When I heard Joe Biden say Putin cannot remain in power I was delighted that he had the guts to say what every sane person was already thinking. And I am glad he did not apologize for saying what he did. Fallout be damned! Putin is a monster. Fortunately the Russian military is being out fought and out maneuvered by the Ukrainians. Putin is making many of the same strategic and tactical errors that Hitler made. Unless something big changes, this war will bring him down over time as EU and US sanctions grind away at the Russian economy, severely impairing the economic future of Russia, and the Russian military is exposed as far less capable than many believed. The Russian people are eventually going to learn that this war was ignited by Putin’s paranoia, their sons’ lives were thrown away –sent to kill brethren Ukrainians, and that they were consistently lied to by a national press that fed them nothing but garbage propaganda. As this disaster plays out, Putin will be forever seen as a failed leader and Russia will become a failed state. Putin is heading for a downfall.
A sane person would think that Trump would want to distance himself from this loser. Yet Trump, even now, cannot quit his codependent relationship with arguably the most despicable man on earth. Trump is begging for more help from Putin to once again conjure up some kinda BS dirt on Hunter Biden that could damage Joe Biden so Trump could win in 2024. But if Trump cannot wean himself from this evil bastard, Trump will go down with Putin.
Amoral. Nauseating. Inhuman. Monstrous.
It’s hard to find enough negative descriptors for the horror that Putin is inflicting on Ukraine. Formerly vibrant cities are being reduced to rubble and have become unliveable. Ukrainians trying to flee are being kidnapped and sent to Russian internment camps. The Red Cross is unable to help Ukrainians leave hard hit Mariupol because it is too dangerous. Russians are hijacking buses, shooting at random cars, and Russian missiles are falling everywhere: on hospitals, farms, apartment buildings, Holocaust memorials. In Bucha, a formerly upscale suburb of Kyiv, the Russians indiscriminately “shot everyone they saw” killing innocent civilians, raping women, and the dead have been piled into trenches for mass burial. Putin’s war is creating a dystopian hellscape out of a formerly vibrant democratic country. This is nauseating, amoral, inhuman, disgusting, monstrous, shocking. But this is also how a lot of dictators roll: Assad, Kim Jung Un, Hitler. Terror is the point.
When it comes to staying in power or gaining power dictators and wannabe dictators will do whatever the hell they want to do: bomb Ukraine into submission; kill innocent people trying to flee, bomb cities to rubble, blow up the Constitution, thumb their nose at rules and laws to protect Trump and get him back as president; hide the truth using propaganda and disinformation; use scare tactics to get people to buy into baseless conspiracy theories, get alt right religious people terrified about the end of the world to motivate them to vote for them.
Gaining and maintaining power is all that matters to them. Power is everything because once in power a dictator can do whatever he pleases. That means ultra wealthy people who are aligned with the powerful dictator can get what they want too. In our country the Kochs, the Mercers, the Uihleins and many others can get special treatment and get even richer like the oligarchs in Russia.
Democracies DON’T work well for greedy super rich guys. Democracy requires compromise and are rules based and rule of law based. Democracies ferret out corruption. Democracies have First Amendment rights and an independent press so that people can be accurately informed if they choose to be. Autocracies and dictatorships DO work for the monied class because they are far easier to corrupt and manipulate and get just what they want from the dictator in power.
Dictatorships are bad governments for the people who have to live in them, however. Yet many Americans seem to have little or no understanding of the value of having and keeping our democracy. Why does a form of government make a difference, they think. Some even believe that since democracies are messy and it’s hard to get things done, a dictator might be the perfect solution to the problem of getting stuff done. But think again. Living in a democracy is way way better for you and your family.
Why Does it Matter to YOU If You Live in a Democracy?
Living in a stable democracy leads to a longer and more fulfilling life, the data shows:
- Health: If you live in a democracy and are at least age 25, you’re likely to live 14 years longer than people in autocracies, a University of British Columbia study found. Babies in mature democracies are 78% less likely to die in childbirth.
- Wealth: Democratization boosts a nation’s wealth 20% over 25 years.
- Education: Democratization bumps citizens’ enrollment in secondary education by 70%.
Dictators gain and maintain power by using false information and fear mongering. As part of their fear mongering they create a sense of imminent terror based in fact but also in a paranoid revisionist reality that gets pushed out to gain power and support. This is happening in our country with Trumpian propaganda creating amped up fear on the right.
Ginni Thomas and Mark Meadows: Misplaced Amped Up Fear of Joe Biden
This terror, this sense of histrionic imminent danger, is reflected in the emails between Ginni Thomas and Mark Meadows that have come to light after the attempt by Trump and his allies to keep White House emails secret were forced into the light of day by another lawsuit brought by the January 6th Committee trying to obtain archived materials.
The messages — 29 in all — reveal an extraordinary pipeline between Virginia Thomas, who goes by Ginni, and President Donald Trump’s top aide during a period when Trump and his allies were vowing to go to the Supreme Court in an effort to negate the election results.
On Nov. 10, after news organizations had projected Joe Biden the winner based on state vote totals, Thomas wrote to Meadows: “Help This Great President stand firm, Mark!!!…You are the leader, with him, who is standing for America’s constitutional governance at the precipice. The majority knows Biden and the Left is attempting the greatest Heist of our History.”
When Meadows wrote to Thomas on Nov. 24, the White House chief of staff invoked God to describe the effort to overturn the election. “This is a fight of good versus evil,” Meadows wrote. “Evil always looks like the victor until the King of Kings triumphs. Do not grow weary in well doing. The fight continues. I have staked my career on it. Well at least my time in DC on it.”
