Reichstag building wrapped by the artist Christo
On this day in 1933 Adolf Hitler managed to push “The Enabling Act” through the Reichstag in Germany.
This gave him the position of Dictator, and gave the minority Nazi party effective control of Germany. Democracy was sacrificed to expedience. The confusion of coalition government was replaced by the clarity, direction and strength of single minded purpose. See where that ended up?
Democracy is hard. Government is a messy process. It is dirty, political, flawed, frustrating, time-consuming and downright annoying. The Germans swept all that away in favour of simple solutions.
Beware politicians who seem to offer simple solutions to complex problems. Remember the Enabling Act. If you don’t know what it is, inform yourself. This stuff is important to know!
Epic: by Patrick Kavanagh
I have lived in important places, times
When great events were decided, who owned
That half a rood of rock, a no-man’s land
Surrounded by our pitchfork-armed claims.
I heard the Duffys shouting “Damn your soul!”
And old McCabe stripped to the waist, seen
Step the plot defying blue cast-steel –
“Here is the march along these iron stones.”
That was the year of the Munich bother. Which
Was more important? I inclined
To lose my faith in Ballyrush and Gortin
Till Homer’s ghost came whispering to my mind.
He said: I made the Iliad from such
A local row. Gods make their own importance.
Currently reading Margaret Atwood’s “Handmaid’s Tale”. It is oddly prophetic in describing how the USA is subverted by Christian Fundamentalist Military who suspend the constitution and replace democracy with a police state. The events set out by Atwood involve a rise in Islamic fundamentalism (remember this was written back in the 1980’s before anyone ever heard of Saddam Hussein or Osama bin Laden.)
An assassination of the President of the USA and an attack on the Capitol wipes out the Government in one fell swoop. The question is of course who instigated the attack? Was it the Islamic fundamentalists or was it the Christian fundamentalist right wing? The events are a mirror of what happened in Germany in the 1930’s. Hitler did not have enough seats in the parliament to form a government. He began by eliminating his main rivals, the Communists. The Reichstag building was burned down and the event was blamed on the communists who were eliminated from parliament. Hitler then cut a deal with the Catholic right wing to suspend government by passing the Enablement Act. Stormtroopers prevented Social Democrat moderates from entering the parliament building for the vote. Democracy was destroyed by a minority group of bullies.
Atwood uses this as a model for her own military takeover of the USA. Does it sound plausible that the hard right wing could suspend democracy? Just look at the rise of the Tea Party republicans! The rise in Islamic fundamentalism has generated a polarising influence in US politics. The result is a candidate like Donald Trump who speaks of banning muslims from entry to the USA and building a wall across the Mexican border. In times of fear and uncertainty voters seek simple answers from strong leaders. What they get are demagogues and dictators.
The 9/11 attacks targeted the world trade centre, the Pentagon and the White House. What would have happened if the President had been killed? US democracy is in a precarious position. The Handmaid’s Tale is like a manual for suspension of democracy. It seems to me that some of the hard right have been studying up on it. No wonder they want the book removed from required reading lists in US schools.
Maybe allowing the US population to own all those guns is not such a bad idea? What do you think?