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This blog serves my columns as an archive, a place to add footnotes,data sources and drafts of my weekly 550 word column for the Sky Hi News.(www.skyhidailynews.com) Often these drafts are posted on my Facebook page, The Muftic Forum.. To learn more about the posting subject, click onto the links at the end of the posting.Blog will be on vacation May 28-June 25 2018, with sporadic to no postings during that time.
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Monday, May 21, 2018
Why I am not certain of American democracy's future
Updated and revised: 7/16/2018
I was spending my university junior year abroad in Berlin. It was a heady time
for a US political science major wondering what did happen and why what was
happening now was going so wrong and so right simultaneously. It was twelve years after World WW II ended. I walked through the rubble and desolate
stretches of bombed out spaces on both sides of the
Brandenburg Gates. The Wall had not yet been built. It was a hands-on view as
one form of fascism lay in ruins and the Soviets consolidated control of their
conquered eastern sector. I met a young
medical student from Yugoslavia, then a communist country headed by dictator
Tito. We later married, and we were together for over the next 50 years until
he passed away in 2015. He became a US citizen, active in civic affairs, with
certificates and plaques hanging on our walls to attest how much he loved life
in America, democracy, and the freedom to pursue his dreams. We visited Yugoslavia and his family when it began to loosen up beginning in 1972 and then on the average of every two years until 2015. I experienced it in their Stalinist era, their period of more benign dictatorship with limited capitalism, their pains of a war for independence to become Croatia, and transition to democracy.
is what I have learned from these life experiences. When people are fearful, confused by chaos
out of their control, feel victimized or losing economic and political power
they once had, communism and fascism find fertile ground. There is a human streak
longing to be part of the ruling group (some call that tribalism or racism) and
to point blame so they can put down the offenders and rationalize abuses of democratic institutions to gain absolute power. At the same time, those feeling wronged look
for a leader to lead them from the wilderness.
These totalitarian dictators like Hitler and Mussolini seized the reins
of government by manipulating existing democracies. They then began
consolidating power, little by little, often under the public' radar or with majority’s approval. The fascists gained control of media by destroying opposition press. They demanded total loyalty to them
personally instead of to the rule of law
Theirs were the only truth and facts..
In current times, dictators and autocrats like Putin of Russia and Erdogan of
Turkey cloak themselves with words and sham elections and seize
power by abusing democratic practices. Trump is trying to join their ranks.. Like them ,Trump is promoting TV and
social media outlets that suppress news and data that puts him and his agenda
in a negative light, calling critics "enemies of the people", .dishonest, and facts they present as fake news. He gins up fear of
migrants from central America as he repeats lies about crime rates of
immigrants, increases in migrant border crossings, and the cost to the treasury
of immigrants, which, if based on his own government's data, are the exact
opposite of his claims. Like modern autocrats, he contends he can act above the law, claiming he cannot be
prosecuted for certain actions, and he has power to pardon himself and his
why am I not certain of democracy's future? It is because 44 percent of Americans still approve of Trump. Do they think Trump's anti democratic tendencies are unimportant, or are they oblivious, or like his policies more than his methods? Do they not care if we have elections vulnerable to being determined by an adversary's cyber attacks. Do some consider Putin on their team?. On July 16 in Helsinki Trump said he trusts Putin's denial Russia interfered in the 2016.elections ignoring evidence presented by his own intelligence services and his public invitation to Russia to find Hillary's emails (Russia began the task that sane evening) as if he does not care if they do it again in 2018 and 2020. Democracy is fragile, and its survival
depends upon the support of the governed. That support is teetering on the edge
in a closely divided nation and a GOP dominated , Trump loyal Congress that refuses to check and balance his behavior.