When dissent comes to be viewed as a threat, American democracy isn’t long for this world

So you STILL think fascism can’t happen in America??

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Tuesday that Democrats need to decide if they “hate” President Trump “more than they love this country” after Trump slammed Democrats who didn’t applaud during his State of the Union address. “Democrats refuse to celebrate the accomplishments of last year that have helped all Americans,” Huckabee Sanders told reporters during Tuesday’s White House press briefing. “What I don’t understand and what I don’t think the country understands is why Democrats are so upset about lower taxes and higher wages.”…. “That’s something that every American should be celebrating, not crying about, not sitting on their hands for,” the press secretary continued. “Democrats are going to have to make a decision at some point really soon: do they hate this president more than they love this country? And I hope the answer to that is ‘no.’”

Once upon a time, Presidents and those who worked for them may have bemoaned opposing viewpoints…but they didn’t question the right of Americans to hold them. They may have been upset about being opposed, but they recognized that in our democracy, the 1st Amendment and the freedom of speech and expression it guarantees actually mean something. The Loyal Opposition may have stood against everything a President stood for, but they understand that we’re all Americans.

That was then. Now dissent is now longer considered the highest form of patriotism. It’s now viewed by those in power as a direct threat to their rule. Dissenting voices must therefore be intimidated into meek submission and silence.

Ms. Huckabee Sanders’ contention that Democrats must at some point decided between hatred of President Trump or love of country assumes that it’s a binary choice- either/or. Except that it’s not early so black and white as she believes. One can love America while simultaneously despising a President more committed to creeping fascism than representative democracy. Despite Ms. Huckabee Sanders highly partisan spinning of political reality, there’s nothing preventing loyal Americans from keeping both of those thoughts in their mind. I do it every single day.

We may live in a democracy of majority rule, but one of our most important founding ideals was to confer legal protection on those unafraid to buck popular sentiment with contrarian voices. Dissent can sometimes be uncomfortable, but it is vital in a democracy. Our nation would never have thrived without the determination of those who were fearless in their beliefs, even when those beliefs were severely out of step with the popular mood and those in power. And in moments like the present, when our government has become erratic and threatens our constitutional principles, dissent is doubly necessary to resist a slide into greater autocracy.

– Dan Rather, “What Unites Us: Reflections on Patriotism”

I understand the job of a White House Press Secretary is to spin events in a way which reflect positively on the President. Most of her predecessors were able to do that while maintaining at least a veneer of honesty and integrity. Ms. Huckabee Sanders has long since abandoned any pretense of pursuing truth, fact, or reality. It’s as if she studied at the University of the Big Lie. She’s shown herself willing to lie shamelessly and openly if that’s what it takes to portray the President in a positive light.

I can’t imagine how she can go home, look her children in the eyes, and teach them the importance of honesty and integrity. When you believe the truth should be whatever you need or believe it to be, how can you serve as a role model for young children? How can you be considered anything but a failure as a moral human being?

No, Democrats don’t have to make a choice…because it’s entirely possible to love America while simultaneously despising the most venal, corrupt, thoroughly dishonest President this country has known. In fact, keeping both thoughts in their minds is proof that dissent really IS the highest form of patriotism.

Nice work, America. You broke it, you bought it.

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