Signs of Authoritarianism on Our Shores
The free world is in a global fight against the spread of authoritarianism, forms of government or political parties that suppress individual liberty and are opposed to the ideals of representative democracy. Unfortunately there are many signs that the global wave of authoritarianism has reached the United States with the election of Donald Trump as President. Scroll down to learn more about the signs of authoritarianism in the Trump Administration.
Nepotism, the hiring of unqualified personal relations, is a universal sign of authoritarian regimes. From Recep Erdogan in Turkey to Vladimir Putin in Russia, all authoritarian leaders use their office to elevate their unqualified relatives to positions of power, often so that these relatives can abuse these positions to enrich themselves at the expense of the public treasury. Donald Trump has promoted his daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner to positions as top White House advisers. Ivanka and Kushner have met with world leaders on behalf of the United States, Kushner has been tasked with leading a Middle East peace effort, and Ivanka has represented the United States at international forums in the first three months of the Trump Administration.
What are Ivanka and Kushner's qualifications? Ivanka, age 35, has a bachelors degree in economics from the same school her father graduated from and most of her "real world" experience has been working for her father. Kushner, age 36, has slightly more experience in that he has a law degree and MBA, but like his wife, most of his work experience was for his wealthy father's company. It is not always nepotism to hire relatives. For example, Robert F. Kennedy served as Attorney General to his brother JFK. But Robert Kennedy had a law degree from Harvard, served in the Navy, worked as an attorney in the Department of Justice and as a top Senate staffer, and had been confirmed for his job by a majority of the Senate. Robert Kennedy was qualified for his job and it was not nepotism for him to serve as Attorney General. But for Ivanka and Kushner, who have the slimmest of experience, to serve in positions of extreme power without Senate confirmation is the dictionary definition of nepotism.
USING PUBLIC OFFICE TO ENRICH PERSONAL INTERESTS
Another key feature of authoritarian regimes is that those in power use their public office to line their own pockets. In Donald Trump's first few months as President, he has made millions of dollars without having to lift a finger, and all at the public's expense. For example, Trump has taken almost a dozen vacations to his golf club in Florida as President, and during each trip lines is pockets with hundreds of thousands of dollars as Secret Service agents and White House staff rent rooms at Trump's resort at the taxpayers' expense. This is the hallmark behavior of an authoritarian leader.
LIVING BY MISINFORMATION
Another feature of authoritarian regimes is spreading lies and misinformation in order to prevent a meaningful public discussion about the issues. The Trump Administration has mastered this tactic within its first few months. And let's be clear - this is different than "spin." The Trump Administration doesn't try to put the best face on its policies - it outright lies about known facts and changes its positions constantly. To date, the Trump Administration has falsely claimed: 3-5 million illegal votes were cast in the 2016 election, that former President Obama wiretapped Donald Trump, that the crowds at his inauguration were among the biggest ever, and on and on. Don't be fooled. This flurry of falsehoods is designed to keep you, the public, off balance and to make it harder for us to fairly evaluate Donald Trump's policies. This is unlike anything any President before has done, and it is yet another sign of what an aberration Trump is for the Presidency.
USING RACISM AND NATIONALISM TO BOLSTER SUPPORT
Authoritarian regimes are unable to sustain themselves because they inherently reject representative democracy and listening to the people's voice. In order to maintain control, they seek to create division and hatred by stoking ethnic and racial tensions. Donald Trump has used this tactic by creating hatred against immigrants that have lived in our communities for decades as well as stoking anti-Muslim sentiment. Further, the Trump Administration has sought the support of the most bigoted segments of American society by refusing to condemn attacks against Jewish targets across the country. Don't let our country succumb to the divisions seen in authoritarian regimes around the world.
Trump's Love of Other Authoritarians
Every American President since World War II, Republican and Democrat, has condemned authoritarian forms of government, and rightfully so since they stand against everything positive that America represents. But Donald Trump is different. He is the first American President in decades to openly praise authoritarian governments and political movements. He has repeatedly praised Vladimir Putin, who has overseen the murder of journalists and political opponents in Russia, and he has said the US should be more open to working with authoritarian regimes around the world, including Syria's Bashar Assad, who used chemical weapons against his own people.
Be clear: it is not normal for a US President to openly praise authoritarian governments and offer to work with them. America is supposed to be a beacon of hope to oppressed people around the world, not an ally to enemies of liberty.
Use the link below to contact your Representatives and Senators to demand an investigation, and, if necessary, the commencement of impeachment proceedings to confront the authoritarian tendencies of the Trump Administration.