Cure the evils of Democracy by the evils of Fascism! Funny therapeutics. I’ve heard of their curing syphilis by giving the patient malaria, but I’ve never heard of their curing malaria by giving the patient syphilis!
— Sinclair Lewis, "It Can't Happen Here."
Yes, it’s happening. A man whose political career is going down in flames has turned to setting fires at calculated locations, frantically hoping the wind shifts.
In 1935 Sinclair Lewis imagined such a person – “A public liar easily detected . . . his ‘ideas’ almost idiotic, while his celebrated piety was that of a traveling salesman for church furniture.
“His political platforms were only wings of a windmill.”
And yet such a man rose to power in Lewis’s novel, and that man resorted to fear and fascism to achieve his ends.
And that man dispatched a paramilitary force to advance those ends.
Well, slap our faces. We all assumed that this was a democratic republic where no individual was entrusted with unchecked power. We were wrong.
Our previous assumption – that this is a nation of the people, and by and for them — might hold today if the Great Leader’s political party held to any of its republican principles.
Like states’ rights — previously a fundamental GOP principle. Now? Disregard the protests of states and cities to which the Great Leader would dispatch his storm swoopers.
In Portland they’ve been without identifying markers except for "Police" on their camowear – tooling the streets in their unmarked rented mini-vans, sweeping up stunned protesters and discovering the romantic pleasures of tear gas.
All is completely uninvited, and according to local authorities and witnesses, totally counterproductive.
There are all sorts of situations in which states and cities might seek the help of the Great Leader – say with testing for a pandemic, equipment to deal with a pandemic, federal coordination to deal with a pandemic.
But the Great Leader is not about those matters. He is about windmill-waving and staging great scenes of discord for his favorite cable news channel. Send in the para-swoopers.
Wag the dog? These tactics would incinerate the poor creature.
Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden said these uninvited invaders were not keeping the peace but “escalating violence,” and that was their goal.
The proof is in the powerful video of heightened tensions and confrontation.
A Portland man who was at the protests said the feds’ presence shifted things “from protesting racism to protesting the increased federal presence.
A Navy veteran, attempted to engage a storm swooper in conversation, you know, that First Amendment stuff, only to be hit repeatedly with a baton and pepper-sprayed, his hand broken.
Said the bone-spur-deferred Great Leader, people like that Navy veteran “hate our country.”
What a dire time for us.
A Colorado Republican state lawmaker, hopped up on Fox News hype, wrote the Great Leader requesting similar federal presence after protests in Denver. (He cited graffiti and the presence of antifa!)
Gov. Jared Polis called “BS” in so many words. He pointed out that if he wanted federal help he would request it, starting with the Colorado National Guard.
What the Great Leader has in mind by sending in the swoops, said Polis, is to pour “oil on the fire.” But then, oil on fire provides better illumination for fearful TV footage.
At this point, all those folks talking about defunding police should shift to defunding Homeland Security. Start with the Border Patrol and ICE.
Don’t these people have a job?
Shouldn’t they be at the border fighting back brown hordes, bayonets gleaming?
You say bayonetting brown people isn’t what Border Patrol does? Well, neither, by job definition, is apprehending Oregonians.
Any Republican, any American, should denounce what the Great Leader is doing.
It couldn’t happen here, but it did.
Longtime newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.