A blog to give a voice to our concern about the continued erosion of our democratic processes not only within the House of Commons and within our electoral system but also throughout our society. Here you will find articles about the current problems within our parliamentary democracy, about actions both good and bad by our elected representatives, about possible solutions, opinions and debate about the state of democracy in Canada, and about our roles/responsibilities as democratic citizens. We invite your thoughtful and polite comments upon our posts and ask those who wish to post longer articles or share ideas on this subject to submit them for inclusion as a guest post.
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Sunday, February 26, 2017

The Twit and the Future of Democracy in the U.S.

With a blog focused upon democracy my regular readers may have been wondering how I could not write about the real and ongoing threat to democracy occurring to the south of us with the installation of a authoritative but unstable narcissist elected president. I simply don’t know what to say that has not already been said and am still in a state of disbelief that so many people can be so brainwashed as to elect such an obvious racist twit.

That said I came across this article (extracts) from The New Yorker written back in November a few days after the election which pretty much predicts his future actions and makes some uncomfortable comparisons.
Whilst his policy's may appal many of us the recent attack upon the press and his constant use of 'alternative truth' is much more troubling with regard to American democracy.

(The Twit) sailed to the presidency on . . . lies and exaggerations, and there’s no reason to think he’ll discover a new commitment to the truth as president,” Stephen Walt, the Harvard foreign-policy realist, writes in a new article in Foreign Policy. “The American people cannot properly judge his performance without accurate and independent information, and that’s where a free and adversarial press is indispensable.”

But, as he demonstrated during the campaign, he is also perfectly willing to attack journalists personally, boycott shows that run segments he doesn’t like, and bar entire news organizations from covering him. Through his Twitter and Facebook accounts, he has a personal “fake news” network with enormous reach, which he can use to circumvent the mainstream media. And in Steve Bannon, his former campaign C.E.O. and now his chief strategist, he has a skilled and unscrupulous propagandist.

The comparison with pre-war Germany has been made by a number of observers and cannot be dismissed.

 Referring to Franz von Papen, the conservative German politician who, in January, 1933, persuaded President Hindenburg to appoint Hitler as Chancellor, Hans-Joachim Voth, an economic historian at the University of Zurich, wrote recently, “the Republican leadership sounds awfully like former Vice Chancellor von Papen and friends. They famously thought of Hitler as the ‘drummer’—a populist whose appeal was useful to them but could be controlled easily.”

Is The Twit a Fascist? Probably not, but some of those with whoom he has surrounded himself almost certainly are and his actions certainly give us a warning as to what is to come.

History, as always, is less a guide than a series of warnings. Fascism was built on the ruins of the First World War, the collapse of the interwar economy, and the failure of democratic political systems to come to terms with these catastrophes. Fascists were also able to exploit a widespread antipathy toward democracy in important institutions, such as the military, the government bureaucracy, and big business organizations. To some extent, Hitler and Mussolini were pushing on an open door. When the ultimate crisis arose, the German and Italian establishments persuaded themselves that they could bring the enemies of democracy into government and hem them in. Of course, once the fanatics gained control of the state apparatus, or parts of it, they used it to consolidate power and eliminate their opponents and erstwhile allies.

I fear that unless he and his 'Alt Right' cabinet and advisers are reigned in quickly that democracy as the American people know it will be but a part of history, the door leading away from it is already unlocked.

The big unknown isn’t what (The Twit) will do: his pattern of behavior is clear. It is whether the American political system will be able to deal with the unprecedented challenge his election presents, and rein him in.

(Note, I refuse to feed the Twits ego, and that of his cheer leaders, by printing his name in this article)

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Owen Gray said...

I recently watched the documentary, "Hitler -- A Career" on Netflix, Rural. There are deeply troubling similarities between Trump's rise to power and Hitler's rise.

Rural said...

Whilst I am no historian Owen, I am very much aware that Hitler came to power in a populist way by fooling both the parliament and the people in a similar way to the Twit.

Alan Goodhall said...

"The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich" by William Shirer is an enlightening look at the rise of fascism in Germany from a journalist's perspective rather than that of the historian.
Shirer was a correspondent in Germany until banished in '41.
The parellels of pre world war ii to today are disturbing.
It's worth the read.

Rural said...

We can but hope that the parallels do not lead to similar results Alan!