The Short Road to Tyranny in America

I first heard the term "banana republic" in a silly argument with my brother when we were both smart, but nowhere near fully educated. I believe he referred to a petty tyrant as a "cheap, two-bit dictator of a banana republic."
Generally, the expression refers to petty third world dictatorships whose economy revolves around a single product, and who's Constitution is fairly meaningless if they even have one. If you piss off El supremo you can very quickly find yourself locked in a dirty cell for the rest of your life without much of a trial or any guarantee of due process. It's the kind of society where as you grow up you may or may not learn the three r's, but you do learn very quickly to keep your mouth shut lest you antagonize those in power and bad consequences fall on you, often totally out of proportion to whatever it is you might have said.

It's the kind of place where what belongs to you belongs to El supremo, and what belongs to El supremo belongs to El supremo too, the kind of place where doors get kicked in any time of day or night, and the kind of place where political opponents either get locked up on a permanent basis or disappear in the middle of the night, never to be seen again.
Sometimes they collapse into venality and savagery, like when Saddam Hussein had three meals cooked every day in every one of his palaces, whether he was going to be there or not, and did not hesitate to use rape and acid baths as punishment. Sometimes they become refined versions of totalitarianism where every aspect of society is used for control, like when the final coterie of living dead Soviet leaders before Gorbachev weaponized psychiatry to justify declaring anyone who disagreed with their perfect form of government insane and sending them for treatment at sanitariums which were nothing more than prisons.

If I were to sound the alarm bell that we could be headed in that direction, no doubt a bunch of you folks out there would say I was crazy, that this country could never become like that. I would respond that we already took a few steps in that direction back during the Red scare,. A time when you might find yourself having to answer before the Senate or the House Un-American activities committee because know something you said that you didn't remember saying or some meeting you barely remembered attending, but someone did, and brought it to the authorities' attention. What you did might well have been benign, but it didn't matter, just because you got accused you might find yourself facing financial and personal ruin.

But hey, this can't happen here, right? We left all that behind almost 70 years ago, right? Are you sure about that? We don't talk about the bourgeoisie like the Soviets did, but we fling the accusation of "privilege" around with wild abandoned at anyone who seems to be doing better and won't get on board with the current progressive cant. We don't lock people up for displaying insufficient loyalty to the party, but now we talk about the FBI looking into parents who insist on having a say in their children's education as possible racists. Communism was the accusation 70 years ago, racism is the accusation now. Law enforcement up to now at least pretended to be nonpartisan. Now it does the bidding of one party against the other. The military was supposedly above the fray and didn't get involved in partisan politics. Now it's highest officer claims he fought his commander-in-chief from the inside. The thought of using law enforcement against a political opponent was at best just bluster. Yes, I know Trump had supporters who yelled "lock her up!" with regard to Hillary, but he never took any steps towards doing it.

The road to tyranny is shorter than you think, and I think we just took an additional step on the road towards it. Can you really trust a government that puts its own people last? Can you really trust law enforcement that applies one set of laws to political insiders and another to everyone else? Can you trust the military whose highest officer admittedly works against his commander in chief? If the answer isn't no, then I think you have to look inward and ask exactly what principles are you paying allegiance to.

First published in Steven Olivo's personal Facebook page.  Reprinted and published by Don McCullen with premission from the author.

Roots of Evi by Peter Lemiska is licensed under N/A N/A