Ask anyone if they’d prefer living under the rule of a dictator, and you’d get an emphatic “No! Yet, large numbers of our fellow Americans are moving us in that direction. The real question is, can we stop them?
Growing up during World War II provided me a front row seat in the theater of political history. My family and an overwhelming majority of our fellow Americans placed our faith in Franklin D. Roosevelt, General Dwight D. Eisenhower, Winston Churchill, Charles De Gaulle, and others like them who fought to preserve a way of life and a political system we used to call democracy.
It’s a good system. The governed — that ‘s us — elect their leaders in periodic elections. The ones receiving the most votes become our leaders, governing the rest of us, making laws and providing for the common good.
Elsewhere in my youth, dictators with names like Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini, and others held sway over the minds and lives of millions. There, power and control rested in the hands of individuals. This system is contrary to a democracy and its fundamental concept of freedom, in which power and control is in the hands of the governed people. Americans of my generation clearly understood the difference between democracy and dictatorships, between elected leaders and dictators.
Those World War II-era tyrants aren’t around anymore to trouble us, but these days Kim Jung-un and Vladimir Putin are working hard at undermining the democratic way of life that we Americans cherish. This is particularly true of Putin, whose dangerous power and control over one of our former presidents is both obvious and puzzling.
Even more puzzling is the adoration that large numbers of Americans bestow on their most recent former president, an amoral, dangerous man who clings to power despite having lost an election in which he sought to be re-elected.
He continues to preside over this loyal subjects from his luxurious home in Florida, but he believes, as do his loyal followers, that he really belongs in the White House, where once again, he can rule. Like a dictator.
Is this hyperbole? Alarmist? Mounting evidence argues otherwise, from state legislatures to Congress, people who should know better are working daily to enable this amoral and dangerous man in his quest.
I don’t want him in charge of anything affecting my life. I prefer democracy to dictatorship, but that’s where we appear to be headed.
What are we going to do about it?