“And now what is better, that our fatherland should be a Republican or a monarchical state?...Ask the rich for the solution, and they will love an aristocracy best, ask the people and they prefer a democracy; only the kings prefer a monarchy. How then is it possible that almost the whole globe is governed by monarchs?... But, truly, the real reason is…that men are very rarely worthy to govern themselves.”
– Voltaire, 1745
“…once fascists came to power in Germany and Italy, they overrode their conservative sponsors and (de)faulted on the ‘social welfare’ promises they had made (to) their supporters in the masses. This was an eventuality which neither the conservative elites nor the bewildered mass electorates could have foreseen.”
– Hayden White, 1967
“No people is inherently evil. On this occasion (1933-1945) the Nazis happened to be Germans, but nobody is going to convince me that it couldn’t have happened just as easily in England. Or France. Or the USA, come to that.”
– Henning Mankell, 2000
“For me, American democracy is, as Woodrow Wilson put it, a ‘sacred mystery.’…Democracy, I came to realize, worked only if people assumed their responsibility as citizens. If they didn’t act, the monied interests controlled the process. If they took the initiative, our history showed that they could change the country’s direction…No one of us is an island, even in a country as big as America.”
– U.S. Senator Bill Bradley (D-NJ), We Can All Do Better, 2012
“You will never get 60 votes in the (U.S.) Senate for ‘free’ education.”
– Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) to Rachel Maddow, 12/19/18
As the Conservative/Reactionary swindle, now the Republican Party of President Donald Trump, begins to drown in the Democratic “Blue Wave” of November 6, 2018, it is worth noting that Adolf Hitler did not destroy democracy in Weimar Germany in 1933. It had already been destroyed a few years before by combined efforts of Reactionaries, citing “Conservative values,” and Nihilists of the Left and Right, whose beliefs that “nothing really mattered” were acted out in violent objections to the rule of law and anything, or anybody, they didn’t like.
The Nazis and Fascists of yesteryear took advantage of the chaos and destruction resulting from World War I (1914-1918), which was launched by the “One Percent” of their time, a few men in high places trying desperately to hang on to their real and imagined privileges against forces of democracy that were challenging them for their grip on power.
The “One Percent” of our time are divided between those, like the Koch Brothers and Vladimir Putin, who want to go back to the good old days of American Robber Barons and Tsarist Autocracy, and those, like former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Omaha, Nebraska’s “Sage of Wall Street,” Warren Buffet, who find it only reasonable to include democratic values, practices, and personnel in the 21st century marketplace of men, women, and ideas.
Not being a card-carrying member of the “One Percent,” and being snowed in on the day after Christmas in Mandan, I thought it best to consult my KGB Huskies and their fellow canines who have been sniffing around elite types, real and surreal, for many years.
High Plains Reader: Hello old friends! Today’s blizzard helps me get the feel of President Trump’s government shutdown of the past week. Thank you for keeping me company!
Putin: You live in North Dakota. Your State and local governments function just fine, regardless of what Trump imagines he is doing to you. Relax!
HPR: I know. I was just vainly trying to imagine the sense of helplessness of those who go without pay because of the shutdown; not to mention those asylum seekers on our southern border, on whom our President has, in effect, declared war.
Rasputin: Trump doesn’t make war on those who can fight back if he can help it. His problem is that he was arrogantly stupid enough to actually take the Presidential Oath of Office, and thereby acquire enemies who really could fight back. These enemies are powerful enough to prove him a fraud, even to members of his own, so-called “base.”
Lena: A critical number of Trump voters in 2016 voted for him, not because of racism or misogyny, but because they knew that government wasn’t working for ordinary folks of either gender or any color. That didn’t mean that they didn’t want the government to work “at all.”
Mr. Swamp Fox: And once Trump, and the Republican Congress under Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan, conspired to make income inequality, and the national deficit even worse with their Fat Cat Tax Bill, voters struck back on November 6, 2018, by delivering the House of Representatives, the most democratic of our Constitutional bodies, to a more diverse set of Democrats, or Americans, than our Republic has ever seen.
