Democratic systems of government are under widespread attack in our world today, and it isn’t only members of the Democratic party in America who are saying this.

Last month, the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance in Sweden issued its 2021 report on “The Global State of Democracy.” They noted the increasing number of authoritarian nations where voting was restricted, as was free speech and the rule of law.

And they regrettably mentioned the United States, saying that the USA, “the bastion of global democracy, fell victim to authoritarian tendencies itself, and was knocked down a significant number of steps on the democratic scale.”

This quotation is far too polite. We saw “authoritarian tendencies” in 2015. These tendencies have evolved into a full-blown “authoritarian plan of action” now that allegiance to Donald Trump has changed the Republican Party from a conservative but democratic party to one moving us quickly toward an authoritarian dictatorship.

They are doing this as aspiring dictators usually do, by claiming to protect our freedom from “enemies of the people,” a category that includes anyone who disagrees with them (newspapers, Democrats, real conservatives, people who expose phony election fraud and other lies). All of these folks they call “radical socialists” who they say want to destroy America.

Conservative Republican commentator David Brooks said he was “terrified” by members of his own party this past November at the National Conservatism Conference in Orlando, Florida.  

His November description of his experience was titled “The Terrifying Future of the American Right.” (Washington Post, 11-18-21)

Brooks cited speaker Rachel Bovard, who for several Republican legislators, including Rand Paul, and was named one of the “Most Influential Women in Washington Under 35” by the National Journal.

Young Rachel’s address was rousing, wrote Brooks, “one of the best synopses of national conservatism (NatCon) at the conference.” In it, she claimed that Democrats “want to destroy us” and have been doing so for years “by dominating every cultural, intellectual, and political institution.”

Her enemy was the “left-wing elite,” which she called “a totalitarian cult of billionaires and bureaucrats ... empowered by the most sophisticated surveillance and communications technologies in history.”  

We know Chinese rulers control their people with techniques such as “facial recognition technology” and other totalitarian methods. But Bovard was not talking about that. She was talking about manipulation of the public best represented by Zuckerburg’s Facebook (now morphed into META). They are, Bovard asserted, part of the leftist elite, joining with Democrats in Congress like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in an attempt to destroy our democracy.

This extremist group gave Brooks “the sinking sensation that the thunderous sound (following Bovard’s speech) is the future of the Republican Party.”

David Brooks, who cares about democracy and endorses Biden’s concern for Americans in poverty, also heard leading Republicans say at this conservative conference: “The left’s ambition is to create a world beyond belonging. Their grand ambition is to deconstruct the United States of America” (Josh Hawley), “the left hates America ... (they are) trying to use culture as a tool to destroy America” (Ted Cruz), and “we are confronted by a systematic effort to dismantle our society, our traditions, our economy, and our way of life” (Marco Rubio).

Democrats have repeatedly warned us that the Trump Republican Party was a threat to our democracy and our constitution. That warning cry now has to be replaced by an urgent action plan to stop the installation of an American dictatorship by 2024.  

Even now, many Republicans continue to falsely claim fraud in the 2020 election and are using their control of red state legislatures to make voting more difficult for poor and minority voters. Democrats must engage Americans emotionally as well as rationally to combat this. Action in Congress is necessary; passing bills to help people with child care and even to protect voting rights, however, is not enough.

It is encouraging to see Brooks express dismay at these NatCon distortions; it is discouraging that a moderate Republican is attacking the Authoritarian Castle that Democrats should be storming!

Biden, Schumer and Pelosi should be the ones calling out the outrageous lies of Hawley, Cruz, and Rubio, not just David Brooks.  

And they have only a few months to do this.

Ken Wolf is a Democrat and a retired Murray State University history professor. He can be reached at wolken43@gmail.com.

Editor’s Note: Opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the editorial opinion of the Murray Ledger & Times.

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