If I were a wanna-be dictator looking for some place to make my own, and I really mean my own – I might just pick Tennessee; any state politically bipolar enough to produce both All Gore and Fred Thompson is just asking for it.
The conditions would have to be just right; an economic depression, high unemployment, isolated urban centers surrounded by vast rural areas – so far, so good. Then I would need a political vehicle that I could manipulate; one well known enough to engender respectability, yet intellectually vacant enough to be controlled … how ‘bout the republicans!
Now for the most important factor in successful dictatorizing; fear. I simply need to identify who the majority of the people are, find out what they fear and then blame it on the minority of the people. It’s simply a matter of tapping into people’s worst instincts, and then telling them how righteous they are.
So, whom will I have to crush in order to take control of my new dominion? First will be the democrats, which should be easy, I’ll just call them socialists and other things that people don’t understand but think they should be afraid of. Next I’ll have to break the power of the unions since the majority of the population are in the working classes – oh wait… it’s a “right to work” state – job done. Then there’s the media; no problem, one corporation owns 90% of all TV and print media in the state – I’ll just leverage their coverage with tax breaks and promises to suppress their competition (starting with those quaint independent city papers).
Now for the fear factor (and the reason this state will be so easy to take) – what the majority of my future followers fear is losing their stuff, and the ability to amass more stuff. Be it a new bass boat, LCD television or that weekend in Tunica. If I can promise them that, they will line-up to hand over their civil rights.
But what minority can I convince the majority to blame? Blacks? No, too risky and too on-the-nose; I’ll just redistrict them out of making any trouble. Gays? Probably, but may have to dress that up with something like just banning them from marriage or military service. Muslims? Too late, it’s already impossible to build a mosque in this state.
Maybe the old identify a minority and then ship them off to camp idea is outdated. I may have more success with a vaguely defined and thus even more sinister minority to scare people with – how ‘bout “liberals?” PERFECT! And I can roll all of the above stated troublemakers into the same category. Anyone that claims the system is unfair or biased can simply be called a “liberal” and quickly dealt with. Genius!
I’m just a bit concerned that the Republican party may not have the stones for the work I have in mind. I need people that are so completely convinced of their own inherent superiority and the absolute evil of anyone else, that they won’t balk at the things I have in mind… I’ve got it! Evangelical Christians! They’ll hate anyone I tell them to, and with a zeal that would make a storm trooper blush.
All set then. First the redistricting, get my minions in control of the state legislature. Check. Next, legislate myself the ability to discriminate at will. Check. Ban the ability of any malcontents to protest. Check. And, for long-term control of my people, get control of what is taught in the schools. I mean if I can convince people that evolution didn’t happen…I could convince them of anything. Really, what man with nipples doesn’t get the idea of evolution? Check.
My plan is perfect – just hope someone else hasn’t already thought of it…
…good night and good luck
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