Almost everybody is too young to remember, but in World War II, we were in a death struggle with fascist regimes across both oceans. In the first couple of years, we didn’t know if we would survive as a free people, or fall under the fascist’s boot. If Hitler had listened to his generals, we could be speaking Deutsch in the East, Espanol in the Southwest and Nipponese west of the Rockies.

I use the word fascism to describe a totalitarian government, headed by a dictatorship, exercising total control of every aspect of society. It features control of media, the banning of opposition parties, belligerent foreign policies, persecution of minorities and the deployment of secret police to terrorize, imprison, torture, rape and murder anyone who would oppose or even criticize the regime. On the beach in Punta Del Este, Uruguay, were boulders painted in dripping blood red with “otro estudiante torturado Y asesinado” (another student tortured and assassinated).

Democracies are fragile and tend to degenerate into autocracies. Especially in times of stress. It seems that about a third of most countries are hard-core fascists, simmering just beneath the surface, hoping for the strongman to emerge and lead them in a purge of their enemies, who are almost everybody who doesn’t fit their narrow image of a patriot.

As a boy during World War II, I never imagined I would see white supremacists, the Aryan nation and neo-Nazis marching with torches, wearing facsimiles of the fearsome swastika, chanting anti-Jewish slogans.

I’ve lived and worked in several dictatorships in Latin America and elsewhere, in the service of our country. I’ve been detained by the police in Paraguay, Interpol in the Azores, vigilantes in Uruguay and was caught in the middle of a nice little coup in Montevideo. All of them wanted to hurt the imperialist Yankee. My red passport provided some protection, but the cop in Asuncion wasn’t impressed. He told me that I would be “crying in 15 minutes,” until I invoked the name of a colonel who was my contact. He let me go with a murderous look that made me shudder. Dictatorships are nasty places, and you don’t ever want to live in one.

I see our republic teetering on the precipice. It’s clear to me that this president would eagerly assume dictatorial powers were he not restrained by his own staff. Dictators don’t need a majority behind them. They only need a minority of followers willing to use violence to oppress the more peaceful majority. The people wake up one fine morning and find their democracy gone, but it’s too late to do anything about it. Don’t make the mistake of thinking it can never happen to us.

Our founders have warned us that, “eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.” Democracies don’t sustain themselves. They are under constant threat from fascist groups and we have to be on constant alert. We must actively oppose the minority who yearn for a strong-man to give them simple answers. Your prudent vote, is your protection.

A word to the wise: Be careful what you wish for. The strongman you adore has no loyalty to anyone. Fascist dictators are noted for their bloody purges of the very people who supported them in their rise to power. I hear a fire bell ringing in the night. Do you hear it too?

(12) comments

horsehouse

I am too young to remember WWII but I read enough history to know that the writer of this letter is not unreasonable to ask us to consider whether we are ignoring warning signs. Accepting one person's every word is not reasonable in everyday life. We need to question whether those who lead us do so for the general welfare, don't you think?

ASecondTake

It’s easy to make generalized and broad stroke comments. Exactly what specific event or action that the President has done to date is suppose to be the warning bell of a pending dictatorship? Be specific. It is a weak argument to compare any US President to the likes of Hitler. Must I remind you, Hitler murdered millions. Stop with the Nazi comparisons already. We have fring groups on the left and the right, neither of these wacko groups represent the majority of Americans. Question yes, but do so without the political bias.

Branson Hunter

The Patriots Act and other congressional Draconian acts grants a president the right -- under certain conditions -- to temporary suspend constitutional rights. This President ‘demands’ dictatorial powers. His absence of respect of American institution is constantly at issue. His infamous self-confessed admiration of dictators is fact. We are indeed at risk. History repeats itself. This president enjoys making the US a “rogue nation.” The early historical conditions and internal social problems and comparisons of how Hitler seized incredible powers is akin to behavior of this President actions. Both of these people became powerful by way of Machiavelli speeches attacking and destroying anything and everyone in his way. And by dividing a nation with brute, disgusting and damaging rhetoric. The purposeful lies and self-serving distortion elevates his powersd. Many supporters of this President are becoming conscious of our clear and present dangers from within. Other supporters of this President will never give up their support of a vulgar, despicable and ignorant president. This man is a clear and present danger to democracy. He has learned how to manipulate powers and intimidate those whom do not show blind loyalty. Wasn't it ignorant of this President to lecture the sitting Chief Justice, and to tell him to study. God help us, or whatever is out here looking in. This President and his creepy family are the joke of the civilized nations.

TwoToeJoe

The "Patriot Act" was passed in both houses with bipartisan support. It has since been abused by the previous administration by using the powers of the Patriot Act by our nation's intelligence and investigative agencies to subvert an opposing political campaign and election. We are "indeed at risk". Getting rid of unconstitutional executive orders such as DACA enacted by the previous administration sure seems like "Dictatorial powers" since even our courts side with dictators. President Trumps "self-professed admiration of dictators" sure did not work well in normalizing relations with Cuba. North Korea sure felt the love when our President stated that his "button was bigger than his" and that it actually "worked". Yes we could be a "rogue nation" by gracing other nations with tariffs that impose tariffs upon our exports. We can be a "rogue nation" now since we no longer pay Iran billions to support the unrest in the middle east and wasting billions of our dollars being pumped into that ridiculous Paris Climate Accord scheme. We have exposed and learned about those "that manipulate power and intimidate those whom do not show blind loyalty" in the FBI and Justice Department of the previous administration or should I say our "clear and present dangers from within". Let us remember only President Obama can lecture the Supreme Court and call them ignorant and get away with it. "God or whatever is out here looking in" did help us by not placing Hillary Clinton and her band of cronies into the office to "repeat history" and continue to be the "joke" of our great country.

horsehouse

Since you asked for example of dictatorial things our president has done I am pointing out some of what he has said that could make people concerned about fascist or dictatorial tendencies.

