A vain, angry man who is refusing to accept reality has his finger on the button.
A sulking, bitter man who is refusing to accept the will of the people leads the world's most powerful democracy.
A man who dwells in the world of lies and deceit is firing those who will not blindly do his bidding.
It's been long clear to many that Donald Trump, in sowing division, discrediting uncomfortable truths and fomenting a cult of personality was walking the same path dictators have in the past. Just look up Matyas Rakosi (Hungary), Francois Duvalier (Haiti) or Benito Mussolini (Italy), since the past holds important lessons that too many seem willing to ignore.
And now, facing defeat — the moment when character is revealed — Trump is showing his true colors in a way that even those who for four years have looked past his flaws cannot ignore. The alternate reality Trump is working hard to create — that the election was tainted, that it was stolen from him by Joe Biden — is a dangerous narrative that threatens the core of our Democracy. There is no evidence of any widespread or systemic fraud. When Trump's own head of election cybersecurity sad that, he was fired.
That false narrative is Trump's justification to pave a path toward fascism in America, a path that calls for upending the will of the people. And those who are going along — repeating the lies, looking for ways to undo the vote or even standing silent in acquiescence — risk supporting fascism over freedom. The problem in Nazi Germany wasn't only that there were German people who thought exterminating Jews was acceptable. It's that there were many who knew it wasn't but stood by quietly and let it happen.
We're not suggesting that there aren't valid remedies to challenge potential issues connected to the administration of any election. But this has gone way beyond that. As the legal challenges filed by the Trump campaign have fallen one by one, the paranoid rhetoric has ramped up.
And so have efforts to replace Democracy with dictatorship.
The initial unwillingness of elections officials to certify results in Wayne County, Michigan, the alleged interference of Sen. Lindsay Graham in the certification process of the results in Georgia and now suggestions that Republican legislators in key states could simply ignore the election results and nominate pro-Trump electors are unparalleled threats to democracy.
This isn't about Republicans or Democrats anymore. It's about those who believe in democracy versus those willing to risk living under a fascist regime.
If you're among those who voted for Trump — and there were many — you may have had good reasons. In a recent Courant story, reporter Mike Hamad chronicled the rise of Trumpism among disaffected middle-class voters. But supporting Trump's efforts to unravel a clear and unequivocal result must be resisted by anyone who calls themselves an American or a patriot.
There may be a lot we as Americans disagree on these days. But if the will of the people to choose who leads is no longer a shared value, we are in deeper trouble than we imagined.
It's time to stand up and be counted. That goes for people in Trump-leaning towns. That goes for local talk show hosts who parrot lies and conspiracy theories. And that goes for anyone who posts falsehoods on Facebook or Instagram. You are aiding and abetting fascism. Time to stop.
It's also time for majority Democrats to listen harder to the voices of those who have drifted to the right. There is a growing perception that the Democrats are beholden to wealthy elitists on the one hand and progressives on the other. Those in the middle are clearly looking for someone who can speak to the hopes and fears of every working American.
Over the next two months we will write a new chapter in American history. We'll either put partisan interests aside and reinvest in democracy or we will allow a bully to continue down a dangerous path. It's time to appreciate what the flag really means. It's time to be a real patriot.(c)2020 The Hartford Courant (Hartford, Conn.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC