Today we feature a report from Germany pleading with America to wake up. The parallels are becoming more pronounced with the introduction of paramilitary troops into our cities & vicious rhetoric characterizing protesters as terrorists. Read on.
Tuesday, I received an email from Bruce Berlin with a link to an article from the NY Times that discussed a recent Der Spiegel article warning the US that we were living in 1933. The article caused my skin to crawl. This is sobering and we all need to soak it in fully. Our review of the piece follows a couple of announcements.
Tuesday, August 4. NM State Election Strategies: Who Can Win, Who Needs a Push and What YOU Can Do. Panelists include: Eric Griego, Working Families Party of NM, Andrea Serrano, Olé and representatives from Indivisible, Nasty Women and other grassroots groups that have teams working on campaigns. Find out key races where wins are possible and races where good Democrat incumbents face stiff challenges. Find out the nuances involved in organizing successful campaigns and the many ways in which you can support a campaign. There is far more to be done besides making calls and writing letters.
We have a unique opportunity in 2021, Democratic Governor, a strongly progressive House and a potentially a completely transformed Senate. Now we need to finish the job and make great candidates into great legislators. Find out how we can create a Legislature ready to pass a Public Bank, Health Security, Tax Reform, Funding for Early Childhood, and to pave the way for a just transition in NM.
This Zoom will reach capacity very early, so register now by clicking here.
Updated Actions & Events Page
With most of our events being our zoominars and conversations, we’ve gotten lax in keeping an up to date Actions & Events page. But yesterday, we revised it completely, updating the variety of current actions, events and opportunities, including:
- We had a huge 5-0 win yesterday at the PRC. It feels strange to actually win and win unequivocally. Not only did we get 100% renewable power to replace the lost power from the closure of San Juan’s coal-fired plant, but PNM will not own the renewable installations, saving rate payers hundreds of millions of dollars. This is what happens when we stand together. Kudos to our allies New Energy Economy, Earth Care, YUCCA, WildEarth Guardians and the Alliance. A great day.
- Oil Conservation Commission (on produced water, or more accurately produced toxic waste). Now our attention turns here. Use the link below to get to our Actions & Events page and make sure that you submit written comment. You will find contact info, how to register for the hearing and speaking points.
- Veterans for Peace, Friday July 31 at noon 75th Anniversary of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. For over a decade, VFP has been a constant presence at Cerrillos and St. Francis, each Friday at noon, but this Friday is special, as VFP protests nuclear arms proliferation on the 75th anniversary of Nagasaki and Hiroshima.
- Retake on KSFR 101.1 FM Saturday, 8:30 am with Karen Whitlock, Democratic candidate challenging District 38’s Republican incumbent Rebecca Dow.
- Working Families Party’s Statewide Convening;
- International Veteran’s For Peace Online Conference;
- Boycott and cancel Amazon account; and
- Other local, regional and increasingly online actions.
News In Brief
One piece today, the English translation of a Der Spiegel cover story on the parallels between Germany in 1933 and Trump’s USA in 2020.
- From Der Spiegel: “Democracy on the Defensive in Trump’s America.” , an English translation of the German edition;
- From Resilience: “Four Ways to Redesign Democracy for Future Generations“ an interesting take on how to incorporate the perspective of future generations in the democratic process.
If He Loses in November,
Could Trump Pull the Plug On Democracy
I’m sure you’ve read articles projecting different scenarios should Trump lose in November. They point to one or another statement he’s made about whether or not he would “accept” an election in which he had lost. And his signals have been mixed at best, most recently saying he couldn’t really say whether he’d accept a defeat.
But as disturbing as these comments are, Trumps actions over the past months are still more unsettling, as an increasing number of behaviors and his non-stop rhetoric about largely peaceful protesters being extremists or terrorists echo 1933 Germany. And Der Spiegel has noticed:
Trump and his political accessories are using the rhetoric of authoritarianism. Militarized police forces haven’t just been using violence to quell plundering and rioting, they have also been attacking peaceful demonstrators. Journalists have been arrested as well.
Should we be worried about the United States? Is a fundamental shift taking place in a country that is synonymous with deeply rooted democracy? The current chaos on the streets of America isn’t just the product of the country’s economic and societal tensions. The president himself has repeatedly exacerbated those conflicts with his rhetoric. Trump, it seems, needs the chaos. He feeds off it.
