I recently listened to a podcast which mentioned Hitler being so egotistical that if he had nuclear weapons he would have used them to take most of the world with him when the Soviets were entering Berlin. We are not repeating the events of the Twentieth Century, Trumpism isn’t Nazism, Trump isn’t Hitler, even if they share many similarities. We have an egotistical figure with a personality cult and, despite losing the majority vote, the reigns of power. We also have democratic leaders who are weak, divided, and focused on internal minutiae. Not a good combination.
History shows how the United States has arrived at the present situation. I don’t mean the rise of tyrannical regimes in Europe or Asia during the Twentieth Century, but the domestic history of a nation dying by a thousand cuts. Eisenhower started the trend to gain “Christian” votes by bringing God into the government sphere, adding it to the currency and the Pledge of Allegiance. Kennedy’s administration started the corporate hold on politics, especially the defence sector Eisenhower warned about. Both Eisenhower and Kennedy angered the Jim Crow states with Federally enforced equality. Since the late 50s and early 60s the reactionary forces of America have been rolling back any progress made. At all levels in the US strategic cuts to education, media regulation and responsibility, corporate oversight, public debating forums, and social services have left the United States fractured and divided.
The last few decades the world has been bombarded by the American extremist media , Hollywood films, and by political movements, that government is always evil and a threat. Add the glorification of violence as conflict dispute, militarism, demonization of compromise and diplomacy, and the diminishing role of citizens in decision making. The simplified binary view of the world; “with us or against us”, “right or wrong”, “Black or white”, and the dismissal of anyone who wants to explore third options or understand causes and effects. The political world doesn’t have switches to turn on or off, or lines to slide left or right on, it has a circle with democracy at the top and communist, anarchist, libertarian, corporatist, religious, racist, or protectionist paths to the tyranny at the bottom.
These threats to American democracy are not unique to the United States, despite American delusion they’re not exceptional. Many nations are failing to fight the divisive forces within. We hear that if we challenge the status quo we’ll lose our jobs, trade opportunities or our freedoms. Similarly the political “outsider” promises something better if we abandon the political system and blame/punish convenient scapegoats. Are we going to sacrifice our democracy, ethics, rights, and futures for a few lousy jobs? Has greed become our state religion?
Canada should not be putting trade relations, jobs, or anything ahead of basic human rights. Our long term interests, or even or national survival, are not served by being cosy with the Trump administration. Trump’s recent extra-constitutional moves to ban people from seven mainly Muslim countries, dismissing judicial decisions, the possibility of secret prisons and torture, and the sabre rattling with China should be enough for Canada to treat the United States as a rogue state. We have in the past sanctioned governments and individuals for less than what is happening in the US.
We Canadians can not allow a leader like Trump freedom to complete his agenda. At best Trump is a kleptocrat, at worst he is the next Stalin wannabe. Canada needs to sanction Trump and his inner circle and find any ethical means to stop Trump from purging the US government of anyone who would oppose him. Right now Trump is using Twitter and media jibes, but if he isn’t challenged and feels he has immunity will he go this far? If Senator McCain, for example, keeps challenging him will the Senator have a mysterious death? If assassinations happen will Canada just shrug and issue another impotent statement? If peaceful protests are branded riots and put down with lethal force will we still worry about a few jobs? Will the equipment used be made in Canada?
To prevent the Putin/Trump brand of governance, democracies need to be vigilant. Germany has already voiced concern about interference in upcoming elections and most likely France is monitoring things in their upcoming elections. The Conservative Party of Canada should ask for RCMP, CSIS, and CSE assistance to prevent hostile interference in the leadership race. The Trudeau government should immediately criminalize political donations that are not made by citizens eligible to vote in the political jurisdiction, those used to bypass the ban should be charged with money laundering. With the changes at the top of the US security system it won’t just be Russia we will have to worry about interfering with our next election and we should take steps to prevent any interference in future elections.
I am a pessimist, difficult to be anything else when reading the news, but at the moment I will trust Americans will save themselves from this descent into madness and tyranny. If they don’t, Canada should be ready for refugees escaping the third US civil war (yes third, the Civil Rights Movement is considered the second), or a US treating us like Czechoslovakia in 1938, or a US that makes North Korea look like a more open, accessible society. The Quebec City terrorist attack proves we need to monitor extremist groups here with far more vigilance and resources as the threat to Canadian Muslims is higher than any threat from Canadian Muslims.
Going forward Canadians need to reject all politicians who use the language of taxpayers, average Canadian, consumers, real Canadian, or anything that reduces us or divides us. This post is making the Facebook rounds: