Donald Trump’s actions against peaceful protesters across the United States have horrified the world, but more so the survivors of brutal dictatorships who are speaking out in condemnation in terms that all Americans should take seriously.
Trump’s decision to have peaceful protests around the White House broken up with the use of chemical agents and rubber bullets so he could stage a photo-op of himself holding up a bible at St. John’s Episcopal Church sparked outrage and disgust across the country and around the globe, including from Republicans. Some other Republicans, of course, have been urging Trump to crush the protests with military force.
The right to protest is protected by the Constitution, and Trump’s endorsement of violence against protesters is setting the stage for a possible declaration of martial law and the derailing of our democracy.
Survivors of brutal dictatorships recognize the signs of such regimes, and they see the same thing happening in the United States.
Argentinian psychoanalyst Ana María Careaga was kidnapped and tortured by Argentina’s military dictatorship in the 1970s when she was just 16 years old. Her mother was also kidnapped and murdered.
While the Trump regime has not resorted to kidnappings and outright murder yet, Careaga told The Guardian that what she is seeing is eerily familiar.
“What’s happening is very dangerous in a way similar to the dictatorships we had to endure in South America,” Careaga said. “Trump is shielding himself behind religious symbols while trying to seduce people to vote for him in the name of freedom, when it is precisely their freedom that leaders like him plan to abolish.”
Trump has been slowly poisoning every American institution over the last three years as he ignores the law, belittles Congress, and issues decrees as if he’s a king. Remember when conservatives accused Obama of being a tyrant because he issued a few executive orders? Well, Trump has issued even more executive orders and many of them violate civil and human rights.
Putting kids in cages and banning Muslims from entering the country are just two examples. Then there’s his recent executive order aimed at punishing social media for fact-checking his lies.
The kids locked in cages is, by far, the most troubling for Miriam Lewis, another survivor of Argentina’s dictatorship in the 1970s. Lewis knows what it is like to be a prisoner in a camp, and witnessed thousands of people being murdered and tortured by the regime.
Trump’s use of the military against American citizens and his inciting of deadly violence against Democrats signal what could come next, according to Lewis.
“I think Americans are not aware, or don’t have the experience, to realize what it means for the military to be out on the streets in charge of domestic security,” Lewis said. “In Latin America, unfortunately, we do have a lot of experience with how that can lead to an authoritarian regime irrespective of the fact that Trump was democratically elected.”
Experts in the United States already fear that Trump could try to cancel the next election or refuse to hand over power should he lose, the ultimate signs of burgeoning dictatorship, which is being enabled by sycophantic Republicans.
So, Americans certainly cannot look to Republicans to stand up to Trump. That means they will have to vote for Democrats to take power. The worst-case scenario is a civil war.
Americans cannot ignore what is happening right in front of their eyes. The warning signs of authoritarianism are all there. And unless we act, we will experience horrors that we’ve only heard about happening in other countries.
Featured image via screen capture
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