1930’s political/historical fiction and non-fiction gained popularity in America over the past year. This happened with good cause. In fact that cause has a name: Donald Trump. Allow me to elaborate.
Fascist leaders rose to power in Europe largely by telling the downtrodden masses that they were actually superior. Their only problem was “those people and their system”. They were the only factors preventing them from enjoying the good life. In 1930’s Europe “those people” were the Jews and the system was their businesses. Today “those people” are anyone who doesn’t meet Bubba’s definition of a “real American”. If our government would seal the border to non-whites and discriminate against those who are already here Bubba would be in great shape simply by virtue of his pale skin.
When they came to power one of the first things the fascist leaders of Europe circa 1930 did was control information. They did it through censorship (often including intimidation) and propaganda. The German fascist leader (who incidentally was elected with less than the majority of the popular vote) had a Minister for Public Information and Propaganda as one of his key staff members. On Saturday, his first full day in office, Trump dispatched his Press Secretary to scold the White House Press Corp. Sean Spicer’s written statement contained several demonstrable lies which Spicer and Trump have since doubled down on. Not by accident, Spicer delivered his message then turned tail refusing to take questions.
During the 1948 campaign Harry Truman famously observed that liars fear the truth. It is from that occasion that this web site takes its name. I’m not sure if Trump fears the truth or is so deeply buried in the Donald Dome that he is oblivious to it. In any event he is determined to do all he can to prevent anything but his version of the truth (a/k/a alternate facts) from getting out to the public. Censorship has long been my fear in a Trump administration. Tuesday we saw the first signs of it.
The details are somewhat unclear, but information suppression, if not out and out censorship, has started in the executive branch of the federal government. This is extremely dangerous for our democracy and dangerously close to domestic terrorism. By Tuesday afternoon The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Agriculture Department, Interior Department, National Institutes of Health and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) have all in one form or another been censored by the Trump administration. At the EPA all contracts with consultants have been frozen. Of necessity, EPA farms out almost all its research and monitoring.
One of the information bans is on the results of research being communicated to the public until the administration can determine if the message conforms to administration policy guidelines. Research is research and its results are simply what they are. What exactly is Trump and his supporters afraid will get out? Perhaps they fear the truth because it is contrary to right wing mythology and the interests of greed.
Communications with members of Congress is prohibited. This is simply un-American! There is an old expression, “Call your Congressman.” A major justification of the House of Representatives is that districts will contain few enough constituents that the Representative can be responsive to their consitituents and act as their liaison with the federal bureaucracy, cutting red tape, expediting requests and getting answers for John Q. Public.
This is the first move on the path to censorship. Either Americans raise their voices against it or it will quickly expand to include the media. It has happened before. It happened elsewhere. It can happen here and now. This administration purloined one of its signature lines, “America first” from 1930’s and 1940’s American fascist sympathizers. I fear that is not the only thing they gleaned from the fascist of a day not that long ago.
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