by Tom H. Hastings
I grew up in canoe country, becoming a guide in the Minnesota Boundary Waters Canoe Wilderness as a young man. My friends used to joke about the hazards: “Meet you at the aluminum recycling plant at the bottom of the rapids!”
As we are all witnessing, our experiment in democracy has entered the upper rapids and the turbulence is about to get worse.
Trump and his Republican base know they are not the majority of Americans. No matter how much Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, and others hammer on this anti-democracy message, most Americans, who are educated and reject sophomoric gaslighting, reject it.
Trump and his Republican white nationalist base know they are not believed nor trusted by people of color, women, nor anyone trained and educated to engage in critical thinking.
If they want to win, they have no alternative; they must cheat.
And so, this is the plan.
They have no intention of playing fair. This is what Trump learned at his father’s knee, all about success in American enterprise. Cheat. Be corrupt. Grift. Lie. Stiff the little guy.
Remarkably, many of those little guys like Trump. Many of them even participated in the January 6, 2021 assault on the US capitol, killing some, breaking windows and doors to get in, openly threatening to kill any officials who did not do Trump’s bidding.
Like Hitler’s minions, they are now operating nationwide, where they can, to subvert actual democracy, to hound local and state election officials into bowing before their anti-democracy schemes, and to promote Republican-dominated statehouses into measures that will disable, disavow, and dismantle the will of the people in favor of the will of the Trump.
Now comes the gerrymandering.
Now comes the Republican legislatures’ rulings that they can disregard and replace the expressed will of the electorate. That is you. They say that, unless your vote is Republican, it doesn’t count.
And now comes the personal threats, the patently unAmerican disgusting threats against nonpartisan election officials, the sorts who have done their jobs without controversy, without partisan contamination, for the history of this country and for the good of this country. Republicans are trying to make this history go away.
Will they succeed?
Will we allow Trump and his corrupt and anti-democratic operatives to destroy our democracy?
Or will we grow a collective backbone and stand up to them and shut them down?
Time to see if we will just cheerfully go over the falls, over the deadliest rock-strewn rapids.
Dr. Tom H. Hastings is Coördinator of Conflict Resolution BA/BS degree programs and certificates at Portland State University, PeaceVoice Senior Editor, and on occasion an expert witness for the defense of civil resisters in court.