Friday, December 09, 2016

A Turning Point to Tyranny?

One need not be a die-hard liberal to notice an alarming trend as we move closer and closer to a Trump presidency. Neither does that trend rely upon hyperbole in order to be genuinely alarming. The president-elect apparently sees no value in the daily security briefings that every modern president has received, detailing the most imminent threats facing the country. He is more concerned with using his Twitter account to strike back at perceived slights, no matter how slight they might be, from union leaders, comedians, journalists, and anyone else who dares to call him on his fondness for conspiracies, his misstatements and misrepresentations, and especially his outright lies.

His further efforts to do away with the freedoms guaranteed under the First Amendment are well-documented: Unilateral actions against all followers of specific religions, his desire to establish and maintain a registry of Muslim Americans, his stated desire to revise libel laws so that journalists and regular citizens who speak out against him can be subjected to litigation - perhaps even criminal prosecution. The list goes on.

Mr. Trump's transition team has circulated a questionnaire to Department of Energy personnel in an effort to obtain the identities of anyone who has worked in support of President Obama's climate change initiatives or attended the U.N. Climate Change Summit. It is not a stretch to assume that the purpose of such a database would be to punish or at least marginalize those whose findings might challenge his industry-centric narrative
In addition, for the first time in memory, the Lincoln Memorial, a preferred site of gatherings and protests, has been designated off-limits to the Million Women's March scheduled for the day after the inauguration, with the only possible explanation being his desire to squelch dissent. And lest one think he is singling out the ladies, the Lincoln Memorial and numerous other public sites are being closed to virtually all demonstrators ahead of the inauguration and for weeks afterward.

I believe that we will see, in the very near future, the tipping point, at which the nation will either remain free or step finally into the brand of tyranny that Mr. Trump seems to be seeking. The Army Corps of Engineers has announced that it will not issue permits to allow the pipeline to be installed in the protested area, citing both the treaty agreement outlining valid Native American tribal claims and the very real potential for devastating ecological impact. It's an impact that could, among other things, poison the drinking water for millions of people, should a rupture occur such as has happened with alarming frequency in recent months and years. In response, the company building the pipeline has stated that it intends to proceed according to plan, ignoring the Corps' denial of permits and paying whatever fines are levied, since doing so wold be more economical than compliance.

It is the government's response to this action that I believe will be the "canary in the coal mine," as my wife describes it, after which we will remain a relatively free state or descend fully into a tyranny. Simply put, will the law enforcement agencies that have been aggressively going after the water protectors/protesters thus far change their focus to the pipeline company employees, whose defiance of the Corps of Engineers and resumption of construction is a clear breach of the law?

If law enforcement enforces the Corps' ruling as one would hope, it would be a very good sign, However, if law enforcement agencies continue to go after the peaceful protesters who are engaging in legal protest, and actually protect the construction workers who are breaking the law, it must be assumed that the march to tyranny has become the official policy of the land. At that point, each citizen must decide whether they are willing to allow the country to undergo a fundamental shift that literally brings to an end this remarkable exercise in democracy that the founders envisioned. If this is unacceptable, the only alternative is to resist in any manner we can.

Our first effort must be to convince our elected officials that allowing such a shift in our political structure is a clear breach of the oaths that all elected officials and military personnel have taken, and to pressure these oath-takers to fulfill those oaths. I'm still hopeful that there is enough love of country to outweigh the partisan pressure and outright manipulation that has become the norm over the last few decades. If that hope proves false, however, each of us must decide whether we are willing to end this experiment.

The choices facing us at that point will be hard, indeed. But democracy, by its very nature, is difficult and messy. I, for one, think it is worth it, and intend to fulfill my oath. I would hope that every other citizen would take that decision into prayer, however they might be inclined, and to seek whatever guidance rings most true to them and choose the path that will best provide their children and their children's children with the same freedoms we cherish, rather than sitting silent and allowing it to slip away forever.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

AS a military retiree of almost 25 years service, I recall that the oath I took said I would defend against enemies foreign and domestic. And I shall.

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