ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Is This How Liberty Dies?

Updated on November 18, 2016

Sometimes events follow a narrative that almost feels pre-ordained. It is that sense of deja-vu when you catch yourself thinking you have been here before. These occasions can be exhilarating. You feel as though you can see the future. I get this sense as our new president-elect, Donald Trump, begins to unveil his cabinet. But, instead of excitement, I am met with a profound sense of foreboding. I don’t want to see the future as I feel I already know how this movie plays out.

Let’s be honest we didn’t need a crystal ball to know the Trump transition would be a jarring. First, it is obvious that our new president elect is not a detail guy. Instead he prefers to leave the day-to-day machinations to others only to come along and change direction on a whim. This was the pattern in the campaign as he lurched from contradiction to contradiction and, until he loses his Twitter account, is certain to be his style going forward. By now it is clear that Donald Trump demands to be king of the castle while his courtiers seek to curry favor at every opportunity. We put the authoritarian label of this behavior today, but in times past it could have easily been Henry VIII - minus three of his six wives.

Second, it was clear who would be in the forefront of his administration team after consistently turning a blind eye to racism and white nationalism under pinning the campaign. While some of his supporters were clearly attracted to the hate filled message, many others decided they needed to vote for change, a new broom or the anti-Hillary candidate. At the end of the day, they hoped for the best. They gave the benefit of the doubt to a man who had done so little to earn it during the election cycle. But vast swathes of people were angry and Trump connected with a simple message that drowned out all reason to the contrary.

On election night there was a glimmer of hope for all of us. In his widely applauded speech he set a more moderate tone. He pledged ‘to every citizen of our land that I will be president for all Americans’. He even added his customary dose of hyperbole for emphasis, ‘and this is so important to me’. Those voters who went for Hillary could at least temporarily cling to some vestige of hope that the king and his court would not govern from the extreme. How wrong they were.

Trump has rewarded his courtiers; his cronies; the sycophants. Each new announcement begets another gasp of breath. A look of incredulity is shared between family, friends and co-workers. First up was Steve Bannon, an anti-Semite and promoter of the unseemly underbelly of American culture. Next, we get an avowed anti-Islamist, General Michael Flynn, given the task of being National Security Advisor. And, third, we witness Senator Jeff Sessions, a person already disqualified from the judiciary for racist comments, promoted to Attorney General. Not only is this the axis of evil, but also of the unhinged and unworthy.

There are others of course, and surely more to arrive in the coming days. On the international stage we are already witnessing the effects and conceding ground, especially in the vital area of climate policy. For instance, China has found it necessary to let the newly elected US president know that global warming is not a hoax. And, instead of joining the celebrations in the latest round of climate talks, negotiators are looking fearfully across the Atlantic to see who will be asked to take up the environmental reins in Washington. Based on our experiences so far we should all be nervous. Our newly elected leader despises details. Ask yourself whether you really think he is going to sit down and have a reasoned discussion with any of his advisors. Moreover, is a reasoned conversation even possible with such dark and divisive histories clouding each individual’s perspective?

Just as in a bygone era, the king is promoting his court. There will be no decent and no challenge to authority. To do so risks banishment from the kingdom. Thus when the talent pool is so shallow, the result is the predictable cast of court jesters before us.

What is surprising, however, is how the rest of the Republican Party has normalized these candidates. Is Paul Ryan so determined to push through his ideas that he is willing to sacrifice everything for a chance to see them become reality? Indeed, it must be hard to spend a lifetime pushing a rock up the mountain and not be able to finally push it over the top. But he must become Sisyphus if we want a chance to have a country that is welcoming to all. We already know Mitch McConnell, the re-elected Senate Majority leader, will not lift a finger. After all, he spent the last 8 years doing everything he could to ensure a disfunctioning system. He is now at the apex of his crowning achievement.

For the democrats screaming about the injustice remember the valuable civics lesson we are enduring. It took so few votes in a handful of counties to tip the Electoral College. Yes, Hillary will win the popular vote, but that is all for naught. George W. Bush rammed through his tax cut and led us to war without a popular vote mandate and Donald Trump is embarking on a far more extreme agenda with far less capable people. In short, you don’t get to dictate outcomes unless you vote. Democrats, therefore, have a long road ahead before they can again influence events in any meaningful way.

No, the sad reality is we are going to require Republican lawmakers to find some outrage, or at least a modicum of embarrassment. When Mitt Romney pays a visit to the king this weekend let’s hope he maintains his principled stance and keeps his backbone straight. It would be a shame for the champion of the Never Trump movement to bend a knee and declare fealty. Rather than being a counter weight to the extremes inside the Administration, Romney would garner more influence and respect on the outside where he would be free to speak his mind without the threat of a beheading.

Perhaps these events seem so familiar because we have seen them play out before. Oftentimes movies start to imitate life and the lines between art and human history blur. As the victorious Republicans dance for the new king, a line from Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith springs to mind. Upon witnessing the Emperor’s rise to power Padme remarks: so this is how liberty dies... with thunderous applause. It is time for us all to acknowledge that what we are witnessing is not normal. Otherwise I think we can all see the future. And it is dark.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)