Can It Happen Here?

Imagine for a moment that you are watching the news, or reading a history textbook, and you learn about a particular nation at a particular point in time.

This nation has become increasingly controlled by powerful oligarchs who, rather than being loyal to their homeland, continuously sell it out in exchange for power and profit.

The oligarchs of this nation use the justice system to engage in personal vendettas against political opponents. Conversely, family and friends of the regime get away with nearly anything – including murder.

Journalists and activists who expose embarrassing secrets about the regime are either arrested and held without bail or forced into exile.

State media makes up the most absurd lies about the previous leader, while engaging in obvious propaganda in favor of the current regime, whom they favor.

The most recent election for leader of this regime was riddled with problems. Various localities, under the leadership of the victorious party, altered voting rules on the fly, without legislative oversight. However, state media denounced all accusations of fraud, and social media censored anyone who tried to bring attention to these irregularities.

Millions of people who supported the incumbent leader came out to protest in provincial capitals, finally culminating in a large demonstration at the national capitol building. State media claimed that this was an “insurrection”.

State media promoted false narratives of this “insurrection,” claiming that violent protestors assaulted and murdered police officers. Independent investigations found these claims to be false, but the incoming regime maintained their narrative.

The regime used the so-called “insurrection” as cover for arresting many dissidents, holding them without bail in solitary confinement. Those who were not arrested found themselves blacklisted from social media. The ousted president was also banned from social media at the behest of the ruling party.

Ask yourself what you would think about such a country if it turned out to be Russia, or China, or a third-world banana republic. Then ask yourself what it means that this is America in 2021. The United States of America censors journalists, rigs elections, and imprisons dissidents. We have become the very sort of authoritarian regime that we have spent the last 75 years mocking and denouncing. Can it happen here? It already did.

How then shall we live?

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