The idea of resistance to an authoritarian regime is long, proud, and ultimately successful. Be it the American rebels of the Boston tea party, the lone tank blocker of Tiananmen Square, or the pipeline protestors at Standing Rock, resistance to authoritarian rule is the backbone of democracy. And it made George Lucas a billionaire.
In the end all authoritarian regimes fall. Why? Hubris takes over and they overreach. No matter how hard they try, they just can't help themselves. They always do, it's in their genes.
In recent history we have seen the spectacular failures of Adolf Hitler's Germany, Joseph Stalin's Soviet Union, and Chairman Mao's China. Each has ruled briefly with self-tailored laws that run counter to tradition, enforced by an iron fist, and a propaganda megaphone blaring in the public's good ear.
The American legislative system has several serious shortcomings. The one that stands out and may be its fatal flaw is an individual legislator's ability to place "stink bombs" in lengthy complicated and critical legislation. It isn't a fluke that it is like this. It was undoubtedly done by intent by sociopath slime balls intent on deceiving others. Thus the Defense Authorization Act. Signed each year it is always filled with sticky substances peppered throughout. Now it has given us the new and improved "Voice of America" retooled as the "Voice To America".
Resisting The New Ministry Of Alternate Facts
Perhaps most important is resisting mental laziness and the wholesale consumption of government bred BS. This government is off to a very bad start by attempting to shut off the public's access to its permanent non-political staff and public information. Its apparent first priority upon occupying the White House was scrubbing all mentions of global warming, an act that does not bode well for a planet that already has a fever.
Our government was already strained by an information channel polluted with alternate facts from corporate lobbyists sprinkled throughout and continuously passing through the revolving doors of corruption. Now we have reached a point where perhaps nothing from the government is trustworthy unless it's first leaked by a whistle-blower through "a wiki-leak" and confirmed more than twice.
Retooled VOA Set To Be Trump-run US State Media Network
Rachel Maddow reports on how a restructuring of the Voice Of America broadcast network means that Donald Trump has the unique opportunity to staff a state-run media operation broadcasting inside the United States.
Propaganda is the 1st leg of the authoritarian stool.
The Law Counter To American Tradition
In the wake of 9-11 George Bush rushed through legislation that had been sitting idle while waiting on a rocket engine to push it though. Osama Bin Laden lit the fuse and America set off on its adventure in authoritarianism. The act in question is the Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001 (acronym: USA Patriot). The Patriot Act for short. Cute huh?
Originally it was passed to fight Osama Bin Laden and Islamic terrorists. But now it is being adapted to and for everything from attempts to silence journalists to punishing your neighbor who won't pick up his dog's poop. It was passed with a 10-year sunset provision for a universe where the sun never sets. Attempts to amend it only lead to the installation of 4-foot speed bumps with plenty of room for the government to swerve around. It's long with few checks, no balances, and beyond the scope of American tradition.
It is the 2nd leg of the authoritarian stool.
Jack-booting Through The Tulips
And now the final leg of the authoritarian stool. The result of police militarism is out of the media limelight at the moment, but it lurks in the shadows ready to reemerge with a new vigor and a sympathetic wink from above. The arming of police with military weapons was recently halted by the Obama Administration by a stroke of a pen and can be restarted by this new administration with an eraser. We live in a time with very capable surveillance, sophisticated armament, and a history of violence against the people.
The resistance to this slide from democracy needs something other than merely calling this president names, accosting your idiot neighbor, promoting or committing violence, or even marching. This entrenched power has the power to put up road blocks, suppress the vote, and generally deprive us. This battle can only be won by doing the hard work of organizing, pulling together, and showing up to vote in overwhelming numbers in 2018 and 2020.That's how democracy works.
What all authoritarians count on is lack of resistance. And lack of resistance is what we must not give this administration. We have the peaceful means in the internet, the town hall meeting, a telephone line directly through to power, the ballot box, and the strength of numbers. All we need is the will to resist.
All the pieces are in place for "Authoritarianism American Style". The only thing stopping it is "We The People, Indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for All".
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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
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- Johns Hopkins Univ Pr
Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
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