Letter to the Editor: How dictatorships evolve

From the U.S. Constitution: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. (First amendment)

We the people have recently witnessed our fellow citizens being tear gassed and forcibly removed while exercising their constitutional rights to protest peaceably. It was done so that Trump could stage a photo op in front of a church that he has never entered, holding a book he appears to know little about. Dictatorships are born out of instances such as these; the trampling of constitutional rights.

Yet no one man can turn a democracy into a dictatorship. It also requires enablers in the form of opportunistic politicians. It also requires the unswerving support and worship of millions of loyal followers. We have seen this happen in Germany under Hitler. We have seen this happen in Spain under Franco. We have seen this happen in Venezuela under Chavez. In each of these cases, enablers and followers willingly abandoned democracy to follow a would be dictator. We can now see it happening here in the United States.

On the positive side, democracy in the United States is robust. There are already a few honorable, prominent Republicans, especially those who have seen the dysfunction of the White House first hand, who are prepared to speak out and put country before party. There are surely many ordinary Republicans who feel the same way. Together there is still time to save our country from the morass of lies, vindictiveness, divisiveness, and authoritarianism into which it is sinking.
John Rogan, Tillamook, OR