Taking Concerted Action in a Budding Autocracy

Once you remove the last legal restraints on a lawless person, the results are easy to predict.  

I’m haunted by the image of Mr. Hitler, already the dictator of Germany for a year and a half, finally sending the Gestapo out to liquidate his enemies in “The Night of the Long Knives”.   Everyone on Mr. Hitler’s voluminous enemies list was murdered that night, June 30, 1934, including a nationally known ultra-conservative politician and decorated German general named Kurt von Schleicher.  He was shot seven times while sitting at his desk, his wife was also killed; a year later Schleicher’s cook, the only eye witness to the shooting, mysteriously drowned. 

The killing of Schleicher was sold the next morning as an act of self-defense by the men sent to take Schleicher into custody for treason.  The Nazi story in the Nazi-controlled mass media was that they’d shot the accused traitor when he resisted arrest by opening fire on them, as desperate, insane traitors often do.  Two weeks later Mr. Hitler could nonchalantly drop the lie during a Reichstag speech and simply tell the nation: “I had Schleicher shot.”  

Even though “jobs are booming, incomes are soaring, poverty is plummeting, crime is falling, confidence is surging and our country is thriving and highly respected again” I am feeling unaccountably uneasy.  I keep thinking of what our infallible leader tweeted right after Mueller’s investigation “completely and totally exonerated” the man about whose obstruction of justice Robert Mueller III wrote “we could not exonerate him.”  

Mueller, the lifelong Republican who completely exonerated Trump, of course —  a traitor– and the treason of his witch hunting partisan investigators is being criminally investigated by the aggressive Attorney General’s most aggressive investigator even as we joyously celebrate the unprecedented greatness of our great land.  Here’s the part of the president’s tweet I can’t manage to forget:

“It is finally time to turn the tables and bring justice to some very sick and dangerous people who have committed very serious crimes, perhaps even Spying or Treason.”

Before he actually gets to do that, I, personally, have to get busy.  Voting every few years for an attractively packaged corporate candidate, the one with the most persuasive public relations campaign, has not prevented the frightening historic moment we find ourselves in.  I have a strong need to sit in a room with other determined people who are organizing to fight the forces of autocracy.  I have a gnawing need not to accept my individual helplessness as a citizen of our great democracy, as even  the pretense of that democracy is poised to perish from the earth.

I found one organization to check out just now, with headquarters in Brooklyn NY.  One of its leaders is one of the women who stopped a sheepish Jeff Flake in an elevator, on the eve of the Judiciary Committee vote to send the nomination of the angry, crying, self-pitying, intemperately partisan “Brett” Kavanaugh to the full Senate, and asked Flake on camera to do the right thing.   The short video went viral.  As the result of this direct public pressure, Flake did as much of the right thing as any Republican not dying of brain cancer can do these days (I refer to John McCain’s thumbs down to narrowly defeat the vote to end the Affordable Care Act, not long before his own death).

We should also pause to note Mitt Romney’s heroic and lonely vote of conscience to allow a fair trial, with witnesses and evidence, prior to the president’s acquittal — an unthinkably radical notion today among Republicans in Trump’s America.  (Susan Collins, shameless apologist for Kavanaugh– among other things–  has to lose her contested election, and good riddance).

Anyway, here’s the organization I want to check out:

The Center for Popular Democracy is an American advocacy group that promotes progressive politics. CPD is a federation of groups that includes some of the old chapters of ACORN. The group’s stated goal is to “envision and win an innovative pro-worker, pro-immigrant, racial and economic justice agenda.” Wikipedia

Alas, not as easy as simply going to their website:
Screen shot 2020-02-05 at 5.58.54 PM.png
I’ll have to phone them tomorrow.
“And God bless these United Shayssssh…”

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