I am not a supporter of #45 nor am I a Democrat. You can review my political affiliations elsewhere if it matters to you. The fear I feel now is further enhanced by a chilling moment twenty years ago. A chilling moment which I cannot seem to find video or support for but which I recall quite vividly. In this new world where archives are all digital, can we trust our own memories? The archive is so fluid. I don’t know any longer. However, I recall a moment at the beginning of this century.
In this moment, I felt a chill go up my spine. It was a realization of a power I did not see or understand but which was clearly there for it had just pulled strings. I was watching television in early December 2000. The presidential race was still in doubt a month after the election. These were truly unprecedented(LOL) times.
In any case, at the time the election is still being argued. The Bush team wants access to the White House but the Clintons are refusing because the election is still in doubt. There has been no ruling from the Supreme Court yet. This does not come until December 12th or 13th. This moment I refer to is before the ruling. Ever since this moment, I have been waiting for the other shoe to drop with a revelation about the true power behind the curtain
So back to this early December 2000 evening to which I refer. While I am watching TV the broadcast is interrupted. George W. Bush appears at the end of long curtained hallway. I know this is not the SEAT of government because the Clintons were not allowing them access. Dubya walks out to a podium backed by flags and gives a short speech.
I try to change the channel but he is on every major channel. I am baffled as I have heard of no ruling declaring a victor to the contest. I watch the remainder of the speech because I have no choice. Bush finishes with an “Everything will be OK” comment and “God Bless America.” Dubya then strides assertively down the long curtained hallway at an undisclosed location and exits the screen.
I got a very real chill down my spine at that moment. I understood there was no official ruling and yet the networks recognized the president as Dubya. I realize the broadcast media recognize the seat of power for the US government to be WHEREVER George W. Bush is sitting. I was momentarily very scared and confused???!!! It feels like a foreshadowing of something much worse in the future.
I can find no confirmation of this news conference now. All the ones I see in Google searches are post Supreme Court ruling. Unfortunately, this history is from 2000. I long for a reference like a mid-20th century encyclopedia with very reliable information about such things. Encyclopedias are the only foundation of truth which remains, but they can only go so far.
Everything and anything which happened afterwards in the Bush administration could be seen as the other shoe dropping. As things went sideways in my country after 9/11, I recalled the chill I had. Torturing prisoners, indefinite detention and denying the Geneva Convention to prisoners of war followed in the subsequent years. All these could be seen as the other shoe dropping, but they never really felt that way to me. There was still a “veneer” of legitimacy on these actions.
Now it is feeling like the other shoe is hanging in the air, perhaps even already in mid-fall! Whatever levers were pushed: secret State of Emergency, secret Declaration of War or Martial Law whatever happened behind close doors changed America during the first months of the Bush presidency in 2001. This changed America is much more vulnerable to upheaval because belief in the rule of law has begun to break down. Americans all saw it happening after 9/11. Most felt it was “necessary to give up some freedoms in the name of safety.”
Americans don’t understand really what got ramrodded through in the days after 9/11. It is classified, secret law. However, it is clear the surveillance state was expanded. The powers to detain people indefinitely even American citizens was expanded. The powers to kill and torture people, even American citizens had been expanded. The Unitary Executive was born and the other branches of government genuflected to the throne. The excuse back then was PATRIOTISM but really it was just fear, especially of those scary terrorists.
Now it will be nationalism, I presume. No matter the excuse, the executive branch can do whatever it wants is what I have been seeing for a while. At least as long as the enforcement branches of the government support the executive branch. This was the great danger of the Department of Homeland Security, frankly. Now we see this top down control happening and understand the dangerous power it brings to one person. We just saw the Department of Justice able to bring in paramilitary personnel from other states sympathetic with this administration. This was presumably on direct order from the Unitary Executive.
Even back fifteen years ago, the world was beginning to worry about us. Watching the Top Gear episode where Clarkson, May and Hammond flee a gas station pursued by gun-toting rednecks in pick up trucks . They understand it was not staged. The whole world saw that happen. They knew it was not staged and wondered how it was tolerated. It could be embarrassing if one was asked in polite cocktail conversation among an international crowd.
When Obama got elected, the world immediately awarded him the Nobel Peace prize. The world felt it was able to breathe a collective sigh of relief when they saw a black man elected to the highest office. “Maybe America was not as crazy as the WMD pursuit had looked. “ The world thought in 2008 in between worrying about whether there would be a financial contagion and collapse coming from the U.S.
Obama did not really change a lot though. His own party blocked him. His own party blocked the closing of Guantanamo. His own party blocked or limited his ability to send money to “shovel-ready” projects in the country, FDR-style. He advised Americans demand their legislators put limits on how the executive branch used drones to assassinate people, but we did not listen. Obama tried, but America seemed a little too racist to pay attention to anything the man tried to do in the name of unity.
Now we are here. This Unitary Executive has not even released tax returns. Unbelievable changes in United States monetary policy have been taking place and oversight inspectors fired. Enormous redistribution of revenues from the government and we have no idea whether the person making those decisions is also making billions of dollars off of those same decisions. This is the very definition of an oligarchy right now. Jeez, the Clintons released twenty years of tax returns and all the Republicans could impeach “Bubba” on was a dalliance with an intern? Goodness I want their accountant doing my taxes!
I think Americans are waking up to this corruption. However, I think it might be too late to change things through the presidency. If Obama could not do it, Biden is not going to be able to do so. Biden is not the answer for most Americans even though I think most of them think he is. The duopoly is falling apart, but Americans cling to it.