Saying that the press is the enemy of the people is troubling when the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees a free press. There is no qualification for whether it must be truthful or not.

President Trump praises dictators and authoritarian rule. Examples include: Kim Jung Un for being able to make his people sit up and pay attention and then our president saying he wants his people to do the same. Yes, he qualified it as kidding. Vladimir Putin is taken at his word over our country’s intelligence experts. He “jokes” about killing drug dealers in China and the Philippines to eliminate the criminals without judicial process. Turkish President was congratulated for getting a referendum passed that gives Erdogan the green light to create a muscular presidency to personally appoint or dismiss ministers, select judges, and rule by decree if HE deems it necessary. China’s President Xi Jinping is now president for life and our president “thinks that is great. Maybe we we’ll have to give that a shot someday.”

Now our president says that American judges are making America unsafe. The impression that many get from that comment is that only Trump is a qualified judge and is also the best candidate for Time’s person of the year as he concluded.

These examples were pulled from many media sources.

Furthermore, I do not think Hitler was mentioned in the original letter and Hitler did not kill millions until he had all the power to do as he pleased.

At the very least, in every bit of jest there is a bit of truth. Therefore, I do understand why people are concerned. I also agree that the extreme ends of the political spectrum do not consider reasoned discussions.

TwoToeJoe

Amazing isn't it. Our constitution guarantees freedom of speech. Propaganda is protected freedom of speech. I would say propaganda is an enemy of the people. Especially when used to make false "fascist and dictatorial" claims. Someone asked for examples of what he has done and you rely on what he has said that concerns you. I never rely on what is said because most things are taken out of context to promote propaganda. But you are right. Hitler was not mentioned in the letter. But yet everyone knew in what terms "fascist and dictatorial" was used in order to perpetrate the propaganda. By the way our "president for life" era ended in 1951 by a constitutional amendment. Judges are making Americans unsafe. Need some examples?

horsehouse

Correction, Freedom of the Press is the First Amendment. The right to bear arms is second.

horsehouse

I agree that propaganda is an enemy, but deciding who's propaganda is false is hard to determine without lots of investigation. The whole point of focusing on what our president says can still be considered prelog to actions. There are many who honestly are sensitive to spoken words. I am pretty sure that when I hear our president talking it is means to be open to the listeners interpretation. If disagreement with his position is considered evil we do indeed have problems. Just because a possibility was constitutionally amended away does not assure that the pendulum of amendment fever won't overreach or overturn. I agree that judges make mistakes, but there is a process to rectify not by edict from one branch of government.

bill jenkins

they bought the con./the beat goes on/they raise there cups and shout lock her up/
the beat goes on/they bought the con.

TwoToeJoe

Most times it is easy to determine who's propaganda is false with very little "investigation". When our President speaks it is very easy to inject biased opinions and false innuendos (propaganda) towards the context to demonize and shape the interpretation for the gullible (sensitive) listeners. Obviously Red Greene's disagreement and interpretation of the current administration policies and labeling them as "fascist", "totalitarian", "dictatorship" and thus "evil" is the epitome of false innuendos and biased opinions (propaganda). He infers our current administration as "evil" by utilizing the statement "I use the word fascism to describe a totalitarian government, headed by a dictatorship, exercising total control of every aspect of society. It features control of media, the banning of opposition parties, belligerent foreign policies, persecution of minorities and the deployment of secret police to terrorize, imprison, torture, rape and murder anyone who would oppose or even criticize the regime". It is propaganda such as this that is pretty easy to spot and determine as false by any standard except for the gullible. We have "problems" when disagreements over policies are deemed "evil" by the use of these "interpretations" using "opinionated propaganda" as Mr. Greene infers. By the way I never stated judges are "making mistakes" but I am sure it happens. I stated judges are making us "unsafe". We have judges that interpret the law as written while others with political agendas impose their interpretations with little regard towards intent.

bill jenkins

they bought the con
the beat goes on
as they raise there cup
they shout lock her up
the beat goes on
they bought the con

jgc760

The warning bell that I fear the most is the attacks on free speech all over this nation. The riots at Cal Berkeley and other colleges and universities throughout the nation. The shouting down and riots when you do not agree with what others say. Labeling all views you disagree with as hate speech. One only needs to look at the group Antifa, which claims to be anti fascist but whose methods are straight out of the fascist play book. It used to be liberals were the people who proclaimed the virtue of free speech. The ACLU used to defend in all cases and with extreme vigor if that speech was repugnant. Not any more. The best way to deal with issues is to debate them in a free an open forum. The true fascist and haters will lose, because their ideas lack any merit. It use to be in America that we might abhor someone's views , but we would die in a fight to protect your right to express them. I fear we have lost that, and the death of true freedom will soon follow. That's the warning bell I hear.

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