Few other democratically elected leaders have as much power as the U.S. president, a reality that can lead to abuse. Trump has made personal loyalty the most important qualification for those with whom he surrounds himself. He harbors deep admiration for Russian President Vladimir Putin and once voiced his support for the violent crushing of the pro-democracy protests on Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, saying it was a sign of strength.
The Russia investigation and his impeachment did not show him the limits of his power, and instead awakened in him a desire to hit back hard and to get rid of anyone within government who does not fulfill his every whim. In the waning months of his first term in office, just a few months before Election Day, he is increasingly putting his authoritarian tendencies on full display.Der Spiegel: “Democracy on the Defensive In Trump’s America”
The New York Times did an opinion piece, “American Catastrophe Through German Eyes” focused on Der Spiegel’s report. The article cited comments from Michael Steinberg, a professor of history at Brown University and the former president of the American Academy in Berlin:
“The American catastrophe seems to get worse every day, but the events in Portland have particularly alarmed me as a kind of strategic experiment for fascism. The playbook from the German fall of democracy in 1933 seems well in place, including rogue military factions, the destabilization of cities, etc.”New York Times: “American Catastrophe Through German Eyes”
Steinberg continued, pointing to how Trump’s rhetoric and his demonizing of the opposition is eerily reminiscent of Hitler’s racist call for a pure homeland.
“The basic comparison involves racism as a political strategy: a racist imaginary of a pure homeland, with cities demonized as places of decadence.”New York Times: “American Catastrophe Through German Eyes”
And more from the NY Times:
“From the deployment of those federal units in Portland, Oregon’s largest city, where protesters have been demanding racial justice and police accountability, it’s not a huge leap to the use of paramilitaries (like the German Freikorps in the 1920s) to buttress a “Law and Order” campaign. The Freikorps battled communists. Today, Trump claims to battle “anarchists,” “terrorists” and violent leftists. It’s the leitmotif of his quest for a second term.”
Many have suggested that Trump’s incursion into Portland, Chicago, New York, Albuquerque and other cities governed by Democrat mayors is merely testing the waters: what will America abide? Is this setting the table for another of Trump’s “states of emergency” if he does not like the November election result?
Throughout his rants, he has claimed to be protecting American lives and institutions. Well, if he were serious about saving lives, he would have led the nation in a unified science-based strategy against COVID. The Trump Death Clock continues to add lives to the total number of deaths caused by Trump’s inaction.
Germany has had a much different experience with COVID, in large part due to the national leadership of Chancellor Angela Merkel. From the NY Times:
“’We are not condemned to accept the spread of this virus as an inevitable fact of life,” Merkel said. “We thrive not because we are forced to do something, but because we share knowledge and encourage active participation.” She went on to say that success largely depends “on each and every one of us.’
It worked. Merkel was addressing all democratic citizens, Americans included. No wonder Trump cannot stand her, a woman trained as a scientist whose life lesson has been the sacred value of freedom.”New York Times: “American Catastrophe Through German Eyes”
Clearly, had Trump had the slightest interest in protecting Americans, he would have listened to science as Merkel did, modeled wearing masks, and implemented a nationwide shutdown back in April. If he had, over 80,000 Americans would still be alive and their parents, children, grandchildren and friends would not be mourning. The survivors of COVID would also not be imprisoned with fear and left with the choice of risking their lives when they go to the market, travel to see a grandchild or go to work.
We can’t expect Trump to suddenly change his tune and become an advocate for delaying the re-opening of schools, or pressing Congress to provide real relief to the American people, the kind of relief that would allow them to stay home and allow us to stall the pandemic. He won’t do that and so, quite likely, we will have this virus to contend with until January. That will be hard, very hard. But as this post suggests, we will need to be ultra vigilant to ensure that this nightmare ends on January 20, 2021. But what does being vigilant really mean?
- Participating in the national election to play your part in ensuring not a win, but a landslide that will be impossible for Trump to refute;
- Talk with others you know, especially Republicans. How much can you take of this? How will you react if Trump loses decisively in November?
- Be prepared to show the courage and persistence of the Portland protesters, as we will need to take to the streets in NM to protect the results of this election and there will be Cowboys for Trump, armed and pissed, so taking to the streets then will take courage.
As I thought about this post more, I kept wondering about: what being vigilant really means. So I ask you: What can we do to ensure that the election results are a landslide and what do we do if Trump and Fox and the GOP attempt to invalidate the election results? A very tough question.
In solidarity & hope,
Paul & Roxanne