If you google “authoritarian definition” you’ll get something like:
favoring or enforcing strict obedience to authority, especially that of the government, at the expense of personal freedom.
…but that’s not particularly helpful for our time, particularly when it comes to noticing subtle changes that lead us down a dark road. Recently I joined Medium (even though I’ve been digging in my heels since 2012) in order to rehost some of my site’s substance over at The Bearing and in the meantime, I came across a series of posts by Amy Siskind. Siskind has been writing a series that’s attempting an authoritarian definition for our time. I’ll add her list of titles and links at the bottom, they’re self-explanatory but I want to still explain them a bit.
In each post, Amy is simply journaling subtle changes in American culture, the American political climate, and the social norms of American media and dialog that are subtly shifting. By doing this, she hopes to have a solid log of things that changed for the worst — a log that stretches back to the very beginning. Here are some of the gems:
Acts of hate — for the first 400 per SPLC, I could name many that I had seen covered by the media. Then I noticed the count exceeded 700, and I realized I knew very little about those additional 300.
Reporters critique their own paper’s coverage of Trump, then delete it (see below tweet which disappeared overnight, after 2k+ retweets).
The pace of untraditional, unorthodox acts, and conflicts of interest by Trump are coming so fast and furious, they’re barely getting coverage.
The media, including traditional media, covered an alt-right conferenceand published their demands, which included a ban on immigration for 50 years of anyone not white, and an all white nation.
The First Family-elect will not be living in the White House.
Trump has selectively been meeting with the media and grooming them by yelling at them. They all showed up for this.
In Wisconsin, 5k of Trump’s 27k vote lead have been proven to be fake votes.
In true dictatorial form, Trump demands Mitt Romney publicly apologizeif he wants the position of Secretary of State.
Despite his clams of millions of illegal votes, Trump and the GOP apparatus aggressively filed lawsuits to prevent vote recounts.
Unprovoked by events or any reason, Trump suggested — again via a tweet – consequences for burning the American flag: “perhaps loss of citizenship or year in jail!”
Senate Majority leader McConnell awoke from a seeming slumber to condemn this, while Speaker Paul Ryan assured America he was tutoring Trump on the Constitution.
At the Cincinnati rally, after being egged on by Trump, supporters chanted, “Lock her up! Lock her up!” and Trump did nothing to stop them. Same night, Trump loyalist Cory Lewandowski told a panel that NYT editor Dean Baquet should be imprisioned.
The next day, Trump appointed Exxon CEO Tillerson as SoS. Tillerson has no experience with government or diplomacy, but has a close relationship with Putin.
Trump economic team is all men and all white. Five of the 13 are named Steven or Stephen.
Rudy Giuliani “withdrew” his candidacy for a cabinet position, and the lawyer of “Woman in Gold” fame, filed under the FOIA for Giuliani’s connection to the FBI’s search warrant.
CIA fears reprisals from Trump over their findings on Russian interference, while his team threatens to bring in new leadership.
Trump continues to deny Russian hacking of the election. Says it could have been China or a 400 pound man.
The RNC meanwhile says they were not hacked by “Russia.”
FBI and CIA and all intel reach agreement that Russia interfered with our election, with a goal of getting Trump elected.
Trump will keep his private security force while in office. This is unprecedented, and potentially dangerous.
Gingrich suggested Trump should pardon his advisors who break the law.
Gingrich, after saying Trump wouldn’t actually drain the swamp, was forced by Trump to publicly apologize, and say Trump would.
The Embassy of Kuwait cancelled their longstanding reservation to host their National Day celebration at Four Seasons, citing political pressure, and changed it to Trump’s Hotel in DC.
Days later, he and Putin shared admiring letters exchanges. Putin publicly castigated Hillary as a “sore loser,” and Trump agreed via a tweet. No US elected officials responded to either
Trump continues to take credit for jobs he didn’t create — this week with Sprint’s 5,000 jobs. Companies looking for things — like Sprint with an upcoming merger — have started to play into this for favor.
157 days since Trump held a press conference (the one where he encouraged Russia to hack more American emails).
Neo-nazis in Whitefish, Montana — hometown of alt-right leader Richard Spencer — plan an armed march to harass Jews.
After a morning tweet about Obama not cooperating on transition, Trump appeared with Don King that evening, and said the opposite.
Trump announced he will make major policy announcements via Twitter.
On New Year’s Day, Trump promised a revelation on hacking, either Tuesday or Wednesday. This was a lie — it never came.
WSJ Editor Gerard Baker said his paper would not refer to Trump’s lies, as “lies.”
House GOP revived an obscure 1876 rule that allows them cut the pay of federal workers to $1.
Ex CIA-director James Woolsey resigned from Trump’s transition team, saying he did not want to “fly under false colors” any longer.
Three vendors have placed liens on the Trump hotel in DC for unpaid bills of over $5 million, in total.
Cory Booker became the first US Senator to speak out against a fellowsitting senator at a confirmation hearing (Sessions for AG).
Next morning, Trump tweeted a disparaging attack on Lewis, on MLK weekend, saying he was all talk.
Democrats in Congress were furious with FBI director Comey’s unwillingness to answer their questions and fully brief them.
The FEC sent Trump a letter listing 247 pages of illegal contributions to his campaign.
Human Rights Watch issued its annual report of threats to human rights around the world. For the first time in 27 years, the US is listed as a top threat because of the rise of Trump.
Meryl Streep used her Golden Globes lifetime of notable work speech to eloquently attack Trump, without mentioning his name.
In interviews with the Times of London and Germany’s Bild, Trump referred to NATO as “obsolete.”
Next day, the front page of Le Monde showed Trump standing with his back turned, and a title, “Trump Contre L’Europe” (translates, Trump Against Europe).
In a speech, Putin defended Trump, and said the Obama administration was trying to undermine Trump’s legitimacy.
In Greenwich, CT, a Republican official grabbed a woman by her genitals, bragging “I love this new world, I no longer have to be politically correct.” He was caught on tape, and later arrested
Trump was sued for defamation by one of the woman who accused him of unwanted sexual advances. Attorney Gloria Alfred said she will subpoena unseen “The Apprentice” footage.
Media was banned from Trump’s DC hotel in the days leading up to his inauguration. Trump did, however, stop by his DC hotel, and Spicer told the press, “I encourage you to go there, if you haven’t been.” Trump still benefits financially from the hotel.
McClatchy reported that the FBI and 5 other law enforcement and intelligence agencies have been investigating how money may have covertly moved from Kremlin to help Trump win.
Rep Cummings who did attend, explained, “members of Congress have a lot of information that the public does not have,” and eventually the American people would understand the boycotts.
The streets along with Inaugural parade had thin crowds, and the entire stands were empty (see video below).
Trump team banned the Department of Interior from Twitter, after the department retweeted photos of small crowds on Inauguration Day. A National Park Spokesperson apologized.
Within hours of Trump being sworn in, all mention of climate change, civil rights and LGBT were removed from the White House webpage.
Upon taking office, Trump was likely already in violation of the federal lease with his Trump hotel DC property.
An estimated 2.5 million Americans marched in the Women March, ten times more than showed for Trump inauguration. AP reported that 500,000 marched in DC alone, doubling the expected attendance.
That’s just a sampling. I encourage you to read through the full list:
It would seem that it’s true: those who refuse to study history are doomed to repeat it.