Thomas replied: “Thank you!! Needed that! This plus a conversation with my best friend just now… I will try to keep holding on. America is worth it!”
Hmm. By the way who do you think Ginni Thomas’ best friend is? Any guesses? Could his first name be… Clarence?
These emails reflect the kind of deep desperation and fear also expressed by the rioters on January 6th as they stormed the Capitol looking for Mike Pence and Nancy Pelosi to kill or maim them as part of an actual coup that could have ended our democracy.
What was the big fear about Biden winning? It was an ambient fear of losing “everything”. If Biden were to become president then ALL would be lost.
Well Biden IS the president, and our country did not fall apart as predicted– which is always what happens when a cult predicts the end of the world. Hasn’t happened yet in the history of the world. But fear of the world falling apart is a huge and effective motivator. It drives votes and attacks on the Capitol and Russian acquiescence to a war in Ukraine.
Russian citizens have also been lied to to maintain support for Putin. They have been told their country is under seige from the West. Recent polls show he is gaining support in Russia. But do Russians really know what he is doing? Propaganda and lying runs so deep in Russia that Putin himself is not getting accurate information about the debacle in Ukraine when it comes to Russian soldiers. No one, including his military leaders, wants to tell Putin the truth for fear of the consequences.
The Global Fight for Freedom
We are in a global fight between freedom (democracy) v autocracy (dictatorship) and the autocrats are using every tool in the toolbox to try to win. Trump is part of this autocratic movement.
The rioters on January 6th really thought they were fighting for democracy. Not so. They were being manipulated to keep Trump in power the only way he could win after he lost a free and fair election. They were the tools of right wing conservatives who are doing their best to destroy our democracy.
Hey! Mainstream America, Wake up! We REALLY TRULY Could Lose Our Democracy!
What’s crazy is that it IS a desperate time in which all could be lost but not for the alt right. No. All could be lost for mainstream American instead.
Millions of Americans FEEL relatively safe because Biden, a centrist who would be happy to work across the aisle if the other side would just let him! is our sane, reasonable, caring, empathic president. People feel like normal is back. It isn’t. You might like to take a rest and forget about politics, but this is not the time to turn off your newsfeeds and sip your margaritas on a beach in Jamaica.
Because an empowered authoritarian movement is licking its collective chops readying themselves for their return to power in our country. Listen up! Do you really want Mark Meadows, Kevin McCarthy, Marjorie Taylor Green, Ted Cruz, Jim Jordan, maybe even that goofball Sarah Palin (yep, she’s running for Congress in Alaska) and a cast of hundreds more Trumpian sycophants running the show? The fringe of the GOP has become the mainstream GOP. Aren’t you fed up with all the fighting? Isn’t it better to have leaders who are moderate and want to keep our democracy and work to improve it?
What Could Stop the Loss of Our Democracy?
The real answer would be big systemic changes: universal voting and the end of the Electoral College would be a great start.
Universal voting would go far to create a one person one vote which would finally make America a true democracy. It would immediately eliminate the voter suppression laws being passed and stop voter roll purges. It would force the next generation to get to the polls even if they don’t see the relevance. It would force cynical Americans to participate and if the majority began to see the changes they want, then they might become less cynical. The Electoral College also creates opportunity to dilute one person one vote and skew the result in favor of the wolf in sheep’s clothing GOP. It would be great to do away with that too.
These two systemic changes would go far to solve the problem we have that the will of the majority is under-represented in our government and also, now, our Supreme Court. However, the GOP minority party which has become the party of Trump has the upper hand and will oppose those changes to the system because they would remove the baked-in-the cake advantage for them. So, I do not see these changes happening right away.
Realistically, the answer to the dilemma of 2022 being a sweep for authoritarianism (Trumpism) is to get out the vote for Democrats in the only areas of America that are still capable of swinging right or left: namely, the suburbs.
The Suburbs Will Be the Battleground for Our Democracy in 2022
Suburban women. And men. People in exurban (suburban but more rural areas) who are able to think beyond lock step Republican loyalty.
Read Doug Sosnik “America’s Suburbs: Ground Zero in 21st Century Politics”. Here is the link:
People living in the suburbs are generally more highly educated and informed. They don’t all watch Fox and listen to conservative talk radio 24/7. They are not as politically tribal. Many understand that Biden is doing a good job because he is a moderate and because he is not trying to be a celebrity. Biden is doing his best to make our lives better. Biden is trying to lower the price of gas, for example, by releasing reserves. He is not interested in culture wars or ramping up anger. Trump 2.0 would be the end of democracy and most educated people have figured that out by now.
Are Trumpy people finally coming around? Hard to tell. The canary in the coal mine could be three super right wing people I personally know who have been diehard Trump supporters through thick and thin. They have been unreflective apologists for him no matter what he has done. All three are finally no longer justifying his behavior. I thought the day would never come. The breaking point for them seems to be the war they are seeing on TV; similar to the effect of images of war from Viet Nam in the 60’s. When you see a war like this being waged against innocent people and you see it up close the way our reporters are covering it in Ukraine, it is totally repulsive. Gruesome. Amoral. Nauseating. Disgusting. And Putin is clearly to blame. It follows that Trump’s inability to wean himself off of Putin is likely to become the breaking point for other Trumpy apologists.
Unless Trump can jump off this sinking ship, he and other Republicans, Fox News hosts and right wing pundits who are supporting Putin will go down with Putin. Time will tell.