By numbering these steps to likely self-destruction, I hope to provide a comforting illusion of linearity:
- Commit with passion to a dizzying barrage of lies
- Undermine, threaten, and ban the press, who may otherwise credibly report on one’s actions
- Question the legitimacy of democratic processes
- Laugh about regulations and norms that would constrain an executive’s decisions within long-established ethical boundaries
- Dare lawmakers to confirm the most racist, sexist, anti-queer, anti-love, anti-voter, anti-truth, anti-science cabinet imaginable
- Courageously maintain one’s dedication to lying
- Start passing laws and issuing executive orders that will kill people–by taking away our health care, by poisoning our water, by allowing our climate to warm unchecked until it is uninhabitable, by any number of callous, self-aggrandizing, thoughtless potentials
- Foment chaos. In one’s daily operations. In health care markets. In politics. In discourse
- Mock (and rape and assault) the vulnerable
- Maintain and strengthen business and political connections that will operate directly against the interests of the citizens of the United States
- Issue gag orders on thousands of employees
- Speak only lies.
I cannot see these actions as anything but the precursors to an imminent dictatorship by an unstable, charismatic, sadistic, ignorant strongman. This proto-fascist will destroy our country. His lies alone have clobbered our national security. Why would any country–even an ally–believe anything one of his lackeys says? The US has lost whatever moral and political authority Obama’s team scrapped together (hashtag thanks Hillary). He will no doubt make up for that loss as a strongman would, with an emboldened military expected to obey reckless–even illegal–commands.
I see no reason not to fear the impending destruction of free speech, the needless deaths of our more vulnerable populations, the continued assault on voting rights, the selling of our government to the highest foreign bidders. I see no reason not to believe Masha Gessen, who fled her own country’s dictatorship twice and whose best way to prevent nuclear holocaust is to be “the most hysterical person in the room.”
He is undermining or destroying every institution that could protect us from his authoritarian whims.
Marching is not enough to prevent this self-destruction. Picketing offices, shaming legislators, buying subscriptions to newspapers, chanting. Suing him over emoluments. All of these actions may bolster a resistance, build hope, strengthen the democratic institutions facing these threats. But will they stop this nascent dictator? Will they stop the GOP that created the conditions for his victory and crave power just as much?
We never had much moral authority, real talk, since Jim Crow, global militarization, economic and cultural imperialism, drones, etc. But we at least had free speech and a free press. Donald Duck’s contempt for the one democratic institution that actually makes us great forebodes nothing good.
Rational hysteria. The only possible response. Barely contained in order to exist in a family structure and earn a paycheck.
And how are you today?