The doomsday predictions under a Trump administration are coming true in the United States and Israel should beware of our new president. First the low blows savaged the press, then the judiciary, and now the legislature, our three pillars of democracy.
These are the essentials of a free and independent America, without which we would become a straitjacketed state, ruled like Germany under ruthless Nazis.
Gone would be the safeguards against fear and tyranny. Without the rule of law there would be nothing to stop fanatical authorities from imposing their will upon dissenters. Even if they grant a modicum of respect for these institutions, everyday life would be hesitant and guarded by the threats and taunts from the administration and the amen chorus.
It is not far-fetched to reach this conclusion less than a month into the new administration, headed by a megalomaniac who despises opposition, rants against a federal judge, pounds “the lyin’ press,” and incites against congressional foes.
Lest this is insufficient reason to lambast the new White House, consider how the most powerful person in the world dismissed top-secret intelligence by railing against the need for a daily briefing. “I’m like, a smart person,” he told Fox News on national television. “I don’t have to be told the same thing and the same words every single day for the next eight years. It could be eight years – but eight years. I don’t need that.”
The latest foray against the media inaccurately accuses them of not giving sufficient coverage to terrorist attacks at home and abroad. Even a child could set the record straight.
When a federal judge ruled against the ban on selected immigrants an untutored president struck back at a “so-called judge,” instantly interfering in a question of law over which he has no authority, let alone experience.
The president did not condemn U.S. senate Republicans who silenced Senator Elizabeth Warren for daring to read a 31-year-old letter by civil rights icon, Coretta Scott King, objecting to Senator Jeff Sessions becoming a district court judge because he had attempted to “intimidate and frighten elderly black voters.” They dropped the guillotine on her for impugning a colleague on the floor of the Senate, even though Senator Ted Cruz had done just that two years earlier when accusing his leader of telling “a flat-out lie.”
While the new president rages against “fake news” his own top communications officials, including press secretary Sean Spicer, blithely churn our their own fantasies, such as mention of recent terrorist slaughters in Atlanta, Georgia, and Bowling Green, Kentucky. They never happened, but apologies never match publicity given to the original falsity.
Now is the time for every journalist, every judge, and every legislator to stand up for their independent role, and to reinforce the constitution’s superb inclusion of checks and balances on overreaches by any of the three branches of government.
It is a time to block the octopus’s tentacles, to question the president’s authority, to strike back at the blatant lies of his officials, to stem the rot, and to be outspoken in defense of the right to dissent.
Failure to call them out each time they vent anger, bully, threaten, and deride, will only stiffen this administration’s gall. Otherwise they will dent, if not totally wreck the underpinnings of democracy. In which case America will lose its glory.
Anthony S. Pitch, author of Our Crime Was Being Jewish, is a former journalist in America, England, Israel, and Africa.