Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Hong Kong and Moscow demonstrations: the fate of autocracies

The street demonstrations in Russia and the bloody crackdown on the occupiers of the Hong Kong airport are how disgruntled citizens react when democracy fails to give them hope that change will happen and their autocratic leaders will listen. Is this the kind of future for America we want to see?

  Autocracies such as  Donald Trump admires never have a peaceful ending. When people lose faith that they can fairly get the government to listen, eventually that autocracy will fall by coup or by mob action.   Suppression of presumed anti-government voters, permitting propaganda and lies on favored media to fool them, enstalling only supporters to be appointed judges,  and subverting and ignoring the rule of law, make such riots and demonstrations one outlet for rage and regime change and another other is often a coup by one autocrat replacing another.

Losing faith in the integrity of the ballot box and only permitting candidates on the ballot box approved by the Putin has done,  is an old Soviet tactic.  The new generation of Russians who are protesting are not fooled.  The treaty setting up Hong Kong as a democracy with their own judiciary was violated when China permitted extradition to the mainland. Those who are protesting are angry.  Constitutions are only as good and effective guardians of democracy as their citizens' support.  If the US Constitution is followed with integrity, the document provides a peaceful way to change regimes and a method to vent anger peacefully. What is dismaying in America, so many are so supportive of Trump's attempt to establish an autocracy based upon him at the head.  He has not yet controlled the election process nor has he stacked the courts enough yet to succeed. The answer in 2020 is still a functioning democracy and the ability for the electorate to vote him out before he can do more damage to our fragile democracy with a second term.

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