As long as our local paper remains fearless, we can still exercise one of our country’s greatest freedoms. After all, I made myself a target when I was shown with my sign “Liar’s Club” protesting in front of the White House. Fortunately, no threats came my way.

Here goes another effort to perhaps cause a few of Calaveras County’s approximately 13,000 registered Republican voters and a few of the about 8,000 registered Democratic voters and 6,000 plus of those listed as No Party Preference to consider how important their votes will be.

The first stop on this little effort to challenge thinking will be to Mark Twain. “It is easier to fool people than to convince them they have been fooled.” Keep this thought in mind as our next stop is at Merriam-Webster’s:

Definition of fascism

“1. Often capitalized: a political philosophy, movement or regime (such as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition.”

Our current president certainly exalts our country. Now, I hope that people believe what he says. After all, if his words are what he thinks and bases his actions on, then we can base our actions on them as well. Here are few of his oft repeated thoughts: “Together we will make America great again,” and “From this day forward it’s only going to be America first.”

What are his expressed views on people who are from other races? Well, he kept the “birther” conspiracy going for several years with tweets such as this, “An ‘extremely credible source’ has called my office and told me that @BarackObama’s birth certificate is a fraud.” Regarding undocumented immigrants coming in from the south, “These aren’t people. These are animals.”

Does President Trump demonstrate any autocratic tendencies to act as an absolute ruler? Having seen many videos of Trump’s rallies, several things stand out. There are hundreds of these videos of him speaking to obviously almost ecstatic supporters. Each time he makes a statement, whether it is hyperbole, fact or fiction, they cheer and applaud exuberantly. He manages to verbally attack Democrats at almost every opportunity. Here is one such quote, “The radical Democrats want to plunge our country into a nightmare of gridlock, poverty and chaos, you know that. They want to impose socialism on our country, turn us into another Venezuela, throw your borders wide open to deadly drugs and ruthless gangs. ‘Come on in everybody! Come on in!’”

I don’t know if I am a “radical” Democrat, but I can say I am not in favor of opening our borders more than they already are to “deadly drugs” and “ruthless gangs.” Also, having tried to ascertain exactly what “poverty” really means, I give up. All I know is that there are a heck of a lot of homeless people in most cities I visit. The count of homeless people in Calaveras County was 186 people at one moment in time. Thank Mitch McConnell for gridlock.

Trump’s biggest claim to being considered some sort of dictatorial leader concerns his forcible suppression of opposition. Force does not always mean hitting people – although he has recommended such moves during some of his rallies – but it can mean the continuing and relentless attacks on almost anyone who seems to question his authority. There have been many resignations and firings in the president’s first three years in office. He is also fond of tweets which sound threatening: “Shifty Adam Schiff is a corrupt politician, and probably a very sick man. He has not paid the price, yet, for what he has done to our country!”

Probably the thing that worries me the most concerns what he is doing to shred the social safety net. His current budget reveals that the attacks on food stamps, planned parenthood, Medicaid, Social Security, and Medicare will continue and expand. As usual, the money “saved” will go to fund the tax cuts which have benefited the wealthy much more than most average people. So, voters need to maintain vigilance and work to find out what is really going on. We definitely do not need to watch our country turn into a dictatorship.

Kevin Wychopen is a semi-retired school counselor and columnist for the Enterprise. Contact him at itsabigworld@live.com.

Kevin Wychopen is a semi-retired school counselor and weekly columnist for the Enterprise. Contact him at itsabigworld@live.com.

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