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So much for the authoritarians

Kenneth D. Gough • Dec 16, 2018 at 7:15 AM

Although the just-completed election was a mixed bag, it’s fair to say the Democrats won a decision on points. In other words, it was a fairly ordinary American election.

So, whatever happened to the alt-right/authoritarian/fascist/Nazi takeover of the U.S., hmmmm? You’d think that, with two years to plan it, any self-respecting coup plotters, especially people as power-mad and ruthless as the Trumpistas are (or so I’m told every time I open the newspaper or turn on the TV), would have plenty of time to rig an election.

There’s a lesson in there for the hysterical left if they will only learn it, which, of course, they won’t. Not that Trump and his minions are or ever were part of the alt-right, or would-be authoritarians, or any sort of fascists, or Nazi wannabes, but democracy and ordered liberty are so ingrained in this country that it is deeply stupid to scream bloody murder that a coup is in the offing when moderate-conservatives assume their occasional hold on power.

That supposedly-educated people could believe such nonsense makes you wonder what’s being taught in the schools. That pundits and journalists would make such an argument makes you question their supposedly-superior understanding of the American system of governance, and wonder why we bother listening to them. That political hacks would encourage such obviously silly, but nonetheless dangerous, notions, just so they can gain power, means they have lost their integrity and self-respect, if they had any to begin with.

I have always considered voting a right, a privilege and a responsibility that comes with living in a free country, so this was the 24th election in which I’ve voted (each of which, strangely, has been “the most important in our lifetimes”). Every time, I have found the whole process distressing, and every now and then disgusting. There have been very few times when I cast a vote with unreserved enthusiasm. I gather my feelings are pretty much the norm.

For consolation, after every election I remind myself what the great statesman Winston Churchill, who was also a formidable historian and penetrating student of human nature, had to say on the subject: Democracy is the worst form of government ever invented, except for all the others.

Dear Tennessee Democrats — When a good man like Phil Bredesen can be badly beaten by Marsha Blackburn (who I am told on good authority is not all that well-liked in Republican circles), then you’ve got a problem. When a state like Tennessee, which little more than 20 years ago was a Democratic bastion, has turned crimson red with two small blue islands in Nashville and Memphis, you know you’ve got a problem.

This comes from someone who thinks that having too much power invested in a single party (even the Republicans) is a bad thing because it’s an invitation to abuse and corruption, and that it would be far better for Tennessee if you were competitive on the state level: When are you going to deal with your problem by repudiating the far left? Bredesen understands this, and said as much shortly before Election Day. The Democratic brand has become toxic in Tennessee, making moderates like him all but unelectable. People like me would welcome the opportunity to vote for people like him were it not for the fact that he would be nothing more than an enabler for people like Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi.

Dear Tennessee Republicans — following up on a point in the preceding paragraph, so far you’ve done a pretty good job of self-policing the abuse and corruption. Keep it up — and keep it up ruthlessly — or suffer the electoral consequences.

Now that that’s over and we’ve all had a chance to take a badly-needed shower, we can get down to business, right? And I don’t mean the next election, either, regardless of how badly the pundits want to talk about it. But I won’t hold my breath.

We’re still the brokest nation on earth, and no more willing to face up to the fact that we’re living beyond our means now than we have been for the last 50 years. The national debt now exceeds $21 trillion, and each taxpayer’s share is $178,065 and rising.

We still can’t agree on what to do about illegal immigration. We all feel compassion for the unfortunate people of the world, and we’re eager to welcome the smart and ambitious from everywhere. But no one knows when immigration becomes invasion, which destroys the culture and economy that make us so attractive in the first place.

Well, if we won’t face up to national insolvency and cultural dissolution, the other problems don’t matter, anyway. In which case, party on.

Kenneth D. Gough of Elizabethton is a semi-retired businessman.

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