Both sides have found common ground in the belief that this is the most important election of our lifetime – perhaps even in our nation’s history. Although I would argue that the elections of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln were arguable as or more important. In those two cases, the good folks won. We are yet to have an election where the terribly bad folks are poised to win.
Like the Covid-19 pandemic, the Democratic Party has been infected with the disease of big government authoritarianism. Oh, I know they call President Trump an authoritarian, but nothing in the actual record will support that claim. He has not declared any new wars as has his predecessor, President Obama – who was largely responsible for expanding and executing the longest war in American history without congressional consent. And that was after Obama got the Nobel Peace Prize. Even President Bush got the approval of Congress before committing troops to Iraq.
You need to recall that when the Democrats were clamoring for Trump to renew President Obama’s unconstitutional Executive Order regarding the Dreamers, he refused to do so – leaving that authority to the proper branch – the Congress.
The Democratic Party has historically been the party of a massive, powerful central government run by an elite class of powerful elected officials, a large regulatory bureaucracy and a compliant major news media. This is exactly what our Founders feared most when they enacted the Constitution. If you read the document, you will notice that the power and the freedoms were assigned to we the people – to be protected from … a big central government. They underscored their belief with the Tenth Amendment. Go read it.
Throughout American history, the autocrats have had a home in the Democratic Party – and they have had some victories that eroded the concept of personal freedom – and more importantly, the concept that the people govern rather than be ruled over by a permanent Washington establishment.
So why do so many people support these policies of oppression? The power of authoritarians rests on three pillars – taxpayer-funded enticements, control of education and information and the old standby, fear.
Taxpayer funded enticements
Benjamin Franklin explained it in the most direct and simple terms. He said, “When the people find that they can vote themselves money that will herald the end of the republic.”
In days gone by caring for those in need – temporarily or permanently — was carried out by the local communities – a bit by government but mostly by private organizations and religious institutions. The shift of these services to the federal government – where the people had the least influence – was an evergreen policy of the Democratic Party.
Voting money from Washington became the dominant economic policy of the 20th Century. It started under Democrat President Woodrow Wilson and congressional Democrats changed the constitution to enable the federal government to rake in increasing percentages of the wealth that taxpayers individually earn. Suddenly, Democrats had seemingly unlimited cash in exchange for votes.
And keep in mind that it has been Democrat policies too.
It is not just a matter of an abused and wasteful nationalized welfare system. Power and votes were purchased from businesses in the form of subsidies. Universities took up the Democrat’s big government narratives in the classroom in turn for those so-called “grants to education.” It is the money that flows from Washington to the several states and cities that has seduced the governors and mayors into surrendering power to Washington – glossing over the fact that the individual local taxpayer is funding the grants. It is just that the power of that money is shifted to the central government.
Divide the public
Recognizing that even a big government cannot fool all the people all the time, the authoritarian mode of government requires fooling and empowering a growing minority. That requires setting off one segment of society against another. That is why the Democratic Party is the primary advocate of the most divisive concepts since Democrats used slavery to divide the nation. They are political correctness and identity politics – both rejections of the Founders’ concept of e pluribus unum.
Rather than assimilate newcomers into a common, unifying and successful culture – even as it works to form a more perfect union – the authoritarians pit one group against another. There must be an enemy within. In today’s world it is the people who cherish personal freedom and limited government. The authoritarians have created a false and dangerous narrative of a great divide between white people and the amorphous conglomerate of so-called people of color. Of course, the enemy also includes any person of color who may hold a belief in personal freedom and limited government.
Control of information
Nothing is more critical to authoritarian rule than control of information. That includes education, entertainment and, above all, the news. Is there any doubt that these critical institutions are now in the hands of the authoritarians? They no longer teach, inform or educate. Those require a fullness of expression – a consideration of all views. But rather they proselytize narrow narratives. In a word, they propagandize.
