Be Careful of What You Ask For

Those who seem hellbent on following Trump and Republican downs the path to authoritarianism may not be thinking about what life might be under a Trump monarchy. The liberties and freedoms that these folks cling to so zealously could easily vanish. Once in power, authoritarians usually do whatever they believe is necessary to maintain power. History is replete with examples. The only thing standing in the way of one-party rule in the United States is a functioning democracy which Republicans are slowing dismantling with extreme gerrymandering and laws designed to suppress and corrupt voting processes. Nothing but darkness at the end of that tunnel.

Under a Trump monarchy, citizens would no longer pledge their allegiance to the flag of the United States of America but to Donald Trump. Once in control of the government, only those loyal to Trump would get beneficial treatment. Democrats and TINOs (Trumpians in name only) would be treated like pariah. Truth and facts would be those declared by the administration. God knows you would not want to be Black, Latino, or LBGQT. Forget about your First Amendment guarantees. No right to a free press, no right to peaceably assemble or to petition the government for a redress of grievances. People would still vote, but the outcome would be preordained much like it is in Russia and other totalitarian countries.

My guess is this not the outcome that Mitch McConnell is seeking. He just wants Republicans to permanently control the federal government and preserve a system built on white supremacy. He is willing to loosen or eliminate democratic controls to fortify his grip on power. Maybe a President Ron DeSantis would not be as much a risk as Trump. I would like to believe that not all or many of the 70 million people who voted for Trump want him as their supreme ruler. The scary part is there are millions of his ardent supporters who are motivated—and blinded— by hatred and fear who would do anything to prevent the country’s takeover by socialists—aka communists—in the Democratic Party. The American society is becoming a much more dangerous place for its nonwhite population.

My fear is that people are not really paying attention. Our soon-to-be launched Social Work Democracy Project will do everything in its power to inform social workers and others about the clear and present dangers facing us today. It is imperative that we are aware and engaged in activities that will preserve, strengthen, and improve our political system. Our system is far from perfect. Due to the Electoral College, five of the nine current Supreme Court justices were nominated by presidents who lost the popular vote. They were confirmed by senators representing millions less Americans. The 25 most populous states—which have more Democratic senators—hold 84 percent of the nation’s population which means states with 16 percent of the population have half the voting power in the U.S. Senate. So much for the will of the majority.

Nancy McLean’s book, Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America, caught the attention of several of my social work colleagues and I and CRISP raised the question: Can Social Work Help Save Democracy? during our 2018 March Hill events.
We will revisit the question again this year. There are ways to mitigate these threats. Promoting ranked choice voting is one solution. Amending the constitution is a long-term strategy. Immediately, we must vote in large numbers. This is not the time for complacency if ever there was. Perhaps somebody will create an app that can monitor wait times at various polling places to reduce the need for people to wait in long lines when voting opportunity has been restricted by state laws.

So, what happens when Republican voters become woke and realize the very democracy they appear ready to abandon is their only guarantee for the liberty and freedom they revere? Many would they want to rise up against the Trump dictatorship. Wouldn’t it be ironic if it was the Republican Party that came to get your guns?

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