It is Sunday night of the Kavanaugh confirmation weekend.
I have been to Mass. I will do yoga before bed. I am ready for some spiritual healing.
But I am not ready to give up. I am not willing to stand idly by and let Donald Trump ruin the principles and institutions on which this country was founded.
As the current party of power, I am not willing to let the GOP – now the Party of Trump – take us all down the Vichy path.
We already know where that path leads. To an authoritarianism based on one’s skin color and place of prestige in society. To fascism, which my Dictionary app defines as “a governmental system led by a dictator having complete power, forcibly suppressing opposition and criticism, regimenting all industry, commerce, etc., and emphasizing an aggressive nationalism and often racism.”
We aren’t completely there yet, but we already hit many notes along the political scale:
- A dictator having complete power. While he is not there yet, Trump admires dictators much more than those of representative governments. And with the GOP controlling both the House and the Senate; with a nominally Republican Executive Branch; and with the Supreme Court now shaped in the image of Mitch McConnell and the ideology of the Federalist Society and the Heritage Foundation; Trump certainly has more power available to him than one would have supposed in 2016 when he was first sworn in.
- Forcibly suppressing opposition and criticism. While we are not yet at the point of “disappearing” journalists and leaders of government institutions, we have a President who will denigrate anyone, anytime, any place, so long as he can get the crowd to scream ‘lock her up” and get them to laugh at the expense of a survivor of sexual assault for their entertainment. (GOP women, if you think this one day won’t extend to you, you are kidding yourselves.) Now women who march in protest, who confront Congress in its halls to register their positions on issues that matter to them are “mobs.” It would be one thing if it were just Trump doing this. But McConnell, Senators Lindsey Graham and John Cornyn and others have followed him over the cliff. And they think somehow they won’t be crushed on history’s rocks for doing it. Then of course, there are the “enemy of the people,” aka any reporter not working for Fox News. No need to belabor that point.
- Regimenting all industry and commerce: With his tariffs and trade wars, with his desire to restore industries that long ago passed from the economy, Trump is trying to return us to our manufacturing past. But that is not our future. Nor is it the way the free enterprise system works. Nor can we put the global genie back in the bottle, despite trying to destroy things like net neutrality and every trade agreement of the last 70 years. As our economic opportunities have evolved, the world has become smaller in its interconnection of the supply chain. Trump is trying to re-forge it. I am just wondering what products and services we will do without going forward because companies cannot get the materials or intellectual talent we need. Perhaps we will all be eating soybeans for breakfast, lunch and dinner going forward. Start ginning up recipes for their use, oh ye chefs.
- Emphasizing an aggressive nationalism and often racism. Well, when your slogan to your European allies is “America First,” and you have actually turned Canada into an enemy, I think that covers the “aggressive nationalism” pretty well. And when you are dogged about building a physical wall on our southern border when what is really needed is greater cyber security walls, well, your eye is on the wrong ball. Speaking of balls, scapegoating NFL players for kneeling quietly in protest during the national anthem to protest high-profile shootings of 12-year-olds like Tamir Rice because he was holding a toy gun…yes, that will likely create racial division and stoke tensions. We don’t even need to revisit Charlottesville.
I know all these things have been written about before. And there are plenty of better educated writers on the subject of totalitarian governments than I with more comprehensive credentials and experiences than my own.
But if I, a 65-year-old retiree sitting here in my suburban Atlanta living room can see the eve of the destruction of the Party of Lincoln, why can’t its leaders?
I don’t know how to make all this stop. All I can do is prepare myself spiritually, mentally, emotionally and morally for what is to come:
- To be willing to speak at the risk of being labeled a “witch” by Vladimir Putin and to protest while alleged to be paid by George Soros. ( Gee, don’t I wish! It is tough living on fixed income. Anyone have his number?)
- To be told that because I stand in solidarity with other women who have been sexually assaulted and harassed, I am either “trailer trash” according to Graham, or part of a radical mob ( McConnell.)
One thing my spiritual life has taught me is to have faith, show mercy and pray for God’s grace and provision.
What I have re-learned in the last two years is the power of my voice, my vote and my convictions.
What I have learned from history is that one never gives up and never gives in to a government that would suppress its citizens in any way.
Especially from a podium at a rally that has the air of a circus of hate, rage and derision.