Frankly, I do not think the current occupant will leave the White House, even if Biden wins the election. I have not seen this president held to account on anything. I have not been all that surprised admittedly, since Scooter Libby taught me the rule of law was dead a decade ago. Nonetheless, I still thought there might be some push back on tearing infants from their mother’s breasts at the border, caging children, conspiring with foreign powers to win elections or other such shenanigans.
Consequences have not been forthcoming though. Even when courts ruled over and over the children be reunited, it did not happen. There were no consequences. There have been nothing but “strongly worded” letters. The reason for this I think is many in power know just how fragile things are. They are wary of a constitutional crisis which obviously brings down the republic. Cynically, it is mostly concern for their own power being lost by such an event rather than any true patriotism. Nancy Pelosi looked pretty impotent when Barr held out his wrists for her to cuff him after he had been declared in contempt of Congress.
I fear a Biden election will bring strife to the streets without bringing any real change to what is being done in our name by DC. This president has the ability to put thousands of troops loyal to HIM on the street. In Michigan, he was able to dog whistle armed supporters to the capitol buildings. When power is the only thing left because there are no ideals any longer, then the winner will be the one who dominates the streets. Thugs understand this.
I would prefer four more years of this clown showing Americans what a sham we REALLY are. This may have the utility of showing what crooks almost every one of these people are who allegedly take the oath of office. Perhaps the partisanship will end with this epiphany. I prefer this over strife in the street. War is a terrible thing and CIVIL wars are particularly ugly versions of armed conflict.
The Democrats have not even hoisted a banner I can really have any passion for. We are Republican-lite? They made sure they put up the only candidate on God’s green Earth who could have lost to the pu$$ygr@bb3r. No thanks, they have a great deal of responsibility here. The Republican Party is a personality cult now, so Republican-lite looks good to those being booted from Trump’s new party. Republican-lite has not been all that effective in helping us strengthen our institutions though.
Ergo, four more years to the Pu$$ygr@bb3r in Chief might make more sense. I am pretty sure most people with 401Ks are thinking stay the course probably makes better sense anyway. That is not my reasoning though. It is just a Biden win feels like it brings this all to a head. I just want more time to prepare I guess.
Waiting for the other shoe to drop is worrying, but it is inevitable. I do not see the Democrats fixing this in any way shape or form. I have to prepare for something else and I want more time. My opinion is stripped of partisanship and patriotism. It is just about selfish preservation of whatever I can from the coming conflict.
The whole world sees the jack-booted thugs on the streets of DC today. Most foreign powers advise their citizens to not even carry cash in America, NOT because of the criminals, but because the police “confiscate” cash as evidence of possible drug dealing etc and you never see the money again. When you consider things like this you have to realize the current lawlessness of our police force has been evident to our neighbors for some time.
We are going to have to figure it out for ourselves. The rest of the world is preparing for a collapse and conflict like the Soviet Union. They hold their collective breath right now. Will they award Biden the Nobel Peace prize too as a sign of their collective sigh of relief? Somehow I do not believe that. The rest of the world can see the signs we refuse to see.
What will we do besides shouting and shooting at each other? These things happen so quickly. I recall watching a beautiful Olympics held in a beautiful city called Sarajevo, Yugoslavia. Before the decade was out that country was gone and Sarajevo a bombed out war zone. I remember waking up and seeing Boris Yeltsin on a tank telling us the Soviet Union was no more.
I fear the republic is already dead. There is no sign the rule of law exists, only the politics of power. I started this essay with way back in 2000 because it kind of confirmed the existence of a Deep State. The current president is a symptom of a fight “behind the scenes” in this Deep State. We do not see the blow by blow but the evidence of it is represented in our divided and broken institutions. At this point, I do not believe #45 will leave office and so a Biden victory could mean armed conflict in the streets by Thanksgiving. My soft and squishy AI systems are flagging this outcome as increasing in probability.
I am actually fairly non-partisan and mostly interested in responsible governance. It became abundantly clear in 2008 responsible governance really really mattered. In fact, responsible governance could really matter to Main Street America. I have always known this fact, but I was hopeful my fellow citizens would now begin to value it more. I hoped responsible governance would begin to matter more than partisanship as it has during other key times in this republic. Unfortunately, I saw an ugliness in 2008 I thought we had put behind us.
I saw the ugly face of racism from blue collar family members DIRECTLY benefiting from Obama policies trashing him in conversation. It was right there in my face. Even when calmly presented with facts, hating on Obama was “fun” for them and they were not going to stop. It is the troll-like behavior from Americans which has been so destructive to any kind of unity. Nihilism was the cover for bashing Obama, but I saw through it. It was a way to be racist without seeming to be so. The dog whistle hurt my ears though…and my heart.
Race divides us more than ever and the Obama presidency proved to me #45 can actually leverage racism to his advantage. He knows it and he will do so. The president already started dog-whistling his supporters to show up with guns in Michigan because he was losing the political battle of corona virus lock downs. It felt like a test run. What happens when he loses an election? Get ready for quite a finale to 2020!
Only the people can get this right and we are at each others throats right now. Clear-eyed and calm people and a whole lot of them is what we need but I fear they are not out there in sufficient numbers. There are almost certainly not sufficient numbers of patriotic politicians willing to do the right thing. WE THE PEOPLE have to stick together here. The republic might be dead but it does not mean we have to start shooting at each other.