Contact: Roland Watson, roland@dictatorwatch.org


September 23, 2020

Daily Kos is the leading progressive website in the United States. I've been following it since it started out many years ago as Markos Moulitsas' blog, and now visit it many times a day. I've probably posted one hundred things from the site on Facebook.

I never actually joined, though, to get the ability to post on it, but in response to the Republican reaction to Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death, I thought I would.

People are talking a lot about the possibility of a new civil war in the U.S., especially Republican militia members, so I wrote a short statement, American Civil War, and on Sunday sent it to my own distribution, and Kos.

It received a number of comments on the site. One person was offended, about the following:

"The Republicans are monsters. Not all Republicans, but many if not most.

They are gleeful about the opportunity to dishonor the legacy of a great American, Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

It's not just Trump. They are all sociopaths. (They have zero empathy for anyone not in their tribe.) Sure they care about money, but ultimately it is about power. They want the power to tell women what they can and cannot do; to discriminate against anyone who is not white or Christian or who does not conform to their idea of sexual preference; to deny health care to anyone who is low income; to allow the rich to get away with murder; to let corporations do literally anything; and to destroy nature to such a degree that the entire web of life breaks down. They are mad."

The commenter said I shouldn't have used "monster" or "sociopath."

I responded with my own comments including that I did have an issue with the word choice of "monster." After Justice Ginsburg's death, many, many, MANY Republicans immediately started "dancing on her grave." They saw the death of a champion of women's rights as the perfect opportunity to take away women's rights! Lots of people have already called them "ghouls." I chose "monster." (I even checked the Thesaurus - there are lots of appropriate adjectives, like reprehensible or vile, but not many nouns!)

For "sociopath," I had added the qualification about tribes. And for anyone who does not believe there is such a thing as "communal sociopathy," ask the Native Americans, or African Americans, or Jewish people, or Armenians, or Tutsi, or Rohingya, what they think - if the preferred "nationalist" is descriptive of what they experienced?

There were other comments and then another that was critical and which came with a warning. Delete the post myself or the moderators would ban me. I thought about it, and decided: no. What type of democracy activist would I be, much less writer, if I succumbed to censorship so easily.

Then I was banned. The person who made the comment even sent me an email saying I was. (I can imagine his or her glee.)

Then a really funny thing happened. The next day (Monday), Kos printed the Tom Tomorrow cartoon, which I love, and this week's edition has a character, "the monstrosity," "the thing that ate America's brain." So a monster IS behind it all, but we are not allowed to say that the followers are little monsters, too. Oh well.

Here's what really bothers me, about Kos and progressives and liberals and Democrats. (I'm an Independent.) Unless you are a Native American or an African American or a Jew, Armenian, Tutsi, or Rohingya (or Shan, Karen, Karenni, Kachin, Tibetan, East Turkestani, Southern Mongolian, Ndebele - look it up, or one of many other groups), you have no idea at all what it is like to live under a dictatorship. Even if you are empathetic and work with the victims of dictatorship closely and for many years, you can never really understand this, the fear of arbitrary arrest and torture and imprisonment, and of attacks by regime troops and the murder of your loved ones.

Dictatorships follow a playbook, and the basic rule is this: Escalate. When their power is challenged, they respond with even greater brutality and violence. I wrote American Civil War to show what might happen. I didn't say that it would, only that it easily could.

Americans, including the moderators at Kos, are unprepared. They know nothing about revolution. (Progressives think that "revolution" is what Bernie Sanders is talking about!) Sure, there have been a lot of mass protests since Seattle, but none of these protests ever prompted a real dictatorship crackdown. And there is zero contemporary experience with militancy. You can bring huge numbers to the streets, but when dictators start killing you most people will run. At that point, unless you can somehow keep it going, revolution - you know, the United States Revolution - is the only alternative.

I don't want people to be afraid. Maybe that was the underlying Kos complaint. But personally, I am. For Burma, everyone was trumpeting about how Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi had won, the country was now a democracy, and then the military slaughtered the Rohingya, and with Suu Kyi cheerleading. (Her press people shouted "Fake Rape" about the hundreds of Rohingya women and girls who were gang-raped and killed.)

I just want everyone to understand that it is possible. With Trump and Barr, things could change very quickly. Maybe the 101st Airborne Division wouldn't attack Americans, but we have so many military and paramilitary units - some would. Many Republicans wouldn't blink if Kent State were repeated, a hundred times over. They would say: "They deserved it."

So, Daily Kos, screw you. You do have lots of great content, but don't let your power go to your head. No one knows what Trump will do. Just remember, he's a cornered rat.

(My apologies to rats, although they do attack when cornered.)