Saturday, December 17, 2016

Even Worse Than I Thought

Shortly after the election I was looking at Vichy France as a model for what was going on in America. Now, though, I am afraid I'm looking more at the Spanish Civil War.

The break came for me with the mini-coup d'etat in North Carolina, where the Republican legislature and the Republican lame-duck governor convened in a hastily organized special session and stripped the governor's office of much of its power. The incoming occupant of this much-diminished office is, of course, a Democrat. Elected by popular vote.

What we're looking at here is an entrenched but threatened oligarchy that is willing to do anything to hold onto its power. Very much like Spain, really.

It's true that the move away from democracy has been under way for some time, most notably with voter suppression laws. But a bridge was crossed in North Carolina. On this road we'll still have elections. But pretty soon they won't matter.

As for the foreign angle, we're about to have a Texas oil man who wears a Russian decoration on his lapel preside over the U.S. State Department.

The analogies with Spain are not exact, but they don't have to be. For instance, in Spain, the Soviets supported the popularly elected, legitimate Republic. It was the Germans and the Italians who supported Franco.

But the point is that foreign intervention, whatever its form, was critical.  I for one fail to see how Franco's Army of Africa would have gotten across the water to Spain if Hitler had not airlifted them. And it is difficult to imagine Trump rising to the presidency without Vladimir Putin and Julian Assange and the hack of the Democrats' email.

The fascists in Spain used to boast that they had four military columns converging on Madrid, but they had a fifth column working for them inside Madrid. In the American context, that would be Jim Comey and the FBI.

But at least in Spain, there were usually front lines. Our conflict may lack carpet bombing and actual firing squads, but there will be no front lines. Perhaps, in this regard, Vichy France is still the better model. Not much actual gunfire. Just the occasional roundup. And always the apprehensive waiting, the not knowing what is coming next.

I greatly fear what we are about to experience in our own land.

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