I have just submitted my petition to run again for Committee-person in the 48th Ward of Philadelphia. I’m pleased to serve another term of helping out my neighbors as they deal with the political process in the city; it’s their political process, after all. I urge people to get involved in the political process that affects their day-to-day lives.
Public engagement in the political process is the main remedy to the rise of authoritarianism, plutocracy, and fascism in this country. This is the path the Republican Party, still dominated by trump and his minions are taking this country, since trump, with his racist rhetoric against Latinx peoples, immigrants, and Muslims, has encouraged the racists, religious cranks, and conspiracy-mongers out of the shadows and into the political mainstream.
Don’t hesitate to call them authoritarians; Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, after a vote by the legislature, now has a statewide “Office of election crimes and Security,” an “election police” supposedly to monitor claims of “election fraud.” (https://www.politico.com/news/2022/03/10/desantis-gets-florida-election-police-00015926) (https://www.cnn.com/2022/01/19/politics/ron-desantis-pushes-election-police-force/index.html) This is all part of repressing the votes from minority communities, which mainly vote Democratic and would be open to progressive policies. This is the result of the whine by the trump campaign about “election fraud,” since trump could never admit defeat and the monopoly on power that held by white plutocrats is being challenged—which has been long overdue.
The love of authoritarianism has come up among conservatism (not all of them, I must say, but a significant number of high-profile ones), particularly after Russia, under the former KGB officer and czar-wannabe Vladimir Putin, invaded the sovereign nation of Ukraine.
Our own former disgrace-in-chief (Barf!), who got to the White House due to Russian meddling in our elections, has long praised Putin; during a podcast with Clay and Buck, trump harped on his favorite themes—other nations dumping their prison inmates into this country, the “rigged election” he lost fair and square, and Putin invading Ukraine, saying “This is genius,” and saying about Putin’s two puppet breakaway “republics” from Ukraine, “How smart is that?” ; trump added, “And he’s gonna go in and be a peacekeeper. That’s strongest peace force;” Also “We could use that on our southern border. That’s the strongest peace force I’ve ever seen. There were more army tanks than I’ve ever seen. They’re gonna keep peace all right. No, but think of it. Here’s a guy who’s very savvy… I know him very well.” (https://www.clayandbuck.com/president-trump-with-cb-from-mar-a-lago/)
It’s not just trump: other conservatives (not all of them, let’s be fair) have heaped praise on Putin. One is Mike Pompeo, trump’s Secretary of State, who has used the terms “savvy,’ “talented,” and “capable statesman” to describe the wannabe czar, adding, “He was a KGB agent, for goodness sakes. He knows how to use power. We should respect that.” (https://www.alternet.org/2022/02/mike-pompeo-has-been-openly-praising-vladimir-putin-as-ukraine-crisis-intensifies-report/?utm_source=&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=9889&list_id=2 )
Steve Bannon, a former trump advisor hosting a podcast, said to his guest Erik Prince (former owner of Blackwater, the mercenary army-for-hire), “Putin ain’t woke. He’s anti-woke,” and Prince said “The Russian people still know which bathroom to use.” Bannon replied, “They know how many, how many genders there are in Russia?”, and prince replied, “Two.” (https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/steve-bannon-russia-trans-woke-b2022537.html) (https://www.newsweek.com/former-trump-adviser-steve-bannon-backs-anti-woke-vladimir-putin-1682122)
I remember all during the Cold War era, conservatives who vocally despised the regimes in Moscow and Peking heaped praise on them over the forcefulness they responded to such things as stifling dissidents, invading Czechoslovakia in 1968, and invading Afghanistan in 1979, how they just rammed in without any trouble and not tolerating any questions. It’s the same authoritarian tendency that had long been hidden and is now emerging again.
These are the fan-boys and fan-girls of Putin and trump; people who care nothing about democracy or the rights of others, who want to regain and perpetuate their power over people they, for some reason, deem “inferior.” The efforts of African-Americans, LGBTQs, Latinx people, Native peoples, wage workers, what have you, are a threat to them.
SO—Let’s continue to scare them with our demanding that the problems of race be intelligently discussed! Let’s challenge the power of our own, homegrown oligarchy, as dangerous to our society as the ones around Putin! Let’s continue to educate ourselves about the great issues of the day, organize ourselves at the grassroots and the shop-floor, take to the streets, and vote on Election Days! This is our challenge to our nation’s Putin-wannabees!
Stay safe, stay strong, and stay together! Slava Ukraini! America will be free! Bye!