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NY Times columnist Charles Blow wrote something this week that should worry every American who believes in democracy:

“I have often wondered how major world tragedies and horrors were allowed to unfold. Where were all the good people, those who objected or should have? How did life simply go on with a horror in their midst?

“How did the trans-Atlantic slave trade play out over hundreds of years? How did slavery thrive in this country? How was the Holocaust allowed to happen? How did the genocides in Rwanda or Darfur come to be?”

I often ask myself these questions, but I was not prepared for the answer Blow gives.

“There is, of course,” he goes on to say, “nearly always an explanation. Often it is official policy; often it is driven by propaganda. But I’m more concerned with how people in the society considered these events at the time, and how any semblance of normalcy could be maintained while events unfolded…It turns out that our current era is providing the unsettling answer: It was easy.”

It was easy. Oh, my God. He’s right. History is unequivocal. In every country where social, political, and moral chaos took over and evil became rampant, it happened because people let it happen.

They had reasons that seem perfectly logical to them, but which revealed a shocking moral blindness from which we seem to have learned very little.

The same thing is happening now. A FB posting captured that fact with devastating sarcasm: “I am not anti-Semitic. I don’t hate Jews and I don’t believe they have ruined Europe’s economy, but this Hitler guy, he’s been good for the economy so I’m going with him.”

I cannot count the number of times I have heard a Trump voter say something like that.

They have their reasons, but none of them alters the fact that they are supporting a despot whose immoral policies have done unimaginable harm to people, including babies and children, who has no regard for telling the truth, who is trying to alter our form of government to fit his desire for power.

What is disturbing is how easy it is for them to justify themselves. It’s like they have no conscience at all.

Perhaps they no longer do. We know Trump doesn’t. His influence may be so toxic that he has infected them with a virus that has destroyed their ability or their will to apply the simple standard of right and wrong to what Trump is doing.

Unsettling is the fact that it doesn’t take a lot of people to pave the way for tyranny to replace democracy.

Journalist Jonathan Chait speaks to this danger when he writes that it doesn’t require a fully developed fascist movement to bring our country down. “All that may be required is one well-placed criminal.” (“The Case for Consequences,” a must-read article, NY Magazine, September 14)

That’s who Donald Trump is – a criminal. He always has been. He lied and cheated, manipulated and intimidated, his way in business and is now doing it as President.

Making it easier for him to do what he is doing is a now corrupted Republican Party.

I could discuss numerous examples to prove this point, but let’s look at the one that most reveals how true this is – voter suppression.

Since 2013 when the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act of 1965, every Republican-controlled state has proposed and many enacted legislation that makes voting more difficult rather than less.

It’s voter suppression, pure and simple, but Republicans insist they are protecting democracy against voter fraud. Now there is incontrovertible proof that this claim is not only false, but that they have know it was for a long time.

Benjamin Ginsberg just retired after serving 38 years as the primary lawyer for the Republican Party. It was his work that persuaded a conservative majority of the Supreme Court to name George W. Bush President.

In an op-ed for the Washington Post published last week (September 8) he addressed the question of voter fraud and in particular claims of potential fraud regarding mail-in voting. Here’s what he said:

“Legions of Republican lawyers have searched in vain over four decades for fraudulent double voting. The truth is that after decades of looking for illegal voting, there’s no proof of widespread fraud. At most, there are isolated incidents — by both Democrats and Republicans. Elections are not rigged. Absentee ballots use the same process as mail-in ballots — different states use different labels for the same process.”

Ginsberg went on to say that Donald Trump’s claims (and other Republicans like Bill Barr) about voter fraud regarding mail-in ballots are not only false, but very damaging to our democracy.

This is the Republican Party’s top lawyer for nearly 40 years who knows more about voter fraud than anyone in the world, and he says it doesn’t exist except in isolated cases that have no impact on the integrity of our elections.

That doesn’t matter to Trump or his Republican supporters. Undermining our elections is an easy thing for them to try to do because they see it serving a greater cause – their desire for absolute power they have convinced themselves is a good thing.

In other words, the only voter-fraud that is real is being perpetuated by Donald Trump and the Republican Party he controls. The raw selfishness their election rigging represents is truly stunning. What is more, it is but one of many examples of how they are trying to corrupt our democracy and destroy our Republic.

The warning in this is quite clear. When it comes to Trump and the Republican Party, don’t listen to what they say, watch what they do.

Charles Blow would add, do everything you can to expose their deeds, educate others on the real danger our country faces, and work to ensure this election is an overwhelming defeat for them and their cheating efforts to grab and consolidate power.

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