Wednesday, February 01, 2017

The Danger is on our side of the Wall

An article in the March issue of Atlantic magazine is must reading for anyone interested in opposing the regime of Donald Trump that is now assuming control over the machinery of the US government and the political and civic cultures that support it.

The huge and wonderful demonstrations — both organized and spontaneous — that have taken place over the past ten days have been heartening. They feed the spirits of those who wonder what is happening to our country at the top. But such demonstrations may not be the most effective ways of protest and resistance. They certainly cannot be the only ones.

What the Atlantic article — How to Build an Autocracy — offers is an understanding of the threats we are facing from Trumpism. Most vitally, it places those threats in the context of worldwide trends. September 11, 2001 was the day all Americans came to understand with tragic immediacy that the USA was not invulnerable to massive attacks from foreign terrorists. Author David Frum makes a compelling case that the threat to America’s democratic institutions and culture will not come neither with such startling clarity nor from abroad, but rather from an erosion of values that has already have begun around the globe and is infiltrating our society now.

If this were happening in Honduras, we’d know what to call it. It’s happening here instead, and so we are baffled.

I won’t say more here, both because the piece is somewhat lengthy [audio version here] and deserves to be read on its own terms, but mostly because also a close reading will offer an understanding of both the threats we face as a nation and a realization that we must thoughtful in what must be done to resist and defeat this incursion from within. 

Incidentally, Frum is no wild-eyed pointy headed liberal. He once served in the White House as a speechwriter for President George W. Bush.

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