I bought the book, On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century (Timothy Snyder) right after Trump was elected. It seemed appropriate at the time. Now it seems imperative, we all own, and read, a copy.
In transparency, I had not begun to read the book until Mr. Snyder was a guest on the Rachel Maddow show recently. With the Department of Justice already compromised by Attorney General Bill Barr and about to fail with his meddling in cases involving Trump allies, it felt past time to read the book.
Lesson One, to me, is about not obeying authoritarian rule while there is choice between liberty or death.
It is about continuing to speak out against the hate being spewed towards the “other.” This can be through our conversations, our Tweets, our Facebook posts, calling our elected officials, writing blogs, writing letters to editors, our replies/comments to others on social media, and any other way you can think of to do.
It is about getting out and not only registering to vote, but also voting. No matter how hard they make it to register, to vote early, to vote at all through voter roll purges, to provide too few voting machines, to have paper back-ups to electronic voting machines, to requiring state issued IDs. We must do what is legally necessary to vote, then to actually vote.
It is not being apathetic in the face of challenge and adversity. We need to care about what is going on around us, then act to make it better. Don’t begin to allow the frog boil take you over, because the turn to authoritarianism goes slow in the beginning, we don’t notice or worse, come to accept, it is what it is and we can’t do anything about. That is what the Trumpists want, for us to become bewildered, overwhelmed, and hopeless. Rise up and own your power as a citizen.
It is about calling out lies and so-called alternative facts. We know just by looking around there is no such thing as an alternative fact. We know when we are being mislead and lied to because what is being said does not jive with what we see with our own eyes and hear with our own ears. Trust yourself, your “gut” knows—so trust it.
It is about turning off Fox News and any other news outlets spewing, or constantly repeating, pro-Russian propaganda, pro-North Korean propaganda, and pro-Chinese propaganda. Those countries have been our adversaries for years due to their anti-democratic and anti-freedom philosophies. We know that hasn’t changed, so we need to speak out against whomever is spreading the propaganda.
It is about action, taking action, believing in our country and believing in ourselves to make a difference in saving our way of life, even as imperfect though it may be.
It is our imperfections which make us great as we know we are imperfect as a nation, and we continue as a collective in trying to get it right. Sometimes it is three steps forward and two steps back, but it is always forward, as long as good people resist the bad.
Together we can, will, and must act to preserve our country, and therefore ourselves.