Time magazine offered me “Person of the Year” before Trump, but they wanted me to say their editors invented “Foxolimjonesian” and “Foxification.” I declined.
When Trump makes a similar claim, and Time responds that nothing he said was remotely true, that’s serious. Unlike my fib, his lies are legion, and affect us all. Since the election, his untruths number more than 1,600. You can look it up. It’s beyond pathological. In a “leader,” it’s alarming. The only thing more so is people who deny it.
Retaining ownership of the above-noted appellations, I present my latest: Prevariocracy. Because they can’t win honestly with their donor-demanded, economically irresponsible, environmentally destructive, stockholder-enriching, poverty-punishing, no-growth fiscal agenda, Republican leaders created the prevariocracy to push their no-hearings, no-jobs corporate tax breaks. Among other untruths. Trump, his Cabinet, and his rapacious Congress aren’t draining the swamp. They are the swamp.
Faced with choosing between protecting the institutions on which America was founded — preserving democracy, in other words — and an agenda constructed expressly to foster and maintain oligarchy, they’ve chosen the latter. It’s a Mephistophelian bargain, at the expense of 95 percent of us, supporters included.
Erasing the boundaries between truth and falsehood is but the starting point for today’s Republican leaders. It underpins Trump’s nonstop attacks on non-Foxolimjonesian media, promoting the myth of “fake news” to defame reporters brave enough to expose their fictions. (The Washington Post just parried a Koch-funded O’Keefian scam aimed at discrediting reporting on Roy “Unqualified-even-without-predation” Moore. Trump has contributed 10 grand to O’Keefe.) Creating distrust of non-propagandist media, Trump feels free to lie about Russian connections and election interference (tinyurl.com/just-this1). And pretty much everything else.
Deliberate as an IED, Republicans are turning the electoral process into a weapon for retaining power, rather than the means by which we are empowered to influence our government. They’ve chosen to win by gerrymandering, and by promulgating the Orwellian falsehood of massive voter fraud to justify laws impeding access to polling places by Democratic-leaning citizens. In states Trump won by a whisper, it worked to the tune of hundreds of thousands of legal voters turned away.
Worse: Recognizing that people capable of thinking, having access to free-flowing information, are a threat to their deceptions, Republicans have been attacking public education for decades, creating a warehouse of pliable voters, ignorant of science, suspicious of expertise. From rewriting history textbooks to teaching mythology over science, cynically manipulating the faithful, whom they regard as fertile soil in which to plant their dishonesty (when will they see it?), their war on truth and the desire and ability to obtain it has been unrelenting.
And now they’re targeting access to the internet, where facts counter to their deceits are in abundance, for people immune to the plague of disinformation they’re spreading, aided by Russia. The FCC was inundated with as many as a million fake letters and emails demanding an end to net neutrality. Predictably, suspiciously, the Trump-appointed head of the FCC is refusing to cooperate with investigations. If they succeed in undermining fair access, it’ll hit poor people the hardest. Anyone surprised?
Simultaneously, almost unnoticed, right-wing media conglomerates like Sinclair metastasize across the land (they’re here), substituting Fox-like propaganda for news. Democracy depends on informed voters; these attacks on accurate information are multi-varied and disturbingly effective.
And they know maintaining this subversion requires larding federal courts with incompetent ideologues who’ll look the other way from attacks on voting, minority rights, women’s health, environmental protection, separation, consumer protection (a Trump appointee just did), and more. Since the American Bar Association has been evaluating judicial nominees, initiated by President Eisenhower in 1953, less than 1 percent of all nominees had been deemed not qualified. Until Trump’s. Of them, it’s 8 percent. (Trump told the ABA he’ll ignore their recommendations. He already has a swampful of choices.) The Republican Senate consented. To them, judicial qualification means willingness to legislate from the bench. Their way.
Realizing that legislating wealth accretion for themselves and their financiers requires destroying the indispensable components of a free society, Trump and Republicans are doing so, enthusiastically.
It can’t be overstated how dangerous this is. People who ignore it are facilitators; those who see and excuse it fatally misunderstand, or reject, the true source of American greatness. Trump retweets Nazi anti-Muslim videos. Fox spews state-sponsored agitprop. Congressional deconstruction is relentless.
“It can’t happen here?” It is. Right now.
Email Sid Schwab at email@example.com.