David Frum buries the tweet

pithy 3 minute video for the impatient (also on Youtube).
We expect as citizens that our voices can be heard, including by means of peaceful protest. Trump actively goads protesters to burn flags and challenge police. Civil unrest will not be a problem for the Trump presidency. It will be a resource. Immigration protesters marching with Mexican flags, Black Lives Matter demonstrators bearing anti-police slogans; these are the images of the opposition that Donald Trump will wish his supporters to see. (video)
The mass movements of the 20th century like Fascism and Communism have left us an outdated image of what modern authoritarianism might look like. We’re not going to assemble in parade-ground formations. Politicians won’t stand erect at the microphone orating for hours. Intimidation will go where the people are. Not on the sidewalks, but in digital space. And authoritarian leaders won’t lecture. They will tweet. (video)

“Populist-fueled democratic backsliding is difficult to counter,” wrote [the authors]. “Because it is subtle and incremental, there is no single moment that triggers widespread resistance or creates a focal point around which an opposition can coalesce … Piecemeal democratic erosion, therefore, typically provokes only fragmented resistance.” Their observation was rooted in the experiences of countries ranging from the Philippines to Hungary. It could apply here too.

Perhaps the words of a founding father of modern conservatism, Barry Goldwater, offer guidance. “If I should later be attacked for neglecting my constituents’ ‘interests,’ ” Goldwater wrote in The Conscience of a Conservative, “I shall reply that I was informed their main interest is liberty and that in that cause I am doing the very best I can.” These words should be kept in mind by those conservatives who think a tax cut or health-care reform a sufficient reward for enabling the slow rot of constitutional government.

Trump and his team believe that they can achieve all that I just described for one main reason: public indifference. “Nobody cares!”, Trump likes to say. If this were happening in Honduras, we would know what to call it. It is happening here instead. So we are baffled.(video)

Those citizens who fantasize about defying tyranny from within fortified compounds have never understood how liberty is actually threatened in a modern bureaucratic state: not by diktat and violence, but by the slow, demoralizing process of corruption and deceit. And the way that liberty must be defended is not with amateur firearms, but with an unwearying insistence upon the honesty, integrity, and professionalism of American institutions and those who lead them. We are living through the most dangerous challenge to the free government of the United States that anyone alive has encountered. What happens next is up to you and me. Don’t be afraid. This moment of danger can also be your finest hour as a citizen and an American.



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store