Letter to the Editor: Missing the point

To the Editor:

Mr. Engle missed the point of the book How Democracies Die and my letters. The book examines the manner in which democracies around the globe have transformed into authoritarian states.  Neither the authors nor I said Trump was Hitler.  The book points out Hitler was a member of the political fringe when he was asked by the President of Germany to form a government as Chancellor, combining his extreme right wing party with more moderate conservatives in order to break a political stalemate.  Once   Hitler was brought into power, he used his position to turn the country to totalitarianism. Trump was also viewed by the Republican Party as an outsider who was unfit to lead the country.  Mitt Romney, for example, in March 2016 in a speech at the Hinckley Institute of Politics saw Trump as a danger to the party and the country, calling him a “fraud” and “having neither the temperament nor the judgment to be president”.

I do not know when Mr. Engle was in Peru, but he must have missed the day April 5, 1992 when Fujimori dissolved congress and the constitution. Mr. Engle can read about it in Fujimori’s Coup and the Breakdown of Democracy in Latin America by Charles Kenny.

I never claimed Trump did not win the election. He did win the Electoral College, but not the popular vote.  Whether he won the vote without conspiring with a foreign power is still an open question.

When the President engages in actions that further the public good of our country and protect it from foreign enemies, I will enthusiastically support him. However, as I stated in my earlier letters, since becoming President he has continued to show authoritarian tendencies: lying to the public; calling the media the “enemy of the people” and otherwise attacking the free press; undermining the rule of law by attacking the courts, the FBI, and the Justice Department; inflaming racial/ethnic tensions; supporting white nationalists’ positions; using his office for private enrichment; cruelly and unlawfully separating children from their parents at the border; and undermining long standing alliances with democratic allies.  Each of these actions is worrisome and can be amply documented. How Democracies Die demonstrates how easy democracy can be lost if the normal checks and balances do not work to protect the processes when potential authoritarians come into power. In our case, the Republicans who control Congress so far have refused to restrain or condemn Trump’s growing erratic and authoritarian behavior. Every day it becomes more apparent that Robert Mueller’s probe will ultimately prove that Trump is the most corrupt American President in modern times and is the first American President ever to conspire with a foreign power to influence our electoral processes.  If these events do not come to pass, I will buy Mr. Engle the dinner of his choice any where in the county.

Thomas Hill


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