Coronavirus Kills Its 1st Democracy

Want to take your mind off the coronavirus, shortages of food and cleaning supplies, being imprisoned in your home and isolated from your friends & family?  Well, I’ve got just the thing for you … here’s something even bigger to worry about …

On Monday, Hungary’s parliament passed a controversial bill that gave Orbán sweeping emergency powers for an indefinite period of time. Parliament is closed, future elections were called off, existing laws can be suspended and the prime minister is now entitled to rule by decree. Opposition lawmakers had tried to set a time limit on the legislation but failed. Orbán’s commanding two-thirds parliamentary majority made his new powers a fait accompli. – Ishaan Tharoor, The Washington Post

Granted, Hungary isn’t the U.S. and Viktor Orbán isn’t Donald Trump.  Orbán had already corroded the state’s checks and balances, cowed the judiciary, encroached on civil society and the free press … much as Donald Trump has done to the United States.

Orbán has his supporters, too. He has been lionized as a nationalist hero for the West’s anti-immigrant populists and welcomed to the White House by Trump.orban-trump-2It should be noted that congressional democrats initially included election reforms such as vote-by-mail, same-day registration and early voting in the $2.2 trillion ‘stimulus bill’ … measures that were struck down by their republican colleagues.  Now, make sure you’re sitting down when you read what Trump had to say about those stricken measures that would have ensured we could all vote in the November 3rd election …

“The things they had in there were crazy. They had things, levels of voting that if you’d ever agreed to it, you’d never have a Republican elected in this country again. They had things in there about election days and what you do and all sorts of clawbacks. They had things that were just totally crazy and had nothing to do with workers that lost their jobs and companies that we have to save.”

And now, my friends, I suggest you start to do some serious worrying about the November elections, for it becomes obvious that Trump and the republicans have little or no concern for our right to elect new leadership in November, and that they see voter suppression as their only path to power.  I’ve been concerned all along that Trump would find some way to cancel or postpone indefinitely our elections, and nothing I’m seeing is alleviating those concerns.  I believe that Mr. Trump is seeing the coronavirus pandemic as a very fortuitous event for him and his cronies.

In 1980, Paul Weyrich, an influential conservative activist, said …

“I don’t want everybody to vote. As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down.”

Chilling.

We are running out of time to put in place policies and processes that would enable every eligible voter to cast a ballot, even in the event that the coronavirus remains a threat into November.  The republicans are playing a game … a game with our lives, with our freedoms, with our rights to participate in our government.

Look again at what the Hungarian Parliament has handed to Viktor Orbán.  The only thing stopping our own Congress from doing the same is the democratic majority in the House of Representatives.

orban-parliament

It must also be noted that the emergency law also stipulates five-year prison sentences for Hungarians found to be spreading “false” information.  Think on that one a minute.  Who determines what is “false” information?  Think how many times Trump has declared stories published by The Washington Post or the New York Times to be “fake news”.  Or what about us bloggers?  In such circumstances, historically information is considered ‘false’ if it contradicts what the dictator says.  Facts and reality become secondary and eventually are suppressed.

orban-trumpThere are checks and balances to keep what has happened in Hungary from happening in the U.S.  But, many of those have been destroyed in the last three years.  The Supreme Court tends to rule in favour of Trump, even when that ruling is in blatant disregard of the U.S. Constitution.  The Attorney General has decreed that Trump is ‘above the law’ and can operate in whatever manner he sees fit.  And the U.S. Senate basically affirmed Barr’s opinion when they refused to do their job and convict Trump of what were obvious abuses of power and obstruction of justice.

The U.S. Constitution, or any set of laws for that matter, is only as good as the people who enforce it.  This is why the most important thing this year in the U.S. is that we have fair and honest elections on November 3rd as scheduled, no matter what.

22 thoughts on “Coronavirus Kills Its 1st Democracy

  1. Sounds like the fix was in since day 1, of course Trump will milk this pandemic for all it’s worth. Suspending elections is not out of the question for this dictator wannabe. Yet our fellow citizens are so apathetic, I don’t foresee protests or revolt. All Trump has to do is declare social distancing & national lockdown in an effort to “prevent” the 2nd wave of Covid-19 just prior to elections. He has the emergency executive power to do so. We’re so screwed. 😦
    https://www.cnn.com/2020/03/31/us/violating-coronavirus-orders-trnd/index.html

    Liked by 2 people

  2. As I was seated at my computer from the late hours of Monday and then greeting the first minutes of Tuesday, The Washington Post’s Today’s World View arrived amidst my inbox at 12:06 AM with “Coronavirus Kills Its 1st Democracy”. I was filled with horror and fear into the pit of my stomach the further I read, as it increasingly felt quite possible that this very same thing could be attempted in the USA by Trump and the GOP. Not so very many years ago something of this sort would have been unimaginable. Trump has not hid his admiration for other World leaders like Orban. Now this has a certain slant towards the inevitable, unless…We the People make sure that our voices are heard and ALL of our votes are counted come November. Thank-you!

