kind of power a permanent, single-party state would have. Through legislation, one, all-powerful party could drastically change when and how America holds elections, or even eliminate them entirely. With majority control of three-fourths of the states, the U.S. Constitution could be radically changed, not only by adding amendments, but by eliminating them. The Founding Fathers built a great deal of power into our system of checks and balances. What they didn’t anticipate, was the degree to which those powers might be used to pervert the intent of the original document.
There is probably nothing more threatening to our freedoms than gerrymandering; and it’s probably the issue most overlooked by a plurality of Americans. Gerrymandering allows candidates to choose their voters, not the other way around. And since it applies to the House of Representatives, which controls government spending, shaping the House shapes policy, which in turn, controls everything from quality of life issues, to economic and creative opportunity. If congress cuts off funding for public healthcare, enforcement of clean air and water rules, education, research, the arts, and retirement security, where is your freedom of choice? If you are not born into money, how do you survive, let alone thrive?
There’s a phrase that was heard more often in the past. It was called American ingenuity. We earned it because America was the land where creativity flourished. Americans invented things; found cures for diseases; made breakthroughs in science, physics and chemistry; put a man on the moon; and gave music and art a unique flavor no other nation could match. Black and white, young and old, the melting pot of immigrants that built a nation sang “We Are The World” and meant it.
America set the standard everyone else strived for, and in many ways still do. The threats we face today are of our own doing. Democracy is an active participation sport that has no room for complacency.
There are many Donald Trumps in the world. When they rise, Americans know how to crush them.
“There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.” Elie Wiesel
Have your voice heard. Call the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121
Maryann Tobin is the author of “Afterlife: The Journey Of A Dog’s Spirit” This heartwarming story is told through the eyes of an animal spirit that has been sent back to earth in the body of a small dog. His mission is to help a young woman discover that their destinies are connected to the powers of the Spirit World more than either of them ever imagined. If you’ve ever shared your life with a dog or any other pet, you will never look at them the same way again after reading this book. It’s available now on Amazon.com.