It Can’t Happen Here …

sinclair lewis.jpgA few days ago, Robert Vella commented on one of my posts that those who think I am over-dramatizing my take on Trump & Co., might be well-advised to read Sinclair Lewis’ It Can’t Happen Here.  Why hadn’t I thought of that comparison?  It has been around 50 years since I read the book, although I do remember the general premise.  Still, I went to Wikipedia for a brief synopsis, and I thought it apropos to share with you what I found:

“It Can’t Happen Here is a semi-satirical 1935 political novel by American author Sinclair Lewis, and a 1936 play adapted from the novel by Lewis and John C. Moffitt.  Published during the rise of fascism in Europe, the novel describes the rise of Berzelius “Buzz” Windrip, a demagogue who is elected President of the United States, after fomenting fear and promising drastic economic and social reforms while promoting a return to patriotism and “traditional” values.”

Anything in that paragraph sound familiar?

“In 1936 Senator Berzelius “Buzz” Windrip, a charismatic and power-hungry politician, wins the election as President of the United States on a populist platform, promising to restore the country to prosperity and greatness …”

Power-hungry … populist platform … promising prosperity … greatness …

“Though having previously foreshadowed some authoritarian measures in order to reorganize the United States government, Windrip rapidly outlaws dissent, incarcerates political enemies in concentration camps, and trains and arms a paramilitary force called the Minute Men, who terrorize citizens and enforce the policies of Windrip and his “corporatist” regime. One of his first acts as president is to eliminate the influence of the United States Congress, which draws the ire of many citizens as well as the legislators themselves. The Minute Men respond to protests against Windrip’s decisions harshly, attacking demonstrators with bayonets. In addition to these actions, Windrip’s administration, known as the “Corpo” government, curtails women’s and minority rights, and eliminates individual states by subdividing the country into administrative sectors. The government of these sectors is managed by “Corpo” authorities, usually prominent businessmen or Minute Men officers.”

Want to know more?  Read the book.  But here’s my thought.  All of us have at least one or two friends who are still supporting Trump, whether because they truly believe in his lies, honestly think something he’s doing is right, or are just too ashamed to admit they were wrong about him.  The book isn’t expensive, so I say we should each buy one in paperback to give to each of our wayward friends or family members.  And if you really need a lot of copies, you can download it for free from the Project Gutenberg, or you can download the .pdf file, also free, then email it to your friends and relatives.

I just wish I had come up with this idea a week or two before Christmas, and we could have given a copy to those ‘in need’ of reading it for Christmas!

 

25 thoughts on “It Can’t Happen Here …

  1. Sounds like science fiction to me, an alternate universe. The good thing about science fiction, you can use it to explore any idea at all, and they often turn out to be quite prophetic. Not to dis this book, but reading about real life trumpo, no matter that he would make a great fiction character, is enough of a downer for me. And obviously it can happen here, just like 1984 and Farenheit 451. Shit happened, and the world is now knee-deep in it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, it can happen here, just as it happened in Germany in the 1930s. I think we failed to learn the lessons of history, once again, from the rise of Hitler. Sometimes, perhaps, if people read it in a book, see the parallels, then they can relate? I dunno … I’m grasping here, but I saw the parallels and found them chilling.

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  2. I ordered that very book a month or so ago and will admit to not having read it yet. It’s hard for me to focus on long reads sometimes. But I will now for sure.
    Like Scottie, I live in a red state (Fla) and I can feel surrounded by trump supporters. Luckily I have a few friends who are definitely not, nor are they religious. But I hear comments all the time and most of my my SIL’s friends are supporters, even though she is not, but she also doesn’t speak up.
    I see such evident connections in being a trump supporter. They are all religious and most are racist to some degree even though they won’t admit it. And they are old and live in the past in the “good old days” and do not like change. And they are fearful of many things big and small. They do not watch much news and if they do, it’s Fox. The thing,I think, that ties this all together, is that they do not possess a mind that values or perhaps is even capable of doing any research or skepticism and they do not question.

