Saturday, February 11, 2017

Paul Krugman: Will Americans Be Willing to Take a Public Stand

I always look forward to Tom Dispatch’s daily posting. In my newsfeed today, he shares an article by Paul Krugman: “When the Fire Comes.”

Here’s Tom Dispatch:

I recommend Paul Krugman's column today. From the seven-nation ban to the urge to put the Islamic Brotherhood on the State Dept. terror list to the president's many statements and tweets denigrating the judges who have refused to uphold his ban, this administration seems to be spoiling for a terror attack on this country -- almost literally encouraging, if not asking for, it. As Krugman points out, we all know what any significant terror attack is likely to mean: a grab for further power by the Trumpians. It's a grim prospect and Krugman faces it today. Here's how his piece ends.

“Don’t talk about institutions, and the checks and balances they create. Institutions are only as good as the people who serve them. Authoritarianism, American-style, can be averted only if people have the courage to stand against it. So who are these people?

“It certainly won’t be Mr. Trump’s inner circle. It won’t be Jeff Sessions, his new attorney general, with his long history of contempt for voting rights. It might be the courts — but Mr. Trump is doing all he can to delegitimize judicial oversight in advance.

“What about Congress? Well, its members like to give patriotic speeches. And maybe, just maybe, there are enough Republican senators who really do care about America’s fundamental values to cross party lines in their defense. But given what we’ve seen so far, that’s just hopeful speculation.

“In the end, I fear, it’s going to rest on the people — on whether enough Americans are willing to take a public stand. We can’t handle another post-9/11-style suspension of doubt about the man in charge; if that happens, America as we know it will soon be gone.”

Marie Burns of Fort Myers, Florida, has an insightful observation:

Krugman is not specific, either by design or because he isn't sure, what form his proposed resistance might take "when the fire comes." Unless he's talking about armed resistance (and I surmise he is not), then it will be necessary to get Republican voters to join the revolution. Our Constitution, along with state gerrymandering shenanigans, strongly favor Republicans. (As Judd Legum pointed out this week, "The senators who opposed Betsy DeVos represent 36 million more people than her [Senate] supporters do.") So it will take Republican voters in Republican states and districts to pressure their U.S. representatives to stop Trump's complete takeover of the U.S.

My suggestion to those who care about that umbrella of "American values" is to stop being so polite to Uncle Fred & your ignorant neighbors. Most people I know are maintaining their relationships by politely shutting off political conversations with their Trump-voter friends & neighbors. That's nice, but it leaves those poor ignoramuses in the dark. For instance, if you've been polite for the past 8 years, it's your fault that 35 % of Americans don't know that the ACA & ObamaCare are the same thing.

So when the neighbor says Trump is going to make America great again, engage. And be ready with "true facts." These won't be easy conversations, but the results will be better than the alternative that Krugman quite rightly fears.

When the Fire Comes.”
Paul Krugman, the New York Times