Democracy Versus Dictatorship

We must change the framework in which we view the 2020 election. The conversation reaches beyond politics and touches on the very foundations that this country was built upon.

An election like no other.

During most election seasons, we’re heatedly debating specific policies and the vision of the challenger and whether or not the incumbent will be worth keeping in place.

Not this year. Our conversations this year are drastically different. On NPR this morning, the topic was about the election night results, why the 24/7 news coverage could be harmful in an election that will be decided by mail in ballots and to prepare for post-election chaos.

Over the weekend, the current occupant of the White House repeatedly claimed that he would stay in office for 8 more years, called the elections rigged and one of his top advisers, recently pardoned by the president, stated on video to federalize elections, send the military to election sites, arrest past political rivals, arrest Zuckerberg and tech CEOs and declare martial law. And as I write this essay, the NYT just published this article with a lead that says the following: “Michael Caputo, the assistant secretary of health for public affairs, told a Facebook audience without evidence that left-wing hit squads were being trained for insurrection, and he accused C.D.C. scientists of “sedition.”

This is not normal. None of this is normal. What we’re facing is no longer a political conversation. This is not an election that’s a referendum on a specific political party, this election touches on the very foundations of this country’s structure and whether or not we’d like to keep the democratic foundation in place as it was intended over 200 years ago.

This election is a decision between democracy and dictatorship. Period. That’s not hyperbole, that’s fact. Ask any historian of authoritarian regimes and they will confirm that we began down this path of authoritarianism 4 years ago, possibly before. And we are at the apex of the collapse into authoritarianism.

Democracy or dictatorship. Not right or left. Not liberal or conservative. Not a political debate.

Democracy or dictatorship.

And I can tell you this much, there will be massive unrest from November 3rd until January 20th, no matter the election results. Prepare for that. Get your systems in place to secure your personal privacy online and get your physical security and home ready for yet another lockdown. Only this time it won’t be a virus keeping you indoors. It may be your neighbors who have Infowars stickers on their cars, or The Silent Majority flags on their lawns. It may be the highways shut down by massive protests in the streets or even worse, as we’re seeing now with the wildfires in rural Oregon, it may just be armed militia blocking the roads and checking IDs at gunpoint.

Begin to mentally prepare for the fact that this current administration may not leave, no matter the results. Yes, we have a military that can and should impose the law and force him to leave if he loses. But no one, and I mean NO ONE in a position of power has yet to hold this administration accountable for the laws it’s already broken. To blindly believe the military will protect the people through a peaceful transition of power is simply nieeve.

I can’t believe I’m even writing this shit. And it’s not dystopian fiction or drama derived from boredom. It’s real. It’s yanked from the headlines, from the news clips, from the actual words coming out of the leaderships mouths. These nefarious leaders aren’t stupid, they have a plan and its working. The plan of massive disinformation and dramatic polarization has worked perfectly. Well played, Putin. The finger prints of foreign actors are covering the weapons-- and those weapons are Facebook and Twitter. Platforms that CEOs have refused to take responsibility for and profited tremendously from.

The campaigns weren’t even that sophisticated. They didn’t have to be. The nefarious foreign actors simply looked at the data, slapped some messaging on some graphics, paid for ads to deliver the campaigns to people who blindly believe whatever the algorithms and their peers tell them. Facts and science be damned. Then a few foreign actors slip into private groups (or create their own private groups) slip in more disinformation and the civil war is primed and ready for a “rigged election.”

If we submitted this as a script to Spielberg, he’d tell us to go try again, it’s not believable.

But here we are. In the midst of a global pandemic allowed to run rampant through our country. A population scared, harmed, destitute and filled with fear at the mercy of a kleptocracy wielding its brutal and strategically gathered power to shatter the structures of democracy and steal the remaining wealth of the country for their families and fellow criminals.

Our states are burning and we can’t respond. Our population is dying and we can’t respond. Our democracy is suffocating and we can’t respond. Our freedom is on the ballot and we can’t respond.

We have a choice and it is a simple one. Democracy or dictatorship.

Up next…how to protect your personal data and privacy for the coming election.