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    • The best way to focus on long reads is to set either a page limit or a time limit. Such as, “I will read 10 pages, and then fold laundry”, or “I will read for 30 minutes and then clean the bathroom”. Break it down into manageable chunks. I read this in high school, but I don’t recall much, so obviously at that point in my life, it didn’t make much of an impression. I am starting it again tonight … I suspect it will have a deeper, more frightening meaning this time ’round.

      You and Scottie live in the same red state, as does Gronda. And you are quite right that one can easily characterise the majority of Trump’s supporters as being white, uber-religious, and bigoted, though they would deny it. I always tend to think of them as being under-educated, but in truth that is not always the case. I have a very good friend who is a Trump supporter, and he is college-educated, very intelligent … or so I thought. I don’t talk to him much anymore, so I cannot swear that he is still pro-Trump, but I’m guessing he is. And for one issue only … well, two actually … he wanted Obamacare repealed and wants Roe v Wade repealed. So, for these two things, our nation is afire with nearly a million people not getting their paycheck, people not getting their food stamps, children not being able to seek medical care, etc., etc., etc. Sigh.

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      • Why Obamacare? It probably doesn’t even affect him and why not want other people insured, where without it, they won’t be.

        If there against abortion, I can tell you it’s also gay marriage. The two go hand and hand because it’s a religious based belief for the most part. And if I had to say one word alone for the trump supporters, aside from the super rich, it’d be racism.
        and from what I can gather, the same nationalism that is sweeping in Europe is the same.

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        • His thought was that his own insurance rates would go up (they did) and that why should hard-working people have to shell out more for people who don’t work to have insurance. The fallacy, of course, being that people who benefited form ACA don’t work, for most do, but simply don’t earn enough at minimum wage to afford health insurance.

          Racism is certainly one of the driving factors for Trump supporters, but so is another single-issue: abortion. It was likely the single biggest driving issue of the 2016 election, for he made them a promise that he would nominate justices to the Supreme Court who would overturn Roe v Wade. And Obergefell v Hodges. Both of those are major issues for the evangelicals, which is the main group who still adamantly follows Trump these days. And yes, this populist movement that put Trump in office and created Brexit in the UK is sweeping the European continent and starting in South America as well, as evidenced by the election of Brazilian president Bolsonaro.

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  3. Now this is a book that I had not thought about in many decades and it most certainly calls for a rereading! I’m interested to learn my response to it as an oldster, as opposed to the high school student that I was when first read. I believe that at some point in the past I had mentioned Fletcher Knebel’s “Night of Camp David” and that is somewhat reminiscent of this one. Thank-you!

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    • P.S. Total aside, but do read The New York Times opinion column by Paul Krugman titled “Donald Trump and His Team of Morons” that appeared yesterday Jan 14, 2019. Loved it!!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I did read that yesterday, and I was so furious that I had to clasp my hands behind my head to keep from throwing my laptop ‘cross the room! Federal employees are better off because they are getting time off without having to burn a vacation day … grrrrrrr. And Hannity … Sean Hannity who was a NOBODY until he rode Trump’s coattails to ‘stardom’ injecting his bloody opinion about the rich and their bloomin’ yachts!!! GRRRRRRRRRRRR. Puff puff pant pant … okay … got my breath back now. I have long said that Trump has turned a democratic republic into a plutocracy. Can there remain any doubt?

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    • I was the same when Bob mentioned it … hadn’t thought about it since reading it in High School! I just downloaded it to my Kindle and will be starting it in an hour or two when I go to bed. When I read it some 50 years ago, I’m sure I thought of it as nothing more than fiction, but I suspect it will be the thing my nightmares are made of now. Our perspective on life surely has changed in the last 3 years, hasn’t it? And yes, I do remember you mentioning “Night of Camp David”, though I haven’t read it … I will check that one out before bed, also. Thanks!

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    • Well … That is 5 people who would still be Trumpeters if you hadn’t given them the book. Baby steps … or, as a former boss used to tell me, “peanuts make elephants”. Good job, Suze … you were way ahead of me!

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