Imagine if you will a country where the government does nothing to prevent "austerity" measures from being imposed. You know, like drastically altering the protections of Social Security, Medicare and - of course - eliminating any services for the poor, including housing, unemployment insurance, food stamps, and especially Medicaid. A country where the stock market just happens to take a big time dive because all the free money pumped into it by the Federal Reserve finally isn't enough to keep that "bubble" afloat. A country where no one wants to buy its debt anymore, or invests in infrastructure upgrades.
A country where there is no trickle down and never has been any. A country in dire economic straits just in time for the 2016 election for President. And a right wing extremist, riding this wave of economic misery and Koch Industries' SuperPac money is elected president with solid Republican majorities in the House and Senate.
President Ted Cruz, say.
I know, this is mere speculation on my part, but humor me. Let's consider this hypothetical for a moment. What would Ted Cruz do if he became President in 2016?
Well the last time a Republican was elected we found ourselves engaged in two wars in the Middle East. I think it's a safe bet War no. 3, the Iran Regime Change War would be foreign policy no. 1. Foreign policy no, 2? There wouldn't be one. If there is no war involved, Republicans don't do foreign policy, not anymore.
But why stop there? We have a pretty clear idea of what Republicans want to do. It's not like they haven;t been hiding their agenda from us. Let's make a short list:
- Imagine the elimination of the EPA and the Clean Air and Water Acts. Imagine fracking everywhere a piece of oil/methane enriched shale exists, even in the Monterrey shale under the largest earthquake zone in the United states, the San Andreas fault (and related tributaries) in California. Imagine the cost of fresh drinking water skyrocketing. Imagine states like Michigan and Wisconsin selling off the rights to their share of the Great Lakes to private industry.
- Imagine no more "public schools - only charter schools, with differing tiers for one's ability to pay. Guess who would get left with the worst of the worst? Imagine what sort of people would even want to be teachers under such circumstances.
- Imagine No more SEC, FTC, or any other agency that might get in the way of our high rollers in the Financial Markets. Imagine those high rollers getting to play with all the FISA taxes we pay for our retirement.
- Imagine the First Amendment? Well, I wouldn't, except for churches - Christian churches, preferably of the Fundamentalist variety. As for free speech, unless you're a bona fide member of your local Tea Party faction, expect to be arrested if you dare to criticize your dear Republican leaders (cf. Wisconsin singers).
- Fourth Amendment? Fuggetaboutit! The NSA has.
- Second Amendment on the other hand, well, imagine Florida - on meth. Imagine nightly shootings of anyone considered "threatening" to "Real Americans." Imagine a raft of "justifiable homicides" under the most lenient gun laws the NRA could ever dream up.
- Imagine the police on steroids, too. Oh wait, bad analogy. They already are on steroids. Well imagine police forces even more militarized than they are now. It isn't hard to do. People in gated communities of overpriced McMansions might be happy as clams, but what if you don't fit the profile of one of those people? Consider yourself a suspect of anything at anytime by your friendly neighborhood watch/slash law enforcement agency.
- Imagine a Supreme Court now packed with Conservative Justices (even if they have to enlarge the number on the Court upwards to do it). Say so long to anti-discrimination statutes and equal opportunity laws, and the protection of a person's rights unless you are a corporate person. Say so long to voting rights for millions of the "wrong people" - excuse me, millions more of the wrong people. And most of all, say so long to abortion and contraceptive rights unless you can afford a trip to Mexico, Europe or possibly Canada.
- Imagine the death of Labor Unions, and with them labor laws, OSHA and workplace protections, workman compensation laws - basically everything that might give the worker any leverage against his or her employer.
- Obamacare will be defunded and allowed to become just another liberal big government policy failure. The slow death, rather than the quick one. And then God help you if you have a pre-existing condition.
- Immigrants? All the White people you want will still be able to make it here from Canada or Europe. Africans, Asians (well unless some multinational company insists) and especially "you know who" (i.e., anyone from South of the border) will be persona non grata, even if they may have been born here. Which leads me to my next President Ted Cruz "hypothetical" policy ...
- Internment Camps for "Undesirables." That means anyone who is considered an "illegal" alien, of course, but the category is essentially unlimited. Just ask the Greeks. Gays, Lesbians, Trans people, sex workers, scary "Mooslims" (even if they might actually be Sikhs or some other religious minority), homeless people, activists with too many arrests for attending illegal protests - well, the sky's the limit once you get that ball rolling. Just ask George Takei, or any Native American stuck on the res.
- Imagine local communities being permitted to enforce "Biblical Law." Think I'm nuts? Well, do you think the Federal government under Ted Cruz would lift a finger to enforce constitutional protections if it would irritate his constituents - i.e., the far Christian right? Do you think a packed conservative Court led by a still youthful Chief Justice Roberts would interfere in a whatever the states wish to allow at the local level, such as enforced prayer in school, laws that make women "submit" to their fathers and husbands (easy enough to do if you weaken domestic violence laws even further), etc.?
Now, I recognize I have painted an extreme picture of one possible future here. However, in light of recent events in this country where Republicans have taken over state governments thanks to gerrymandering (i.e., Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Florida) and states like Texas where the radical right conservative already rule the roost and are doing their damnedest to limit voter participation by anyone other than reliably Republican populations, is my little exercise in "what if" being that improbable? In a land where the United Citizens ruling makes unlimited spending on elections a certainty, what do you think will happen in 2016, especially if the economy takes a nose-dive in 3015-2016, rather than merely spins its wheels as it is doing today for all but the wealthiest Americans?
After all, an economic collapse paved the way for Obama's victory and majorities in the House and Senate in 2008. When a country is in a downward spiral many things can happen. Fascism is the original sense of the word is one of them. There is nothing special about the Good Old USA that makes us immune from this particular political disorder. Remember Mussolini did not create a fascist state in a single day. He carefully achieved one over a period of five years, until under the Acerbo law, which permitted any party that won 25% of the vote to receive a 2/3 majority in the legislature, essentially ended the incentive for politicians to stay in any party but the Fascists if they wanted to have any career in politics at all.
We do not face the situation I described above, today. But no one can predict what the political climate in the US will be like three years from now. Consider this post then as a cautionary tale. Because, truth be told, we should all be running around with our hair on fire when you consider just how rotten our political system has become in only the last two years.