America's on a dangerous path

I found the logic of the claim that President Trump can’t possibly be acting as a dictator (and thus News & Advance columnist Andy Schmookler must be libeling the president) a bit puzzling (“Columnist ‘libeled’ president,” Feb. 11”.

The letter writer claims that Trump lets us keep our guns and so can’t be a dictator. This is in line with debunked claims that dictators first disarm the people and then take power. That is wrong, and dictators often rely on their armed base to enhance their power. That’s how such cults of personality work.

I have found some warning signs that we may be headed that direction:

» Powerful and continuing nationalism.

» Disdain for human rights.

» Identification of enemies as a unifying cause.

» Vilification of the sources of facts, the news.

» Religion and government become intertwined.

» Likewise corporate power and government become intertwined and protected. Labor rights are suppressed.

» Disdain for intellectuals, science and the arts.

» Rampant corruption, cronyism and nepotism.

From this, I can certainly say that nobody currently alive has not heard of “fake news.” There are many religious leaders who frequently circle the wagons to protect the president. I see a lot of liberals being regarded as enemies and agents of Satan. The degree of open hostility to the thinking of experts across most fields of science, law and the arts cannot be overlooked.

Finally, Trump had an impressive record of dishonesty and corruption long before he ran for president. It’s clear the power of the White House had only served to enhance that corruption. While Hunter Biden is big news these days, the nepotism of Trump and his closest people cannot be overlooked.

Considering the facts supporting these items, it is difficult to deny that we are heading down a really bad road with Trump and his merry band of sycophants leading the way. So yes, Schmookler was very spot on in his claims.

One last point. Our republic took 230 years to get to this point. It could well be only two or three years before our Constitution and the institutions that defend it become entirely irrelevant. Poland, Austria, Turkey and the Philippines provide very poignant examples of that process in play.

KENNETH NAUGLE

Forest

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