Assault on American Democracy

There is a scene in the 1968 horror film “Rosemary’s Baby” where Rosemary Woodhouse cries out, “This is no dream, this is really happening!” It’s the gut-wrenching moment that she regains consciousness from a drug-induced stupor and realizes she is—at that moment—being raped by Satan.

It’s an apt metaphor for what happens to American democracy on January 20. The Democrat lost because of dual assaults on U.S. democracy. The first of our two Satans is called “fascism.”

The existence of fascist/autocratic abuse in the system is both self-evident and vague. It’s ambiguous because there were conventions, candidates and balloting. At the end, a winner and loser emerged.

That’s democracy, right?


In the 1990s, after Republicans realized that a woman, and not just any woman but that woman, intended to run for high office, they fixed on the single goal of ruining her just as they had with her husband. Their harnessed plots congealed into a “vast right-wing conspiracy” that invented fake scandal after fake scandal to assassinate her character and kill any chance that she would ever become their president.

Their hustles gained traction.

She lost.

Yet slanderous vilification alone does not constitute fascism. Other swindles are necessary; swindles like gerrymandering, phony voter-ID laws, fake news, last-minute assistance from a partisan (indeed, Republican) FBI, and Russian hacking at the behest of a vicious despot—Vladimir Putin (who murders his own domestic opponents).

Full-blown fascist autocracy?


It’s Fascism Lite, the low-fat American version: my way, or I’ll sneak around the Constitution. That’s what Republicans do. Instead of leading, they sneak, cheat and manipulate.

Still, these tricks couldn’t completely swing an election in the world’s wealthiest republic. Another assaulting devil was necessary, one that tapped the meanest streak in our collective 240-years. That Satan’s name is “racism.”

Animosity toward non-white people is the baseline code embedded in the DNA of the American genome. It lurks in the blood like a latent strain of syphilis passed from Europe to Jamestown to suburban sprawl. That the founding fathers failed to address slavery mandated the death of 700,000 men between 1861 and 1865. Because the Confederacy won that war’s peace terms, it was allowed to establish racial segregation that lasted one century and is still a horrible memory for millions. In 2016, we learned that too many call those years “the good old days.”

Factor in a porous border with an economically struggling nation, the 9/11 attacks, and the finest president of my lifetime—who happens to be black—and the system was primed for nihilistic kickback.

Consequently, the South really has risen again. It’s without boundaries, yet looks the same. It’s still white, still racist, still ostensibly Christian, and still thickly dumb with presumption of its own righteousness to inflict harm on us all. The one exception is that it (officially) flies the Stars and Stripes instead of (increasingly) the Stars and Bars.

Mainstream Republicans did not want this reprobate president. Yet they are to blame. He waltzed through the fascist doorway they built, assisted by a racist tailwind he cultivated. The result will be a nation run by the visibly corrupt, openly nepotistic and outright thuggish.

Consequently, the majority that voted against self-destructive regression must awaken like Rosemary in a dreadful night sweat because a winning—minority—actually wanted this metaphoric rape of America.

[Gray Basnight lives in Hankins, NY and New York City, NY.]


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