Democracy in Peril

by | Dec 30, 2023 | Culture, Politics

Despots like Trump force-feed scapegoats to their acolytes. The scapegoats serve as explanations as to why their lives are miserable.


By Curt Strickland

The story of our teetering Democracy is not the tale of the machinations of Donald Trump. At its core, it’s a chronicle of the cowardliness of enablers, and how they fertilized the terrains so that Farmer Trump can implant his messages of hate, racism, and violence.

Without his enablers, Trump would be an insignificant blip in history, a con man with a popular reality TV show where contestants debased themselves in front of their deity, Donald Trump. Without the enablers, Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin and Franco would have perished in obscurity.

 “The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything.” Albert Einstein

“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”  Martin Luther King Jr.

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” Martin Luther King Jr.

There is a racial aspect to the blind faith of enablers. Despots like Trump force-feed scapegoats to their acolytes. The scapegoats serve as explanations as to why their lives are miserable. It relieves them of responsibility for their condition. Scapegoats are the secret sauce of fascists.  Hitler served up the Jews as to why the Germans lost World War I. For Mussolini, it was the Jews and the immigrants. For Trump, it was the Muslims, the Hispanics, the immigrants, the Afro-Americans, the liberals, the leftists, the Black Lives Matter, the Washington Post, the New York Times, etc., etc. It’s exhausting to list them all.

There are no mirrors in the MAGA movement. Self-examination is not a thing in the alternate reality that is the MAGA species, just as global warming, institutional racism, and solar power are not a thing in the MAGA orbit.

So the question arises, why does propaganda stick and dictate behavior?  Joseph Goebbels answered that question:

“Propaganda helped us to power… propaganda kept us in power. Propaganda will help us conquer the world.”

And what’s the motivation behind a person enabling evil? Walter Johnson touched upon the reason in his book, The Broken Heart of America.

And importantly, thus has it been possible to make poor and working-class white people believe that their interests lie in making common cause with their political leaders and economic betters. Common cause in whiteness, the idea that they might eventually share in the spoils, the understanding that the discomforts and anxieties of their own precarious lives were due to-are due to-those below them rather than those above them.”

“Due to-those below them rather than those above them.” This leads to the next question: why would anyone debase themselves and genuflect to a false prophet?

Why? They lack character, integrity, and the ability to think critically. And where does that disability come from? Republicans are systematically sabotaging education, the teaching of history. Books are being banned in droves, and Afro-American history is being whitewashed and buried. Science is under attack and critical thinking is on the endangered species list.

Despots like Trump gained their power from acolytes devoid of an ability to think critically. Fascists depend on their blind faith followers, blaming everything on those below them. Lack of education and lack of integrity enable them to be manipulated and programmed.

We can’t blame the boogie man, or Donald Trump, for taking away our democracy. Our silence, our apathy, our cynicism, our attack on truth and education will serve as a welcome mat for dictators to seize power.

Sara Huckabee Sanders, the Governor of Arkansas, states teaching AP African-American History is a “propaganda leftist agenda” designed to teach kids to “hate America.”

A governor said this.

A governor of a state in the United States of America said this. A Governor, not a filing clerk, a Governor.

George Orwell said this:

“The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.”

This is the Republican’s reincarnation of the Jim Crow laws. Their racism is like a chameleon, constantly changing colors and fabrications, forever reinforcing institutional racism, education being a major target.

Presently, Arkansas ranks 47th out of 51 states in quality of education. In other words, Ms. Sanders is advocating to make Arkansas students even dumber, less able to engage in critical thinking, and therefore more susceptible to propaganda. This dumbing down of the electors is Republican’s long-term strategy to achieve and maintain power. The debating of ideas and the proposals of policy have been flung overboard. All that matters is loyalty, or more precisely, obedience. To be obedient takes no critical thinking.

“The philosopher Theodore Adorno’s assertion that television could continue fascist tyranny by fostering “intellectual passivity, and gullibility” was good news to postwar autocrats, who knew that discouraging critical thinking was key to maintaining themselves in power.” Page 106 Strongmen Mussolini to the Present. By Ruth Ben-Ghiat

Whitewashing our history, sabotaging learning institutions, denying science in order to restrict critical thinking. is a Republican fundamental. This dumbing down of the electors enables an ex-President to claim he won an election when he didn’t, to claim global warming is a hoax, to claim the way to keep our children safe is to have more guns, to claim there are good people on both sides when referring to Neo-Nazis, to claim, as stated by Kellyann Conway that there are ‘alternative facts.’

