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Dictatorships That Pass in the Night
August 17, 2001
by Robert C.

I'm not a history major, so I'm not sure if all tyrants (small or large) telegraph their intentions to their soon-to-be subjects (or the world in general), but I suspect that their megalomania would almost make it impossible not to. I do know that Adolf Hitler did write a book, where he pretty much laid out what he was all about, and that the German people, and world leaders, either never bothered to read it, or if they did, simply refused to believe that he meant what he wrote.

And I do know that our current tyrant-to-be, while not capable of writing a coherent paragraph on his own, let alone a book, has given us, and the world, ample illustrations of his mind-set and of his intentions. For the third time since January he has stated, quite clearly (although jokingly), that things would be easier for him if this (our country) were a dictatorship (with him as the dictator is implied, although he once did add that caveat in a NY Times interview published on January 14, 2001, before his coronation).

As Jonathan Alter notes in his on-line column in the 8/6 issue of Newsweek (on MSNBC - "Fighting the HMO Meanies"): "'...A dictatorship would be a heck of a lot easier - there's no question about it,' he said again last week, repeating what appears to be his favorite quip." (In the book Fortunate Son, J. H. Hatfield has Dubya, as governor of Texas in 1996, saying this to a business group - "It would be a heck of a lot easier to be a dictator than work in a democracy". This is not a "new" joke for him.)

I am also not a psychiatry major, but I do not believe that these statements are just some off-the-cuff attempts at humor, I believe that they are, in fact, a window - a brief and terrifying peek - into the true nature of the man who has been "chosen" to lead our country. As Mark Crispin Miller points out in his recent book, The Bush Dyslexicon, a lot of Dubya's verbal gaffes provide a glimpse into the workings of a very disturbed mind. "Both in his gaffes and in his lucid statements Bush consistently betrays the raging animus that also drove our thirty-seventh president (Nixon)..."

Miller also warns that "...this president is neither as dim-witted nor as easygoing as TV makes him out to be. That first impression now requires a clear corrective because - as he might say - we misunderestimate him at our peril." We should not misunderestimate him, nor should we misunderestimate the power of the forces that conspired to place him in power.

The scary part for me is not just that our "resident" is anti-democratic at the core, the scary part is the amoral and profoundly undemocratic coalition that he represents, with our so called independent press turning a blind eye - in effect enabling and legitimizing the unable and illegitimate administration. As Miller sums up in his powerful Afterword - by itself worth the price of admission. If you've been laid off as a result of our new Bush economy (an economy designed to keep us anxious and distracted and thankful when things turn around in 2004) and $25 for the book seems a bit steep at the moment, I urge you to get it from the library - before they defund that too - and get someone to scan the Afterword for you - it's that good!

"To understand what's going on today," writes Miller in the Afterword, "We must also look further back, for that coup was the climax of a history far richer, darker, and more complicated...so that we may begin to understand how...it all finally came together in the year 2000: every antidemocratic force in the United States converging to suppress the will of the majority."

I should mention at this point, that besides not being a history major, or a psychiatry or physiology major, I am also not a friend or relative of Mark C. Miller, nor do I have any connection with his publishers. I'm just an average guy, trying to put "food on my family", who bought and read the book last week, and his book has helped me to crystallize many ephemeral thoughts that had been floating around in my mind for awhile. I have received no money to recommend this book, which I now do wholeheartedly!

That the will of the majority (the democratic process) on election day 2000 was suppressed by the Supreme Court should be, by now, obvious to anyone who cares to think about it. That this overriding of the democratic process, a coup d' etat by definition (albeit minus the tanks and soldiers in the street that most people associate with a coup), happened under the most intense media spotlight (and in the most media intense culture in the history of our planet), and was promptly ignored by the "fourth estate" after it occurred, should serve as a warning that our self-correcting form of government has become seriously unhinged.

Now with our anointed leader's repeatedly expressed preference for dictatorial power (it would be easier for him - someone who's always had everything given to him) we should have all the warning signals that we need. It couldn't be more clear if they had written a book stating their intentions, but then again, Hitler did write a book stating his intentions, and it did not pose much of an obstacle to his ascendancy. Can the same thing happen in America in the early years of the 21st century?

Although I'm not a history major, or a psychiatry major, from my working class suburban bedroom - where I type out my futile thoughts - I would have to say, yes - and I am frightened by that thought.

 
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