HPR: But the Senate?!?
Putin: The Senate remains in the hands of the Republican Party until at least 2020, but not necessarily in the pocket of President Trump. Trump may not think he has anything to lose by keeping the government shut down, but Republican Senators do their seats.
Rasputin: Pundits who complain that small population States like North Dakota have an undemocratic representation of 2 Senators each compared to 2 Senators allotted to large States like California, are correct as far as simple math is concerned. But they miss the point of our Constitutional compromise of 200+ years ago, which still holds true today. That was a matter of “Political Math.” A key faction among your Founding Fathers feared the tyranny of large populated States like Virginia over smaller populated States like Delaware as much as they did kings, like Great Britain’s George III. It is “representation” that mattered then, and matters now: not just a case of rule based on who gets the most votes at any given time; not just representing the cities where food is consumed, but also the rural areas where food is produced and harvested.
Putin: The same goes for the Electoral College. It may seem undemocratic in terms of the simple math of the popular vote, but it is much more “representative” in the sense of different regional areas of the United States having a powerful say in who becomes President, or which Party dominates in Congress. Voters in Wisconsin, Michigan, Kansas, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and elsewhere, proved this by choosing Republicans in 2016 and Democrats in 2018.
HPR: Donald Trump doesn’t care about representing anyone but himself.
Lena: True enough, but most Americans have more modest and less selfish ambitions than that. They simply want economic fairness, protection against medical catastrophes, and educational opportunities for themselves and their children.
Mr. Swamp Fox: And, unlike after World War I, the “Best” DO have convictions in 2018/19. The Center IS holding in the United States, France, Germany and in other powerful sectors of the free world. It is only in the bleak and cynical imaginings of “fun and profit” nihilists like Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, and Congressman Jim Jordan (R-OH) and fevered reactionaries like the Koch Brothers and Congressman Steve King (R-IA) that such a Center, with its overwhelming numbers of awakened women, is perceived to be on the Left. Democrats need not to be nervous. They just need to, in baseball terms: “show no fear, and throw strikes!”
Rasputin: And Trump, unlike Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, or other nihilists from the post World War I generation, is a physical coward. No balls. No spine when the going gets tough. Just a raging ego, and enough intelligence to realize that this time he really is in deep shit.
Kim Dog Un: Vladimir Putin may have outsmarted himself. In 1941, Admiral Yamamoto warned the Japanese High Command that had ordered him to attack Pearl Harbor that they were making a terrible mistake in waking up the sleeping giant of American Democracy. Putin’s cyber Pearl Harbor of 2016 has done just that, as Americans wake up to the fact that even homegrown thefts of elections are no longer tolerable, much less the manipulations of your ballot choices by foreign Dictators. Putin’s backing of Trump is accelerating America’s egalitarian evolution, one more time, towards the world’s “last, best hope” that caused the fall of the Berlin Wall, and Putin’s cherished Soviet Union a generation ago; the objections, and roadblocks of his playmate in the White House and a Republican “Politburo” in Congress notwithstanding.
Lena: And “Obamacare,” (ACA) is now the choice of an overwhelming number of Americans in the Red States as much as Blue Ones. It will happen in some form and under some kind of name. It won’t be “free,” but it will underpin a more successful democracy. The advances of the New Deal, Square Deal, Great Society, Civil Rights, and Women’s Rights were always more about applied common sense than “left-wing” social experimentation.
HPR: You mean if Democrats are smart enough to go back to the future with an “Affordable Education Act” they can avoid snatching defeat from the jaws of victory?
Mr. Swamp Fox: As long as women like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) are in charge of this country’s fate, and men like Donald Trump are not, they will. Happy 2019!!
March 6th 2019
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February 21st 2019
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February 6th 2019
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