“Political language… is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.” George Orwell

Orwell’s prophesies continue to be reenacted by the Republican Party, a party surging toward fascism, one banned book at a time. Governor DeSantis, a Republican candidate for President:

“Libs, you’re on notice. The Mommies are now in charge. “Liberty” now means what we say it means. History is what we say it means.”

In other words, there is a direct attack on history, a fundamental of fascism. It is reminiscent of slavery, where the power structure sought to keep poor whites and blacks illiterate, the better able to control and terrorize them.

Republicans no longer use code words. They are very overt about their march toward fascism. Simmering in the fascism gumbo is racism, homophobia, Islamic phobia, misogamy, white supremacy, anti-immigrant, etc., etc. They say it out loud now.

“Laziness is a trait in blacks. It really is, I believe that.” Donald Trump

Meanwhile, a fifth chairperson, Harris County GOP chair-elect Keith Nielsen, announced Saturday he will not take office as planned after coming under fire for posting the following Martin Luther King Jr. quote — “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” — on a background with a banana.” This was reported by Naomi Andu, Clare Proctor and Miguel Gutierrez Jr. of The Texas Tribune.

America has a history of falling for red herrings, a practice that is a building block for Fascism. Fascism is in the blame game. Don’t believe me, just listen to a speech by Donald Trump and his foghorn of disinformation. He admits no responsibility for anything. He simply feeds the red meat of scapegoats to the manufactured grievances of his base.   

“Now the Depression had thrown them to the ground. Not understanding how and why those above them were responsible for the crisis that threatened them,  they blamed most of it on the enemy lurking below: the Negroes, Jews, Catholics, Mexicans, anarchists, socialists, and, of course, the Communists-all enemies of True Americanism.” The Coming of the American Behemoth by Michael Joseph Roberto, Page 292-3.

Donald Trump needs to be defeated, and every citizen needs to play a part. You can’t brush it off with a flippant ‘doesn’t matter who’s in office, they are all corrupt.’ They all aren’t corrupt, and it does matter who’s in office. Eighty million people didn’t vote in 2020, and it is this disengagement that ushers in fascism. There is a weakness in Democracy that Trump exploited:

“…in the career of Huey Long epitomized the essential weakness of Democracy—the pathetic willingness of the electorate to trust a glib tongue and a dramatic personality. Quite justified, he was called a forerunner to American Fascism.” Washington Post editorial after the death of Huey Long

Trump was elected because we all thought his enablers would stop him, the Constitution would stop him, our friends and neighbors would stop him, but his enablers had neither the character nor the integrity to say no.  Given their lack of critical thinking, they believed him when he said that only he could fix things—meaning, only he could handle his grievances. 

If Trump is reelected, we can’t blame the boogie man; we can only blame ourselves for looking away, our silence paving the way for American Fascism. 

“When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.”― James Waterman Wise


Final thoughts, and this is important.

Our country is divided at a level unprecedented. So what’s the cause? Is this just a random occurrence, or is there a causal agent secretly working behind the scenes?

“The revanchist Kremlin has to paralyze and inflame US politics. Russian state media, bots, trolls and online proxies exploit disagreements in the US over social issues like abortion, gun control, ethnic groups and police behavior.”

“Putin has also allocated increased resources to troll farms, such as the notorious Internet Research Agency (IRA); the IRA uses fake social media accounts to foment division abroad. These efforts are part of the Kremlin’s coordinated, heavily financed effort to undermine democracy.” Quote of Ivana Stradner

Yevgeny Prigozhin, the Russian minister, openly stated in early November, “Gentlemen, we interfered, we are interfering and we will interfere. “The goal is not to promote one political side over another. It’s to keep the United States as divided as possible.” Prequel, by Rachael Maddow

Mission accomplished.

This overlapped with its desire to “provoke and amplify political and social discord in the United States” (in the words of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III), leading it to weigh in not only on electoral politics but cultural fights — investing in amplifying and exacerbating contentious social debates.

This strategy of divisiveness has deep roots going back to Nazi Germany. It almost worked then, was adopted by Putin, and is now being reenacted by Trump and his minions, divisiveness being the thread that courses through all three bloodlines.

“Germany’s agents were tasked with finding these fissures in American society and then prying them further apart, exploiting them to make Americans hate and suspect each other, and maybe even wish for a new kind of country altogether. A partisan, bickering, demoralized America, The Nazis believed, would be incapable of mounting a successful war effort in Europe. It might even soften us up for an eventual takeover.” Quote of Ivana Stradner





  1. Simon Atlas

    Thanks Curt. I only hope your “Wake Up Call” is not too late and will not be ignored. If not, what we will witness will be kind to the Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire”.

    • Curt Strickland

      Thanks so much Simon!

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