TriceEdney — Anyone old enough to remember “The Three Stooges” may also remember one of their most famous skits, “Niagara Falls.” In this bit, each time Moe heard the words ‘Niagara Falls’ he approached Curly saying, “Slowly I turned, step-by-step, inch-by-inch.” He then viciously assaulted Curly. If you appreciate physical comedy, it’s a funny, dated art form and, if you like retro-humor, you’ll find it funny now. It’s NOT funny when viewed in the context of #45’s authoritarian governance.
Without amusement, our democracy has not equally fulfilled its promise to all citizens. Less funny is that #45 is slowly creeping upon the most valued principles of our flawed Democracy and step-by-step, inch-by-inch he’s assaulting them with reckless abandon.
Paramount among these principles is the expectation of the election of an executive whose veracity is above reproach and whose focus is to build a spirit of unity among the citizenry. #45 entered office with the goal of dissembling the principles, institutions, traditions and expectations that have provided for our reasonably stable societal evolution.
Among his most egregious transgressions is his serial-lying – an estimated daily average of five significant lies. More disturbing is that these lies play to the fears of his supporters and detractors alike creating an adversarial WE vs. THEM dynamic – hyper-polarization.
Historically, The Press has been “Freedom’s Watchdog.” While never perfect, it has investigated and illuminated wrongdoing that would have shaken our national foundations. Watergate and Enron pop into mind. #45 criticizes any press outlet that doesn’t edify him or his agenda.
Like Pravda or RT news, the Fox network has become the state news source for Trumpism. The Sinclair Broadcast Group, supporters of #45’s agenda, is pursuing the monopolistic acquisition of television outlets throughout the nation. Sinclair is infamous for forcing their local stations to make nightly broadcasts of pro-Trump, rightwing messaging. Meanwhile, networks which critically analyze #45’s messaging are vilified as Fake News.
One year ago, the Department of Justice served as a beacon of fairness and guardian of integrity. Since January, it has turned a blind eye to protecting the rights of ALL citizens. It reneged on promises made to “Dreamers” and established draconian immigration policies. The FBI is targeting Black Lives Matter for investigation as Black Identity Extremists (read: Domestic Terrorists).
Although #45’s complaints about the inefficiency of the legislative process aren’t new and his criticism of the judiciary pre-date 2016, his recurring appeal for modification of the judicial system pierces the airwaves. Operating in the shadow of Josef Goebbels, #45 seems to believe, “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.”
As with the Central Park Five, #45 has morphed into Judge, Jury and Executioner. Although there’s no question of his guilt, #45 has violated due process by already proclaiming Sayfullo Saipov guilty and condemning him to death. The problem – too many of #45’s supporters – whether in office or not – would willingly surrender this power to him. I, for one, am not willing to accede to this type of justice.
As I’ve quoted Maya Angelou so many time before, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”
In words and deeds, #45 has clearly informed us that the laws, freedoms, and civil courtesies we believe in and have come to expect are meaningless to him and those who support his authoritarian agenda. He has fomented fear and anxiety to create the circumstance where his supporters will voluntarily relinquish their personal freedoms. Until we can demonstrate our opposition at the ballot box – and we must vote – it is essential that we engage in civic action to protest the step-by-step and inch-by-inch erosion of our freedoms that has persisted since January 2017.