At almost any protest event these days, you’ll hear the chant, “Tell me what democracy looks like. This is what democracy looks like.”
Unfortunately, the targets of our protests—the new US federal government that came into power in January—show us almost every day what democracy DOESN’T look like. It’s looking more and more like dictatorship.
The list of every bad thing the government is doing would be far longer than would fit on a blog, but it’s important to keep the overall “doubleplusungood” (as George Orwell coined it in his antitotalitarian classic 1984) trend in mind. A reminder of a few lowlights:
- Attempts to silence scientists and employees who don’t toe the party line, at the EPA and other government agencies
- DT’s instant removal of the pages about climate change, healthcare, LGBT and civil rights from the White House website on the very day of the inauguration
- Constant attacks on journalists (beginning well before the election) and false claims about reportage: a claim that the press doesn’t report terrorist acts, and an equally ridiculous accusation that the press had undercounted attenders at his inauguration, to name to among many
- Bullying and name-calling against the Republican judge who overturned the Muslim immigration ban—another tactic that started before the election
- DT’s bizarre, utterly unsubstantiated, and oft-repeated allegation that 3 million undocumented immigrants (not permitted to vote, of course) illegally voted for Clinton. Let’s spend a bit of time on this: Not by coincidence, that is roughly the number by which DT lost the popular vote. At first I thought it was just the ravings of a narcissistic maniac. But yesterday, I read a provocative analysis by voter disenfranchisement experts Harvey Wasserman and Bob Fitrakis, who speculate that it’s much more sinister: a weapon to be used to disenfranchise many more (likely-Democratic) voters, especially those of color. And the plot thickens when we discover that the man who first made the claim is registered to vote in three states—and that five senior DT advisors or family members also have multiple registrations.
- A Senate whose Republican majority has gone toady, backing up a series of draconian measures and horrific appointments on party lines, despite nominees’ overt lack of qualification—six of his picks have zero experience in government—resistance to disclosing potential ethics conflicts and finances, and severe hostility to the departments they are supposed to head (only in the nomination of DeVos for Secretary of Education did exactly two Republicans break away—three were needed to block the appointment)—and despite the opposition to DT’s tactics many Republican leaders expressed during the primary season last year
- These same Senators silenced Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren as she attempted to read a statement by the late Coretta Scott King (MLK’s widow) about the racist history of DT’s nominee for Attorney General
- Ramrodding the Dakota Access Pipeline approval through the Army Core of Engineers, even though the ACE had just ordered a two-year environmental impact review
- A general attitude that the law doesn’t apply to him because he is the president—a position that even Richard Nixon wasn’t able to get courts to support, and Nixon had an actual voter mandate that DT lacks. This shows itself in a host of issues from refusal to disclose his taxes to violations of the Emoluments Clause.
As I said, I could go on for a long time. The above is not even close to a comprehensive list. Even the right-wing site LearnLiberty sees DT as a serious threat to our liberties.