Monday, December 11, 2017

it's not "Godwin's Law" when...

It seems a long time ago, yet it was only a little over a year now, when I drew this comic. Even then I was afraid of what this might become.   It isn't lost on me that now there are crowds cheering as Trump does everything they claimed they were afraid Obama would do:  dismantle government, seize more power, destroy the middle class.

This, by the way was drawn before the infamous Nazi salute at the "Alt right conference"

But we're seeing more and more of the type of oppression and division in the country as we saw pre WWII.   Remember, Hitler's rise in Germany was the product of economic oppression after WWI.  The German people needed someone to blame, and a hero to say "who cares what the rest of the world thinks?  Who cares what we're told we're ALLOWED to do?  We're gonna do what's right for US!"... us, in that case, being the Aryan people. 

and now we're seeing the same kind of blame game.  Trump and his ilk are pointing the finger at immigrants, gays, and Blacks.  Hate crimes, not legitimized by Trumpism, are on the rise.

Roy Moore is just the latest manifestation of all this. Here is a guy, supported by Trump, who not only has "dated" underage girls, but want's to roll back ALL of the amendments to the constitution, save the first ten.

Let's be clear on what that means:
  • This would allow slavery again (13th amendment abolished slavery)
  • This would deny the rights of Blacks to vote (15th amendment allowed Black males to vote)
  • The people would no longer have the right to elect their own senators (as allowed by the 17th amendment)
  • Women would lose the vote (19th amendment gave women the vote)
  • Presidential term limits would be abolished (they were set forth in the 22nd amendment)
  • Poll taxes would return, prohibiting the poor from voting (prohibited by the 24th amendment)
  • The chain of succession to the presidency in case of impeachment, death, or disability would be eliminated (it's outlined in the 25th amendment)
  • Congress can increase and collect said increase in their salaries pretty much at will (prohibited in the 27th)
Moore is not yet in a position where he can do all of this, even if elected, but the fact of the matter is, THIS is an ideology shared by too many individuals in this nation, and perhaps Trump himself, since he's a big supporter of Moore, and very much the direction the nation is moving in as a whole, despite local victories on state levels in several states.

Right now, Trump's approval rating sits at 32%.  It's easy for the left to smirk at that, to assume that this isn't going to give him, or the republicans, any power going forward.  That is a mistake.  It's the same mistake that allowed Trump to gain the White House.  We live in a nation where less than 60% of eligible voters actually vote.  Those who do, generally have very strong feelings, and there is very little stronger than the frenzy of extremism.    Those 32% who approve can drive the nation, if the 68% who don't approve continue to sit back.

I have always wondered how hate and extremism came into power in Nazi Germany.  Now I'm seeing it happen first hand.

There are still protests, still marches, and still popular actions against Trump, but they're losing steam.  The media isn't big on covering them.  They are "old news".  We're putting on our pink pussy cat hats and screaming into the void.  What we NEED to be doing is activating voters.   We've seen a bit of that in the November elections, a change in the tide on state and local levels.   But with Republicans still in control, we can't count on that to continue.  Gerrymandering will put a damper on future elections.

At the same time, we're being hit with a flood of disinformation.  It's starting to feel a lot like 1984.  First we hear that a lot of our social media for the last several years... on both the right and the left side of the political aisle, has been influenced by Russian operatives, then we're dealing with a president who calls every report he doesn't like "fake news" and finally there IS fake news coming out of trusted media outlets, like the recent misrepresentation of the crowd at the Trump Rally in Florida recently.

Perhaps, in many ways, this was intended as an act of resistance, a way to undermine the president. If so, it was ill conceived, because it has only added to the confusion and distrust, and undermines the reality that there ARE large groups of fanatics out there who are willing to put America through hell to purge in some sort of holy fire and make it a white supremacist nation.  The loss of a credible media will only serve that goal. 