    Liked by 4 people

    • I had the exact same reaction when I saw the headline yesterday morning, my friend. Can it happen here? Yeah, I think it can. Four short years ago, I would have scoffed and said, “Not a chance”, but much has changed in the past four years. We’ve got our work cut out for us, waking the masses and removing their rose-coloured glasses, and even then … my great fear is that come November, somehow the election will have been postponed. Sigh.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Jill, this is chilling. Could it happen here? We hope not and it should not, but we elected a corrupt and deceitful leader and as long as he gives Mitch McConnell his judges, the latter will tolerate America becoming less of a democracy. I was watching the excellent movie called “Trumbo” about the black-listed screenwriter Dalton Trumbo starring Bryan Cranston and an excellent cast.

    I was reminded of the Congressional committee on Un-American activities, who was in exisentence until 1975. It should be noted that is the year following Richard Nixon’s resignation. Nixon was a key ally of Sen. Joseph McCarthy of horrible communist witch hunt fame. It should be noted Nixon kept an enemies list due to his paraonoia. Nixon did some good things, but he turned out to be a crook.

    What is interesting is McCarthy’s attorney through this dark period was Roy Cohn. Cohn later became a mentor to a young real estate developer in New York named Donald J. Trump. Trump’s biographers wrote that Cohn told Trump to never apologize and sue everyone.

    Bringing this full circle. Trump is the most corrupt and deceitful president in my lifetime, including Nixon. But, both me were influenced by Sen. McCarthy who led this dark period in American history who made up things to support his claims. As the Sec of the Army asked famously of McCarthy, “have you no sense of decency, sir?” The same could be asked of the current US president.

    So, we must protect America against those who wave the flag and tell people it does not stand for the things that it does. Keith

    Liked by 5 people

    • It is chilling, Keith. Could it happen here? Four years ago, I might have even laughed and said, “Not a chance”. Today … yeah, I think it could happen here. Trump has planted the government with sycophants and people like Bill Barr cannot help but do his bidding. The courts? Seem to be loyalists these days. I genuinely fear that the timing of the coronavirus played right into his hands. I well remember Joe McCarthy and his blacklisting of people who were completely innocent of any wrongdoing. And yes, Nixon kept a ‘hitlist’ and was a criminal, but … even Nixon … even Nixon’s evil could not compare to that of Trump. If you asked that question, “Have you no sense of decency, sir?” of Donald Trump, the answer of course would be raucous laughter. Decency? I doubt he understands the meaning of the word. Yes, we must do all we can to protect what is left of the foundation of this nation, but … I’m not sure we can. Sigh. I keep thinking, in 1933 surely there were those who tried to warn the German people, but … they did not listen. Given Trump’s rise in the approval ratings, obviously the people of this country aren’t listening either.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Jill, the one thing in that even Trump’s lies cannot hide – people getting sick and dying. He will follow the retreating line in the sand defense blaming others when it is obvious the problems persist. By the way, they did print my letter to the editor on “Listen to the truthtellers” today. Keith

        Liked by 1 person

        • That is true … you’d think by now we’d all be inured to it, but … my jaw still dropped the other day when i heard him blame Obama for the U.S.’ lack of preparedness for coronavirus. Sigh. Awesome that they printed your letter!!!

          Like

  4. Is it any wonder that he and Trump are buds? Two peas in a pod, those guys. Orban is Trump’s kind of guy. He fantasizes on having that kind of power. And you know what Jill? He’s got a Republican Party that would give him those powers, if they could. Anything that would keep them in power. I too, wonder what November will bring. The legal scholars say he couldn’t get away with it. But in Trumpworld, nothing is off the table. You know how his evil and diabolical mind works. Same with McConnell. These guys are dangerous, especially if they feel defeat is imminent. Great post Jill.

    Liked by 6 people

    • Orbán, Putin, bin Salman, Trump … all peas in the pod, as you say. You and I both wrote, a month or so ago, about how it isn’t in his power to postpone or cancel the election, and at the time, I was relieved. But today? I think that if he decides to do so, he will find a way. I’d bet his lawyers are working with the DOJ on just such a thing even as we speak. He has done things that, four short years ago I would have said were impossible, that the laws of the land would never permit that to happen. But, here we are. We need to remain vigilant, but so much goes on behind the curtain that even those of us who stay on top of the news likely see only the tip of the iceberg. Sigh. Thanks Pardner!

      Liked by 3 people

  5. It would seem that some are preparing the path for Trump to go the way of Orban,But as long as you and others like you can show the masses what’s going on, and remind them what the flag of the United States looks like you will remind them that slavery was banned in America and that the Democrats have no desire to fill that role, especially under Trump. Someone must ensure that the armed forces are onside from the top.
    Cwtch

    Liked by 6 people

    • I think … and I don’t wish to sound like a conspiracy theorist, but … I think that there are forces that would, indeed, help Trump follow the path of Orbán. I have long said that I believe if he could find a way, he would declare himself “Dictator for Life”, and then conveniently, coronavirus fell into his lap. I hope that some with far larger followings than mine can convince the masses to open their bloody eyes and see the stage he is setting. But, I’m sure that in 1933 there were those who warned the German people, but … they did not listen. You may be right, that the military is the key. I … am rapidly losing faith that common sense will prevail in this country. Our only hope is Joe Biden … is he up to the challenge? Sigh.
      Cwtch

      Liked by 2 people

  6. And the beat goes on. And the beat goes on.
    Democracy was once the rage, un hunh,
    The future is going to turn that page un hunh
    Trump will crown himself the king,
    And the Liberty Bell will toll its final ring
    And the beat goes on, and the beat goes on…

    Liked by 5 people

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