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Mon Feb 27, 2017, 09:30 AM

We have at most a year to defend American democracy, perhaps less

SZ: Donald Trump has been president for three weeks. How would you describe his start?

Timothy Snyder: The first thing that we have to notice is that the institutions have not thus far restrained him. He never took them seriously, acts as if they donít exist, and clearly wishes they didnít. The story that Americans have told themselves from the moment he declared his candidacy for president, was that one institution or another would defeat him or at least change his behavior Ė he wonít get the nomination; if he gets the nomination, he will be a normal Republican; he will get defeated in the general election; if he wins the presidency will mature him (that was what Obama said). I never thought any of that was true. He doesnít seem to care about the institutions and the laws except insofar as they appear as barriers to the goal of permanent kleptocratic authoritarianism and immediate personal gratification. It is all about him all of time, it is not about the citizens and our political traditions.

You wrote an article for Slate in November, comparing the rise of Donald Trump with the rise of Adolf Hitler. Why did you feel the need to publish such a piece?

Itís very important that we use history to our advantage now, rather than finding in history taboos and ways to silence one another. The history of the 1930s is terribly important to Americans (and Europeans) right now, just as it is slipping from our memories. I was not trying to provoke one more fruitless series of conversations about comparability. I was trying to help Americans who were generally either shocked (people who voted against Trump) or surprised (people who voted for him, who generally thought he would lose) find their bearings in a new situation. The temptation in a new situation is to imagine that nothing has changed. That is a choice that has political consequences: self-delusion leads to half-conscious anticipatory obedience and then to regime change. Anyway, I didnít actually compare Trump to Hitler, I didnít use these two names. What I did was to write a very short history of the rise of Adolf Hitler to power without using his name, which might allow Americans to recognize certain similarities to the moment they themselves were living through. I know that these comparisons are a national taboo in Germany, but at the moment its rather important that Germans be generous with their history and help others to learn how republics collapse. Most Americans are exceptionalists, we think we live outside of history. Americans tend to think: ďWe have freedom because we love freedom, we love freedom because we are free.Ē It is a bit circular and doesnít acknowledge the historical structures that can favor or weaken democratic republics. We donít realize how similar our predicaments are to those of other people.

http://international.sueddeutsche.de/post/157058066625/we-have-at-most-a-year-to-defend-american

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Reply We have at most a year to defend American democracy, perhaps less (Original post)
bucolic_frolic Feb 2017 OP
bdamomma Feb 2017 #1
femmedem Feb 2017 #2
eniwetok Feb 2017 #3

Response to bucolic_frolic (Original post)

Mon Feb 27, 2017, 09:40 AM

1. time is ticking away

but we here at DU are very aware of the truth and facts, it is really up to those who know the truth and to establish the power we have.

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Response to bucolic_frolic (Original post)

Mon Feb 27, 2017, 10:50 AM

2. An important and credible warning. Thank you for posting. n/t

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Response to bucolic_frolic (Original post)

Mon Feb 27, 2017, 11:19 AM

3. there is NO SUCH THING as "American Democracy"

Repeat after me...

In democracies minorities NEVER GOVERN.

In democracies minorities NEVER GOVERN.

In democracies minorities NEVER GOVERN.


Right now both the presidency AND the Senate are run by the GOP even after the People REJECTED Trump and Dem Senators represent 33 million more Americans than do GOP Senators.

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