I’m not alone in what I’m about to point out. People with far greater audiences, skill sets and insights are publishing articles daily that inform and forewarn. Yet, I would be remiss if I didn’t lend my voice to the chorus of genuine concern.
I grew up reading about the Red Scare this country went through in the late 1940s until the late 1950s. I know about Senator Joseph R. McCarthy and the House Un-American Activities Committee, the blacklists in businesses and films and the hysteria that gripped so many back then. In some very real way, it was like a collective PTSD experience from the horrors of World War II. Not all the threats were imaginary but the general population was jumpy, hypersensitive and over reactive. We were easily manipulated and often misled.
I, like many in the generations that have come since, thought/hoped this period was a lesson learned and would never repeat itself. Now, I’m not so sure.
But I’d like to take us back even further in time. We’ve all seen the documentaries about the rise of the dictators and fascists in different countries during the 1930s. The question we frequently ask out loud concerns the average citizen, the general population: How could so many people believe what these men were saying? Were they complicit or were they simply cowered? Were they followers or fools?
Is there really a difference in the end?
There are a lot of ‘d’ words being used these days: despot, dictator, demagogue and demented. These are but a few. I’ve looked them all up again in a dictionary to refresh my grasp of their meaning and usage.
It’s alarming how closely they apply to the Republican candidate. He’s not in office but he is clearly telling us every day what he would do if he were.
To tell ourselves that he doesn’t mean what he is saying or that he will become responsible when the time comes is to completely ignore the horrors that have come at the hands of men like this before.
Here’s the thing: Donald has thought these things and felt this way about the world and people for as long as he can remember. I have no doubt that he has been espousing them privately to friends, socially at dinner parties and publically at business events. Never before, however, have these thoughts and feeling been encouraged or applauded. They were, most likely, politely received but never seriously challenged due to the nature of the monied elite not to burn bridges needlessly.
Donald’s decision to run for President was a PR move with no downside. If he were soundly thrashed, he could easily claim that he wasn’t in it for real. If he did moderately well, he could ride it for all of the publicity. No serious money of his would be at risk ever. If he ran short of donors, he would just as quickly run out of resolve.
And the unthinkable happened. His loose talk, his half-baked ideas, his impossible to implement promises, his arrogant school yard bullying found an audience!!! Donald is so giddy about this that he is actually starting to believe in his own bullshit…If so many others are buying his nonsense, he is beginning to believe that he might just be on to something. Maybe his time has come. Maybe he can vindicate himself to all of those dinner party guests and society types who gave him nothing but sideways glances.
But make no mistake, his audience does not include many people that he would actually dine with, or socialize with, or care to spend a dime on. He only wants their vote and then they’ll be disposable…”You’re fired” once you’ve served your purpose. His history is crystal clear about this.
It’s a classic demagogue…classic ruthless dictator syndrome…classic mental illness.
deflect-obscure-attack…deflect-obscure-attack…and with each attack, escalate.
Never admit the validity of any other point of view besides your own and, if you’re cornered somehow, claim that you’ve been misunderstood or misrepresented by the press and say something else…
I realize that many of my fellow citizens long for a simpler time with black and white solutions. But that time never existed!!! Things have always been challenging. Good people have always had to summon up their courage and resist the drumbeats of fear, prejudice and hatred.
It’s time again.