At first I liked the way that Trump ruffled up the Republican establishment. It was refreshing to see to see him inside their OODA loop. However, lately, I am beginning to change my mind. I am still very much against the Republican establishment. To paraphrase Ronald Reagan, "I didn't leave the Republican Party. The Republican Party left me." It was a worm of a thought that kept squirming around my mind, something that I knew I had seen and read about. I noticed it with both Trump and Sanders. Then it struck. It was the idea that we as Americans think we now need a "strong man" to help us make this country "great again." The conservative historian in me then hit high gear.
We have seen this before in history. A country suffers through a crisis or a series of catastrophes. A strong, magnetic leader rises with promises of restoring a former glory or power. The populace, desperate for a change, rises to make the promises true, trading freedom for the initial velvet chains of soft tyranny, then the velvet is burned away and the State's full power is plied across the land. All the time the citizenry thought they were free. Yet they were not.
It seems the same with today, especially in light of some of the things that are being witnessed during this year's political process. Yet, it seems most Americans are completely oblivious to the fact they are on the verge of rhyming history and are clueless to what they are getting ready to do.
This election, more so than in the past, even 2012, appears to be the most critical of this generation. There is so much riding on this year's election it is hard to contemplate the possibilities that may occur.
Note: They Thought They Were Free references the title of the work by Milton Mayer, which studies how ordinary people can get caught up into Fascism. Mayer published the book in 1955 after a series of interviews with ten ordinary Germans after World War 2.
A small excerpt:
“What happened here was the gradual habituation of the people, little by little, to being governed by surprise; to receiving decisions deliberated in secret; to believing that the situation was so complicated that the government had to act on information which the people could not understand, or so dangerous that, even if the people could not understand it, it could not be released because of national security. And their sense of identification with Hitler, their trust in him, made it easier to widen this gap and reassured those who would otherwise have worried about it.”--from Chapter 13, “But Then It Was Too Late”
The Past is Prologue.