• Sona Chaturvedi

This is How it Happens


Photo Credit: Getty Images. From left: Authoritarian wannabes Tom Cotton, Josh Hawley, Ted Cruz and Paul Gosar.

Most everyone knows the metaphor of the frog in boiling water. For the uninitiated, if you drop the unfortunate amphibian straight in, it will scream to get out. But if you put it in cool water and increase the temperature slowly, the animal becomes acclimated and is eventually burned alive. This example is used as a parable to describe the failure to act against a problematic situation, which will increase in severity until reaching catastrophic proportions. We have reached that blistering point in America and abroad, as we slip further toward a dictatorial global nightmare.

I may sound alarmist. I’m not. Tyranny is here and has reached many parts of the globe with no indication of slowing down. Authoritarianism will destroy us and any semblance of independent, free expression of thought. In America, no one knows how to play this better than the far right. “Authoritarianism has always posed the most potent and enduring challenge to liberalism, since the birth of the liberal idea itself. It has now returned as a geopolitical force, with strong nations such as China and Russia championing anti-liberalism as an alternative to a teetering liberal hegemony,” says Robert Kagan of The Brookings Institute.

At this point in the United States, the Republican Party no longer governs and cannot sustain itself or contain the mob it has created. It is now an authoritarian party. Republicans will lie, cheat and steal to stay in power by white, minority rule. They have not hidden it. They have screamed it.


They don’t want you to vote if you aren’t one of them, and if you won’t keep them in power. The Constitution, the rule of law, the military, the flag or national security means nothing to them.

How long can they shout without every single person in America actually hearing it? These people are prepared to use every Machiavellian tactic to make themselves the only ruling class in this country.

Democrats should be taking the gloves off and fighting them with every tool in their arsenal. But, surprisingly, they aren’t.

There remains a need for some to push for bipartisanship. President Joe Biden has accomplished a great many things in his short time in office. I have no doubt his administration will continue here and abroad to push a progressive agenda.

However, that is not enough.

Democrats must realize their call for governing as usual is falling on deaf ears. There is no play here. They must stop trying to reason with the enemy.

Chauncey DeVega, columnist for Salon, has pointed out that: “Democrats are behaving like a sports team that's badly losing a game. In effect, they protest to the referee that the opponent is cheating and flouting the rules. Republicans respond by laughing in their faces, having concluded long ago that winning is all that matters.”

The mainstream media needs to realize it as well, he writes. “American media has no idea how to cover such a game. Its major commentators and institutions keep referring back to the old rulebook, which the Republicans have now made obsolete.”

Or, as Eric Boehlert, editor of Press Run says: you can’t hide behind a “both sides” argument. “The Beltway press refuses to use the proper tools and language to put the troubling actions of the GOP in context via its straight news coverage. Hiding behind timid language, and purposeful naïveté, news outlets still aren't being honest about the dire threat Trump Republicans now pose to the country.”

The GOP and its followers have become consumed in deliberate lies, yet the press still views the party as a serious entity, whose views deserve to be treated respectfully.

"It's time the media stop covering the GOP as a political party — it's not," tweeted SiriusXM radio show host and Salon contributor Dean Obeidallah. "Today's Republican Party is a white nationalist, fascist movement, and those exact words need to be used by the media so everyone gets the threat."

January 6 will happen again and will keep happening unless we stand firm and get serious about delivering consequences to perpetrators.

The time to act is now. We can’t hang on to useless institutionalism during this crisis and follow known protocol. Or, as environmental activists sometimes say, you can’t bring a dustbin to an earthquake.

Social democracies around the world want us to succeed, but they don’t need us. The last four years proved that.

We, like the frog, should have dealt with this situation long ago. We didn’t. We’re now paying the price.

But we can change it. It’s not too late to stop the path toward tyranny. It requires everyone’s attention and to treat this menace for what it is. Democrats cannot be silent. We need to stand up to the moment.


It is a battle for the soul of what this country could be, or how it all ends.