Wednesday, March 1, 2017

The Final Solution: When Big Brother is a Bully

from the movie Nineteen Eighty-Four (Atlantic Releasing)
There is talk all over the country about democrats using tea party tactics at town meetings to put pressure on their representatives, particularly with regard to the repeal of Obamacare. Even those with objections to Obamacare are still terrified about the fallout that will occur when it’s summarily dismantled. One concern has always, of course, been the effect on the insurance pool in general (“Not Even Insurance Companies Want ObamacareRepealed, Wired, 1/13/17). Of course, the counter reaction to the fulfillment of Trump’s campaign promise holds some hope out for disenfranchised Democrats, but what is even of more concern is the feeling that the Trump administration is a juggernaut that threatens to attack the very institutions by which government has functioned. In an atmosphere where the White House National Security advisor had unilaterally approached the Russians about the withdrawing of sanctions before the president was even inaugurated and then went on to misinform Vice President Pence about the substance of his talks, there’s a feeling that the original checks and balances and due process by which democracy functions are increasingly being challenged by the extraordinary behavior of the president and his inner circle. Even members of the National Security Council, the august body of top level government employees who report to the president appear rattled, "Turmoil at the National Security Council, From Top Down," NYT, 2/12/17). You may be suffering from paranoia, yet that doesn’t mean there isn’t someone following you. From the roll out of the executive order regarding immigration and the subsequent attack on James Robart the Federal Judge in Seattle who issued the restraining order, the atmosphere has been one of unilateral actions and decision making that challenge the very system by which congress has functioned. The propagation of agit-prop myths about fraudulent voting as a way increasing the public’s perception of the extent of the president’s mandate only strengthens the concern that the executive branch is increasingly testing the limits of its own accountability. The current atmosphere of course bears comparison to the Watergate and Iran Contra scandals, but with Steve Bannon a White House advisor with ties to alt Right, there are those who are now drawing parallels to the rise of Nazism in Germany (“When It’s Too Late to Stop Fascism According toStefan Zweig,” The New Yorker, 2/6/17).

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