Thursday, July 4, 2024

We Must All Oppose Tyranny

Today is Independence Day. It commemorates the ratification of the Declaration of Independence by the Second Continental Congress on July 4, 1776, and the founding of the United States of America.

Per the National Archives, after listing the grievances the former colonies held against King George III, the Declaration states:

"A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people."

This year, 248 years after the Declaration, we the citizens of the United States will choose to continue having a President or elect a Tyrant.

Donald Trump is manifestly unfit for office. He is a convicted felon on 34 counts. Two more federal cases against him are ongoing. He has been found liable for sexual assault, and accused of multiple rapes and other disgusting acts. He is currently being sued for child rape. He possesses an absurd amount of financial conflicts of interest, and massive debts that make it simple for any foreign power to bribe him.

Far more importantly, he has already served a term in office and proven himself disastrous for the country. He packed the Supreme Court and federal benches with right-wing ideological judges clearly unfit for their positions. He ignored a pandemic and then actively spoke out against basic protective measures like masking and vaccinations, leading to a death toll of hundreds of thousands. His foreign policy involved withdrawing from numerous long-standing international agreements, covering everything from mutual defense, nuclear limitations and climate action, weakening America's influence worldwide and increasing the influence of dictatorial governments in our place. And his administration ended with a mob descending on the Capitol under a delusion that the election Trump lost had somehow been stolen from him, a view Trump has repeatedly encouraged, and attempting to overturn the election. Trump remains on trial for his role in those events.

This year, 248 years after our country was founded, we the citizens of the United States will choose remaining a Democracy or becoming a Dictatorship.

Trump is running on a platform of unapologetic fascism. He repeatedly called for violence against protesters, reporters, and immigrants during his first term, and has been vowing revenge on his political enemies since his felony convictions. He is campaigning on a platform of mass deportations, potentially deploying the National Guard or the military to execute them, and continuing the cruel detention camps of his first term. Most of the people coming to the border are asylum seekers, but Trump denigrates them as animals. His campaign is also talking openly about pulling back support for NATO and throwing Ukraine to Russia.

Many things Trump wants to do would in theory face resistance, or are in fact illegal. But this week the Supreme Court ruled that the President is immune from prosecution for "official acts", and provided a very broad range for that immunity. At the same time, Trump's supporters are pushing Project 2025, an agenda for Trump's first days in office that includes:

- Loyalty (to Trump) tests for government employees, mass firing of government employees under Schedule F and retraining along Christian conservative values

- Ending gay marriage and protections against discrimination for gay people

- Classifying transgender people as "predatory" and a threat to children

- Classifying transgender literature as pornography and registering educators and librarians as sex offenders for distributing it

- Reversing protections and reforms covering diversity, affirmative action, and accessibility

- Redirecting education funds away from public schools to private Christian schools

- Cut the Department of Education entirely

- Reverse Biden's student loan forgiveness and crack down on loan enforcement

- Criminalize asylum seekers and immigrants, round them up in mass camps, and execute mass deportations to countries in active conflict

- Reverse deterrence-only policy for missile and space defense

- Defund foreign aid groups not aligned with Christian values

- Reverse policies and defund programs aimed at protecting the environment

- Use the military to enforce domestic border security

- Remove federal funding for public broadcasting (too left-leaning) and make them pay regulatory fees

- Remove safety rules for food, animals, and large-scale farming

And so on and so forth. The point of all this, and the terrifying thing about it, is that Project 2025 involves mass replacement of long-standing, non-partisan government officials with Trump loyalists at every level of government. At the same time, the intent is to carry this out solely through Trump's authority as President, an authority that a Supreme Court packed with Trump loyalists is ready to rubber-stamp, having already proclaimed that Trump cannot be held criminally liable for any of these actions, no matter how many of them (i.e. the use of military force against civilians) are clearly illegal.

This year, 248 years after the birth of the United States of America, we its people must choose to support Liberty and reject Tyranny.

Every election is important! Every election is important. Every election is important and this one is very important.

Donald Trump is a monster. He is a fascist. He is a malignant narcissist on a revenge trip who spent his first term "joking" about being President for Life. He is not fit to deal with the challenges America is facing today or in the next four years. He has no interest or actively opposes dealing with the long term problems our children will face as the planet cooks.

What he is prepared to do, is to create a country that is no longer a democracy in any functional sense. A country where policy is dictated in favor of loyalists to the Republican party and against everyone else. Where all the money goes to the already-wealthy and everyone else gets bled dry. And most importantly, Trump's postured to end any ability for the public to peacefully vote against, speak out against, or resist these policies.

We are already far too close to falling into a failed democracy. Our two main political parties are so divided that Congress needs a supermajority to take any substantial legislative action. Executive actions are subject to court challenges that are ultimately decided by the Supreme Court, currently 6-3 in favor of the Republican Party with all of its members appointed for life. On top of that, the Electoral College heavily favors the Republican Party, so elections already need a heavy wave in favor of Democrats to give them a better than even chance of winning. A Republican win in 2024 will tilt the field even more heavily in their favor.

We need to vote against this, and then we need to do more. Biden winning the election is necessary but not sufficient. We need to vote in a Democratic Congress, both the House and the Senate. And then we need to vote in Democrats at local elections. Sheriffs. School board members. Governors. Local legislatures and judges.

And then we need to do more. The Democratic Party has already downplayed the threats we face for too many years. We need to write letters to our officials and demand pro-democracy reforms. We need to demand an end to the Electoral College. We need to demand an expansion of the Supreme Court back to a fair body. We need to demand climate action, police reform, immigration reform. We need to demand that the wealthy pay fair taxes, support unions, oppose mega corporations. If our officials won't listen, we need to vote in primary elections and make our desires known.

What we cannot do is hand the Republican Party more power. The two party system isn't bad when it operates in a fair democracy and representatives fairly represent their constituents. That isn't what the Republican Party wants. They do not view Democrats as legitimate. They do not view opposition to the Party as legitimate. They want one-party rule, and they have been increasingly open that they're willing to use violence to get it.

The Republican Party as it stands now cannot be permitted to control the government. Certainly not under Trump, who has made himself the focus of a fascist cult of personality.

This year, we can make it clear that another Trump presidency is not acceptable or tolerable to the American people. We must make that clear, because the alternative is four years of a government that does not and will not respect our democracy or the values our country was built on.

David Earle
July 4th, 2024

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