Letter: American fascism looms; here is a remedy
Driven to fury by Fox News and the fascistic madness of former President Donald Trump, many Republicans plan to win future elections by unconstitutional means.
Driven to fury by Fox News and the fascistic madness of former President Donald Trump, many Republicans plan to win future elections by unconstitutional means. They resent that America has become more ethnically diverse and secular, and less mindful of traditional values. Trump stokes such grievances, gaining converts and power with every nativistic speech promising restoration of a mythical golden past.
Trump may never be president again, but Trumpism will continue, with probably dire results. Some pundits warn of emergent fascism or even civil war.
How did Americans become so revolutionary? Maybe there’s a connection between rising unrest and rising inequality. Fifty Americans own as much wealth as the poorest 165 million.
We’ve become a plutocracy in which a smoldering underclass of hard-working but stuck Americans feel a shapeless resentment toward the system. Too often, shapeless resentment becomes focused tribal hatred.
Perhaps we can defuse this hatred by redirecting oligarchic wealth into programs that increase the life chances of most Americans. We could quadruple the earned income tax credit, for example. Beefing up this income supplement – and making health care, child care and education affordable for all – would evoke a national sigh of relief.
We could also simplify our welfare system. We could consolidate our 80+ programs into 10 muscular ones that answer our greatest needs.
We should be cautious about unfunded federal spending, however. Creating hyperinflation during this turbulent time could spark civil war. So, to responsibly fund the above programs, and to fairly distribute America’s wealth, it’s imperative that we raise taxes on plutocratic wealth – not just income, but wealth.
Achieving such changes requires that we make leaders responsive to voters, not donors. To that end, we should reprise Occupy Wall Street. Our focus should be to effect four changes: federally fund elections; ban donations from PACs and lobbyists; ban gerrymandering; and limit the president, the Supreme Court justices and members of Congress to one six-year term.
The changes recommended above would humanize our free enterprise system. They would make Americans happier and render them less responsive to grievance baiting by men like Trump. And they just might save our democracy.