An article by John Samuel Tieman: It can't happen here

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12 Punto 14 Punto 16 Punto 18 Punto presents the article "It can't happen here" by John Samuel Tieman.

Maximilian Robespierre is best remembered for his role in The Terror of the French Revolution. His delusions about his place in French society, hubris in a word, became his undoing. Say what you will about Robespierre's violence, but say also that he welcomed the “Declaration Of The Rights Of Man”, supported universal suffrage, opposed slavery. Donald Trump is no Robespierre. He doesn't have Robespierre's political imagination. He does resemble the Frenchman in one sense. There is violence in Trump's politics. Unleashing such violence may well undo the former president. Will such violence eventually undo the United States Constitution?

Trump fomented insurrection. He pandered to conspiracy theorists. He's a racist, a xenophobe, a misogynist. One of his first acts in office was the “Muslim ban”. He was impeached – twice. For all that, his support for four years stayed fixed at about 40% of all Americans. A recent CNBC survey found that 74% of Republicans want the former president to stay active in the party, and 48% want him to remain head of the Republican Party.

But Trump's sway is waning. You see it in many places. He was actually booed at one of his own rallies when he encouraged his followers to “Take the vaccines.” The former president was also denounced by one of his biggest supporters, talk show host Alex Jones, who called Trump a “dumb ass.” His followers hoped that he would be “reinstated” as president in August. In Arizona, a Republican “audit” of the 2020 election is ending inconsequentially. Four top Trump supporters, all notoriously anti-mask and anti-vaccine, radio hosts Phil Valentine, Marc Bernier, Jimmy DeYoung, and Dick Farrell, died of COVID-19. This list could go on and on, but the general direction is clear. Trump's sway is waning.

What comes next? The Republican Party could reset to its pre-Trump positioning. That seems highly unlikely. Dwight Eisenhower and Richard Nixon would be unelectable today. A much more likely scenario is that the Grand Old Party will become regional, the party of the South and the Midwest.

Then there possibly is this nightmare. As the popularity of Trump wanes, a power vacuum emerges on the extreme right. The nightmare scenario is that the Republican Party becomes dominated by folks who are today the lesser Donald Trumps. There is one thing for which we can be grateful. The January 6th insurrection was incompetent. What if a similar insurrection was competently instigated by far-right Republicans like Senators Josh Hawley of Missouri and Ted Cruz of Texas? What if it was coordinated militarily by the likes of former National Security Advisor, and QAnon advocate, Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn? Mike Flynn once called upon his former boss, Donald Trump, to "exercise the Extraordinary Powers of his office and declare limited Martial Law to temporarily suspend the Constitution”. Consider those words alongside this excerpt from a speech by Congressman Madison Cawthorn, a Republican from North Carolina. On August the 29th, he said, “If our election systems continue to be rigged and continue to be stolen, then it's going to lead to one place, and that's bloodshed.” He continued, “As much as I am willing to defend our liberty at all costs, there is nothing I would dread more than having to pick up arms against a fellow American.”

Some will say my nightmare is alarmist. I truly hope I am simply wrong. However, there is good reason to be aware of and prepare for, the worst. Shouldn't we take seriously the words of a congressman and a general? We really need to pause for “declare limited martial law” and “pick up arms against a fellow American.” We also need to pause for anyone who says, “It can't happen here.” Why? Because in Berlin during 1932, someone surely must have said, “It can't happen here.”

2021.09.13 / 11:14
John Samuel Tieman
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