The commonest word in US media outlets is dictatorship. Open any page of any newspaper for any day or read any online blog and the word “dictator” or versions of it, is everywhere.
The reason this is so is because all African Nations are governed by “dictators” as are all South Americans. China, Russia, North Korea, indeed most Asian countries except those that are allies to the US government are ruled by “dictators”. So the stories from these places must definitely have the versatile word “dictatorship”. The other word used in conjunction to dictator is “corrupt”. Most countries are governed by corrupt dictatorships.
A dictator like Hitler, possibly did not kill even one Jew himself, but his soldiers, police, prison guards, etc. killed Jews by the millions. Same about Idi Amin, Mussolini and other dictators. The Russians who were killed or poisoned outside Russia were not poisoned by Mr. Putin. Those executed in North Korea were not directly executed by Kim Jong-Un, but by his orderlies.
But in America, and among American admirers, people think that these things cannot happen because of strong institutions that have been created over the course of centuries. The legislature is a check on the presidency as is the judiciary. The process of appointing the Supreme Court judges is supposed to stop the president from packing the SCOTUS. Both the courts and the presidency serve to checkmate the legislature. And to make matters worse for any potential dictator, the judiciary is made independent of the executive even though the president appoints the senior officers. Along such lines are how the heads of the security agencies are appointed. They all swear allegiance to the Constitution of the United States.
But how good are these checks and balances? Over the course of 200 years, it looked as if the institutions are as good as they were intended. It is here that Mr. Donald Trump’s presidency serves US very well. Not many presidents in the past had ever seriously challenged and tested the system.
But here comes Mr. Trump.
The president has very openly lied to the citizens; he has gone over the head of the legislature to build border walls in the US’s southern border; he has asked his deputies not to respond the subpoena’s from the legislatures. The president has packed the Supreme Court with “those who will overturn “Roe VS Wade” or those who will support conservative ideology” as opposed to decide cases on their merits or according to the constitution. The president has ordered the Treasury Secretary not to provide the legislature with his tax returns so that nobody can verify if he were a tax cheat. He has asked the Attorney General not to testify at Congressional hearings and a lot of other things.
Will the president prevail? The press is so far performing its solemn duties but with constant attacks and labelling as Fake News providers, how long will its support for democracy last? One of the things dictators do to consolidate their power is to weaken the said institutions. If Mr. Trump succeeds in weakening the judiciary, the press, the Justice Department, politicizing the military, etc., then Dictator Trump will become a reality.
America will then join the likes of Nazi Germany and a lot of evil will be done in the name of America. South American natives would become the “Jews” joined by residents from the “shit“ countries of Africa and Arabs who are Muslims to be known as Islamic Terrorists. The Aryans will be white Americans and people who can trace their genealogy to Scandinavian countries of Western Europe. Some from Russia may be spared because of the special relationship between Mr. Trump and Mr. Putin. All people from the countries currently involved in the tariff wars will be persona-non-grata or have very limited rights if they are US residents. Immigration of any kind would be a concept dumped into the archives unless one wants to migrate from Norway.
This is probably the first time the constitutional provisions of checks and balances is really, really tested. The framers of the constitution did not envisage that the president’s party could collaborate with the presidency to overthrow constitutional government. They were all patriots and such a thought did not cross their minds.
Will the President Trump triumph? Your guess is as good as mine.
Benjamin Obiajulu Aduba
June 12, 2019