By Michael P. Riccards
The founding fathers feared above all executive tyranny. Yesterday American democracy was disgraced by a foul mouth corrupted demagogue inciting violence and a crude take over the capitol. He is guilty of common sedition and with two weeks left should face removal under the 25th Amendment.
But we have allowed his lawlessness for nearly four years. My Trump supporters have told me his charm is he tells it like it is. Like what? He lied about the pandemic, politicized public health, endangered crowds and cabinet members alike, spread baseless claims on fraud and consistently lied to the citizenry. Yet 75 million of us wanted to be lied to and were willing to lay aside the Constitution. They are unworthy to be citizenry. We alienated our allies and emboldened our adversaries. They knew he was an ignorant fool. But we are not laughing
Sometime ago I wrote a play on the fascist dictator Mussolini. The parallels are frightening. Yesterday was Trump’s March on Rome. But it failed. Like most Trump tactics, it was little thought out. Politicians are calling it a triumph of democracy. No, it shows how fragile and threadbare American institutions are. How far we are from Reagan’s city on a hill.
There is so much blame to go around in the decline of a once noble republic. Among those who are guilty are historians like me who once celebrated the growth of executive power. Our nation reaped the whirlwind.
Michael P. Riccards, a former college president. is the author of 30 books, including a two-volume history of the presidency, The Ferocious Engine of Democracy, and the recently published Woodrow Wilson as Commander-in-Chief.