An Inflection Point In Our History So Well Explained. Democracy Vs Authoritarianism!

By Donald A. Collins | 29 October 2023
Church and State

(Credit: YouTube / screengrab)

Many reputable media voices have explained how the GOP under Donald Trump has been captured by an aspiring neo-Nazi and his small cabal of collaborators.

My Op Ed of 10/24/23 featuring the comments by long time GOP strategist Stuart Stevens, who served as a top strategist for Mitt Romney’s 2012 Presidential campaign set me hoping for more voices to join him with their expert historical analysts such as the authors of “Tyranny of the Minority” in explaining the facts to the numerous citizens who don’t realize this situation where a major political party has been taken over from its founders and turned it into a machine to change our democracy to an authoritarian government.

Both their current bestselling book and a prior book on this subject, “How Democracies Die” got overwhelming 5-star reviews in the media.

One long time conservative friend (I have many and keep in touch often) has expressed to me his strong disdain for The Donald, but surprisingly he dismissed the authors of the widely acclaimed book “Tyranny of the Minority” saying, “Tyranny of the Minority. Well, I have little respect for college professors, and I don’t need to read it to know that Donald Trump is garbage and a demagogue.”

But the point of this book far exceeds the evil of Trump’s intentions. The authors use the term “counter-majoritarianism” which means that the false claims by minorities that their restrictive voting rules are protecting our rights cedes power to the minority in many cases. Now particularly dangerous for 2024 as the Electoral College has proved in numerous past elections, including the one that allowed Trump to beat Hillary Clinton who got 3 million more votes.

My friend, a strong supporter of our Constitution, which Mitt Romney in his book “Reckoning” states that those in the Trump camp do not, is a scholar and student of history, so I expect that he and others will find the interview with WETA’s Judy Woodruff and a respected Boston College historian, Heather Cox Richardson as one providing useful context to our present situation.

Richardson agrees with GOP consultant Stevens when she says, “For the first time in our history, a major political party has been taken over by a small faction that does not believe in democracy.”

But in citing our Constitution she adds Abraham Lincoln’s POV:

One of the great brilliances of Abraham Lincoln was to rededicate the nation not to the Constitution, which was the document that enslavers rested on because of its protection of property.

It’s kind of a truism in American history, if you have rights, you look to the Constitution. If you want rights, you look to the Declaration. And Abraham Lincoln relying on the Declaration of Independence as the heart of the United States. Four score and seven years ago, our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

He’s pointing to the Declaration, not to the Constitution. And having those principles central to the foundation of this nation makes it easier, I think, for people who don’t have rights to say, I’m not doing anything radical here, the same way that Lincoln did.

He said, I’m not doing anything radical when I talk about human freedom. I’m relying on our foundational document.

As I listened to Judy Woodruff’s October 25th WETA interview with Richardson, I was impressed with her carefully balanced recitation of our historical facts that frighten her (and me), but also gave her and me some hope that the favorable outcomes of earlier threats of authoritarianism would give us precedent to overcome the present one engineered and feloniously advanced by Trump and his co-conspirators.

Read the full interview here.

These days the hue and cry from many quarters makes difficult the molding of one’s opinion.

However, when the facts of our prior history are too little considered, the disastrous mistakes going forward remind us of the many we made even as recently as in this century. Iraq and Afghanistan come to mind.

Many voices have explained how the GOP under Donald Trump has been captured by an aspiring neo-Nazi and his small cabal of collaborators. But many more don’t seem to understand its implications for our democracy.

Now as Mike Johnson was made US House Speaker and is 2nd in line for the Presidency his background will send a chill down the backs of anyone who fears the primary tenets of our democracy could well be lost to religious fanaticism and his other extreme beliefs, such as his fixation against the LBGTQ communities.

Examples of the reportedly genial Johnson’s deepest beliefs include anti-gay rights, Christian nationalism to be enforced in law, severe limits on abortion choice and we presume he follows his GOP colleagues on many other issues such as gun control.

Johnson sent an email message to tell everyone he believes in the Constitution and that he wants to serve everyone, but he as yet to say there was no fraud in the 2020 election which alienates anyone who understands what fealty to Trump that confirms.

As the page one 10/27/23 Washington Post story entitled “House Speaker Mike Johnson used faith in campaign against gay rights”.

Isaac Becker’s article is subtitled, “The Southern Baptist has denounced gay relationships and sought to narrow the separation between church and state”.

Here are some excerpts to confirm the above:

The posture by Johnson, now 51, points to his unlikely ability to pursue hard-line priorities — those appealing to an influential far-right wing in the House — while appealing to some skeptics. He is a congenial crusader, say friends and foes alike, qualities that will now be tested by a fractious Republican conference.

It’s that rare mix that elevated him to the speakership, after three weeks of failed votes that doomed better-known and more experienced candidates. The result is a Republican standard-bearer who is virtually unknown to the public, even as he was a leading proponent of former president Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

Johnson’s voluminous record on hot-button social issues, unified above all by his efforts to narrow the separation of church and state, is only now coming under scrutiny.

A Johnson spokeswoman pointed to a Facebook post written by the congressman last year in which he argued that “biblical beliefs” were inseparable from “public affairs.”

When he addressed colleagues from the House dais on Wednesday, Johnson wrapped his own ascension in his religious views, saying: “God is the one that raises up those in authority.”

“He is brilliant and terrifying. And we are just seeing the beginning of him,” Parker said.

‘Like a minister’

Read the full article here.

If God’s in Johnson’s heaven, is that all right with the world of your personal freedom? He sounds like a perfect match to help Trump with his campaign if Trump is nominated, but he is reported not to be a fundraiser of Kevin McCarthy’s ability.

Former US Navy officer, banker and venture capitalist, Donald A. Collins, a free lance writer living in Washington, DC, has spent over 50 years working for women’s reproductive health as a board member and/or officer of numerous family planning organizations including Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Guttmacher Institute, Family Health International and Ipas. Yale under graduate, NYU MBA. He is the author of “From the Dissident Left: A Collection of Essays 2004-2013”, “Trump Becoming Macbeth: Will our democracy survive?”, “We Humans Overwhelm Our Earth: 11 or 2 Billion by 2100?”, “What Can Be Done Now to Save Habitable Life on Planet Earth?”, “Vote”, “Can Homo Sapiens Survive?”, “Will Choice and Democracy Win?”, “Can Our U.S. Survive 8 Plus Billion of Us”, “Economic Growth: A Cancer on all Earthly Life” and “On the Precipice of Political Disaster in 2024”.

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