PBS is running a series called The Dictator’s Playbook that singles out a particular dictator from history and investigates that person’s rise to power. The current episode deals with Idi Amin, the notorious and murderous dictator of Uganda during the 1970s.
Here in America, concerned citizens have been watching for signs of the same thing happening. For over two years now we’ve watched Donald Trump usurp Constitutional and traditional norms of separation of powers and rule of law as he has rapidly tried to consolidate power into this own undersized hands.
Today, February 14, 2019, Trump has promised to take his playbook for dictatorship one giant step further, the breaking news reports that he will sign a bill to prevent another government shutdown while at the same time declaring there is a national emergency along the Southern border. Then he will use that phony declaration as a means to go around the US Congress who, by Constitutional decree has the power of the purse.
Making it potentially worse is the almost certain tolerance, if not approval, he will be shown by the US Senate. If Mitch McConnell and other Republicans don’t stand up and protect their Constitutionally granted powers, their turf, Trump, the rising dictator will neuter them as a veterinarian would a tomcat.
Whether history reports that we will or we won’t have a border wall, America will experience a legalistic nightmare. The Democrats, a few moderate Republicans, and a plethora of other interest will race to the courts for redress and America will be plunged into a Constitutional crisis.
The outcome of this power grab will determine whether America remains a republic based on the division of power into coequal branches or if one of those branches will become a vestigial organ of government as the appendix is to the human body.