Few people enjoy parades more than I do. The sound of a marching band blaring out Sousa's "Stars and Stripes Forever", a company of men and women in uniform moving together in cadence, all that pomp and circumstance in celebration of our nation's first steps toward freedom and democracy. Who in their right mind could raise any objections to that? Certainly not me!
And yet I couldn't stand Donald Trump's jingoistic display of faux patriotism. Why? That's just it. There wasn't an ounce of genuine patriotism in that tawdry display. It wasn't about Cadet Bone Spur's warmest regard for his grandfather's adopted country. No, it was all about Donald Trump.
Let me suggest that this extravaganza represents the first step down the path to a Trumpian cult of personality, not unlike that of his bosom buddy Kim Jung Un. Basically Donald Trump wants to turn the United States into North Korea, writ large. His supporters might well ask what's wrong with that but the idea of the thing sends shivers down my spine. Why? Ask yourself this question, what kind of democracy can anyone find in North Korea? The simple answer is NO KIND! And isn't that the point?
Donald Trump thinks he can bamboozle us into voluntarily giving up our most precious commodity, our freedom. Our freedom? That's right. At the moment we have the ability to remove Donald Trump from office by the simple expedient of the ballot box. Let's say Donald Trump loses the 2020 election, but refuses to give up the Presidency citing the fact (at least in his mind!) that the election was somehow rigged against him. Let's say he revokes the Constitution, abolishes Congress, surrounds the White House with the Army and dares anyone to kick him out? What do we do then? Civil war? Far fetched? Maybe, but I wouldn't bet against its happening.
The military has more than its share of fanatical right-wing kooks who believe that civilians ought to be held to military standards of obedience. But we the people have always valued our freedom too much to let that happen, at least up until now. But what if we're not up to that fight anymore? It could happen. Trump's supporters could decide that democracy is too chancy, that the "wrong people" always seem to win elections. In their minds turning over supreme power to an egotistical despot "temporarily" is a gamble well worth taking. I mean, Donald Trump can't live forever, right? He'll die, we'll write a new Constitution, one that guarantees that only the "right" kind of people exercise power over us, and God will be in the heavens and all will be right with the world. But what if Trump bequeaths his power to his children, what do we do then? Before you know it American democracy will be a thing of the past.
Yes I know, it can't happen here. Wrong! Will we have the courage to resist armed troops in the streets? Will the lovers of freedom and true patriots take their guns out of there closets to resist such a takeover? Do we value democracy enough to die for it? We did once upon a time, but what about now? Will we be willing to take up arms against a sea of armed troops and despotic rule and in so doing end it? I for one think it's not such a sure thing.
I concede my little diatribe is as realistic as a cheap airport novel. More than likely Donald Trump wouldn't want to risk the consequences of failing in his attempt at becoming President For Life. But it's possible we lack the spine to stand up to such a bully. Democracy is messy and frustrating. There may come a time when we won't want to deal with its inefficiencies. It can happen. It's happened elsewhere. Just remember, democracy once lost may never be regained, it's THAT serious!!
Filed under: Politics