Propaganda is not only the practice of presenting one view but censoring and blocking of alternative information and opinion. We see it today in America in what is called the “cancel culture.” It is just another term for the oppression of free speech.
Authoritarianism is governance by fear – fear of two types. The first is a fear of an enemy. People within the nation who are deemed to be a threat to the authoritarian agenda – and all it falsely promises to provide to supplicant masses. Perhaps, the best illustration is the Nazi pogrom against the Jewish community. But it is seen in the Chinese moves against freethinkers in Hong Kong, the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar and Kurds in the Middle East.
Authoritarian rule almost always descended into genocidal practices. That is not possible in a nation in which free expression is its foundation.
The second is the fear that without a benevolent autocracy, people will suffer any range of disasters. The authoritarian governments always present themselves as the protector of the people – albeit in exchange for submissive loyalty. It is the historic false choice of choosing between freedom and perceived security.
The 2020 election
Today, we face an authoritarian movement that is more powerful and more successful than any time in our history. While it has evolved over many generations, it may have – and appears to have – reached a tipping point with the extreme policies and platform of the current Democratic Party.
The Democrat propensity for one-party government is seen in the control that it gained in our major cities. There is a reason that the leaders of those metropolitan communities are often referred to as “the boss.”
As Democrat strategist Rahm Emmanuel once advised, “Let no crisis go to waste,” the left has created them and used them for political advantage. We see it in this election in which the entire authoritarian choir is singing one song – the Covid-19 pandemic. They are spreading fear and make that fear the ONLY consideration in electing our next president. We are not to consider personal freedom. We are not to consider our tax burden. We are not to consider the possible corruption of the Biden family. We are not to consider the economic well-being of the nation.
On the flip side, we are not to consider – and even know – of the popular accomplishments of the Trump administration. We are not to consider the importance of the unprecedented peace agreements between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan. The resurgence of the economy after the low point during the shutdown.
Every freedom-loving American should have grave concern over the likelihood that a Democrat administration would pack the courts – the Supreme Court and the lower federal courts – by ruthlessly increasing the numbers. They are poised to add both Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia as the 51st and 52nd states merely to gain more power in the Congress. What about Guam, the Virgin Islands and Samoa?
They plan to close down the Electoral College, which has protected the presidency from the tyranny of the legal profession and the courts they want to control – that would drag out presidential elections for months and years without the conclusive Electoral College.
They would end the filibuster to end the last remnants of minority power in the Congress. You will recall that it was Democrat Majority Leader who ended the supermajority vote requirement for federal judges. This stuff is in their political genes.
Ironically, we have a constitutional right to destroy the Republic. But once destroyed it is almost impossible to recapture without an uprising. Chicago has a strong council and weak mayor system, but Democrats have created a parallel operational system that enables the mayor to exert extraordinary powers. Following the fall of the Soviet Union, Russia enacted a democratic constitution, but that did not stop Vladimir Putin from seizing increasing power – and then changing the rules to gain absolute power.
Democrats do not believe in adherence to the words of the constitution – the specific freedoms it articulates. They call it a “living document” to be defined, redefined or even ignored according to their permanent empowerment agenda of the moment.
As well as anyone, I can see Trump’s weaknesses and his flaws. But I can also see his accomplishments. I can see upon which team he is playing. America faces the decision between a flawed leader with policies more in line with personal freedom and a cardboard candidate willing to give up those basic freedoms to a radical team for the personal pleasure of becoming President of the United States for one term.
I do fear that should Biden become President – and should Democrats take over the Senate – this may be the first election in American history from which the constitutional Republic set forth by our Founders may not endure.
I do not write this to change any votes. It is too late for that. This election has already been decided by the people – notwithstanding the anticipated legal battles over some votes. This commentary is just for posterity – for however long it may survive on the edge of the public record. I hope in that future, it will be viewed as terribly pessimistic and horribly wrong.
So, there ‘tis.