In the end the Party would announce that two and two made five, and you would have to believe it. It was inevitable that they should make that claim sooner or later: the logic of their position demanded it. Not merely the validity of experience, but the very existence of external reality, was tacitly denied by their philosophy. The heresy of heresies was common sense. And what was terrifying was not that they would kill you for thinking otherwise, but that they might be right. For, after all, how do we know that two and two make four? Or that the force of gravity works? Or that the past is unchangeable? If both the past and the external world exist only in the mind, and if the mind itself is controllable—what then?
- George Orwell, 1984
It's important to note, none of this is really new. Orwell saw the possibility in 1949. I was talking about it to a friend in Poland back in the mid 90s.  Honestly, I never thought it would happen in my lifetime, but I did my best to prepare my kids, because I figured it would happen in theirs.

And now here we are.  The poor and the elderly are about to be crushed under a new Republican tax bill that will take money from the hands of the middle class and poor and put it in corporate CEOs pockets.   And now they're coming for Social Security, and Medicare, items that are paid for directly by wage-earners from their earnings as an investment/insurance for their futures.

Considering that most Americans can't rent an apartment on a 40 hour a week job, and NO one can afford a one bedroom apartment at fair market value on 40 hours per week at minimum wage, the loss of programs like medicaid and the affordable care act are going to result in more than inconvenience.  People are going to die from lack of treatment.  More people will be homeless at a time when we already have more people homeless since the Great Depression.  With cuts to HUD, we can expect to see more people who rely on various programs to assist in rent payments or to provide affordable rentals ending up on the streets.

All of this serves to beat down the populace, to take power from the people and put it in the hands of those already at the top: politicians and corporate and religious "donors" who fund them and drive their policies.

It's been a long time since I've written a purely political post.  Mostly because I wanted this blog to be a kind of sanctuary.  Also because I, like everyone else who's been even marginally active in the resistance, am afraid of how far the government will go to silence the resistance.  I've been more than a little suspicious since Trump ordered voter information which identifies individuals and their voting history, especially since the "voter fraud issue" has been laid to rest by multiple investigations.

Of course, I don't have the same level of risk or fear personally than those of targeted demographics.  I'm not going to go out and be shot in the street by police officers because of the color of my skin. Nor am I likely to be threatened because of my religion or ethnic identity, and denied fair treatment in America's courts as a result.  And I'm unlikely to be deported.

And while ICE raids and deportations continue, it's important to look back and see that this is NOT the first time this has happened, and that we are reliving a history we ought to be ashamed of.

I am very aware of my privilege in all of this.  Really, all I have to do is keep my head down and my mouth shut, and I'll get through this.  It would be hard, but it would be doable.  But that's exactly the mindset that allows this all to come to pass the same way it did in Nazi Germany. It's the same way people allow it to continue.
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Socialist.Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Trade Unionist.Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Jew.Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
~Martin Niemöller

1 comment:

Andrew Elliott said...

Hey there! I'm a first-time reader, and I just want to say that I found this post very insightful. I don't live in the US, but I am afraid for the many Americans I know who live there and are at risk in the current political climate that seems to only be worsening there. I also feel like you have a great point about inactive voters (and by extension apathy); while apathy can result in a fairly content society given the right conditions, it also makes it a complacent one. The apathetic person is one who, as long as they are not personally affected, forfeits their voice and removes themselves from the democratic process.

The silver lining to this is that an apathetic populace can also be a sign of disinterest in the political process, which is not necessarily a bad thing depending on the politicians and the policies in play. It could be that having the right candidates succeed in future elections would help remedy this problem, but how would potential voters know who the "right" candidates are? The challenge is to actually inform and engage with potential voters and lead them away from apathy and indifference, hopefully enough to encourage a consistently high voter turnout. This can be a challenging hurdle to overcome, but accomplishing this goal will be important for the US and other countries facing similar troubles moving forward.

All I can really say on the matter, is that it is important to hang in there. I really enjoyed reading your post; it was very well-researched, and I personally feel that it ends on a powerful note. Nice work!