Democracy and self-government are difficult. Dictatorship is easy. This is why a well marketed and packaged dictatorship is alluring and enticing.
Permanent minority rule is dictatorship by another name.
There are two answers to the question: “Is America a democracy?”
Yes, but not exactly.
No, but not exactly.
See, I found something we can all agree on!
As an ex-Trump and DeSantis voter who is now a registered independent—and will vote Democrat straight down the ballot in November—I had a front-row seat to the GOP’s dictatorial designs and I was, quite frankly, politically traumatized.
The politically traumatized are particularly susceptible to mistaking dictatorship for freedom, and the Republican Party knows this.
What does an Americanized dictatorship look like? The GOP does not have a majoritarian political product; its MO is permanent minority rule. I’ll say it again. Permanent. Minority. Rule.
Pay close attention, and you’ll note that revisionist historian Republicans are fond of making the inaccurate assertion that America is not a democracy, but a republic; we are both, and the Founders instituted a complex form of majority rule to potentially safeguard against a tyranny of the majority.
Methinks Jefferson, Hamilton and Madison would admonish said Republicans to read those dusty, never-opened pocket U.S. Constitutions they carry everywhere on their purses.
Yes, the Framers were opposed to a “pure,” Grecian form of direct democracy, and were historically well-aware that such democracies—as John Adams wrote in 1814—always commit suicide, and murder themselves; however, nowhere in our Constitution—or any of our founding documents, and Founders’ writings—will one find a single syllable championing the alleged features and benefits of permanent minority rule.
Book bans, state retaliation against political opponents, government abridging the free speech rights of companies, undermining electoral outcomes and the rule of law—this is how dictatorship creeps in, like a slow drip, drip, drip, leak.
America the Democratic Exception
In the most accurate definition of the word, the U.S. is exceptional in that we are the only example in world history of a multi-racial, multi-ethnic, multi-religious (including freedom from religion), diverse, tolerant republic/democracy hybrid in which the people directly participate in government representation and commerce which just so happens to be the world’s most powerful military and the largest economy by Gross Domestic Product.
The GOP’s modern-day offering since the 1970s has been tailored for male, heterosexual, Christian Caucasians.
Is it making more sense why the GOP knows its only pathway to power is permanent minority rule? I often ask: what, precisely, are political conservatives trying to conserve? Christian theocracy, a desire to reverse gay marriage rights and making voting more difficult, as examples, are contractions of freedoms, not expansions.
RELATED CONTENT: THE TOXIC IDENTITY POLITICS OF THE GOP
Maintaining and advancing a free society is really, really hard; it mandates that a demographically and politically diverse phalanx of leaders engage those who don’t look like them, weren’t born in America, and pray differently (or don’t pray at all).
No, he wouldn’t have been as uniting as President Obama but had Trump moderated as President, maybe, just maybe, he might have adopted a mindset of President for all, not for some. On second thought, probably not.
If Trump and Trump’s mimickers spent the next few months touting dictatorship as superior to democracy, we’d begin to see T-shirts proudly announcing, “I’m a Trump serf.” I don’t need this to happen to prove it would, because I have thousands of years of evidence to buttress my claim that societies, over time, always trend toward dictatorship.
What the Trumps and DeSantises know about their bases is that once their acolytes designate them as political messiahs, there is little need to worry about candor and accountability; with every act and every statement, they will be greeted with, “yes, sir.”
Being ruled over is easy; the often-frustrating work of self-government is far more difficult, and those who are ignorant about the difficulties of democracy and progress—and are stuck in their own self-exacerbating cycles of unhealed political traumatization—tend to gravitate to strongmen like Trump and DeSantis.
My one-time inability to recognize this was a major reason for my support of Trump and DeSantis; now, I work to bring good news to the afflicted, to help heal America, via my organization, Listen. Lead. Unite.
For most living Americans, our current epoch is the closest we’ve gotten to dictatorship, save, perhaps, for those who fled despotic nations (although, even some who hail from dictatorial nations find attractive, and comforting, Americanized dictatorship).
Dictatorship always lurks; it’s lurked from Day 1 of our republic: the contested Presidential election of 1800 was, in part, rancorous because the Federalists adopted quasi-authoritarian positions (in particular, the Alien and Sedition Acts, enacted in 1798, which granted the president powers to detain non-citizens during times of war, and criminalized false and malicious statements about the federal government, amongst other likely constitutional overreaches).
Democracy or dictatorship; those are our choices—in November, and beyond.
The American experiment can survive bad democratic (lower-case “d”) decisions; surviving permanent minority rule, though, has no historical precedent. Never has our vote meant more.
Follow Rich Logis and Listen. Lead. Unite. here.
This is an opinion column that solely reflects the opinions of the author.