Autocracy: Rules for Survival

Last night while driving to an appointment I heard Rachel Maddow on Sirius satellite radio discuss a November 2016 article by Masha Gessen related to the forthcoming Trump presidency.

Gessen is a Russian-American journalist who has written extensively about Russia under Vladimir Putin. She took both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama to task in the article for their conciliatory tone toward Donald Trump after the 2016 election. As she wrote at the time, everyone already knew who Donald Trump was and what he was going to do.

It may have been thought of as outrageous at the time, but in hindsight it’s eerily prescient about what the Trump presidency has done to this country’s institutions and democracy.

Titled Autocracy: Rules for Survival, it contains six rules for living under autocratic rule.

  1. Believe the autocrat
  2. Do not be taken in by small signs of normality
  3. Institutions will not save you
  4. Be outraged
  5. Don’t make compromises
  6. Remember the Future

After the past few days it’s clear that Trump has now corrupted the Department of Justice as he has already done with the Departments of Defense and State (see rule 3). The corruption of norms and standards at Justice may be the most terrifying. If there is no rule of law – only the rule of Donald Trump – no one is safe.

I hope we don’t have to listen to Nancy Pelosi talk about finding ways to work with Trump on things like an “infrastructure plan” (see rule 5). The Democrats have already given in to him on his damned wall, trade, and defense spending. They have gotten, and will get nothing, in return.

After the Democrats’ wrongly focused and too narrow (in my opinion) impeachment effort – what about his corrupt efforts to enrich himself while in office and children in cages – he is now showing how far he will go to turn the entire US government to his service.

It’s not too late to stop this.

Whatever one’s personal politics, Donald Trump is a threat to whatever you believe in.  

Rick Wilson, former Republican strategist and author of Everything Trump Touches Dies and Running Against the Devil, has said he will work to elect Democrats who will put in policies he hates because Trump must be stopped. This is not a normal election.

Where to start?

Follow Gessen’s rules and vote against all Republicans in national offices – particularly those in the Senate.

Gessen’s article is here.


Author: Tom

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