This is an optional post for all of you who wish to participate, which is why it's posted in a new forum for all classes. Anyone who wishes to respond is encouraged to do so.
We are living through an extremely historic and potentially perilous moment in our democracy. We could spend virtually every moment in Facing History talking about the times we are living in and never address history. That would be unfortunate and, yet, we seem to need to reckon with our current climate in the United States.
Timothy Snyder, who teaches history at Yale, is one of the foremost historians of interwar Germany, Nazi Germany, and the modern history of Eastern Europe in general. His books--Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning (2015) and Bloodlands: Europe between Hitler and Stalin (2010)--are key books on this history. His more recent book, On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century (2018), is one we will dive into this winter.
I'm not a big Twitter person but, of late, I find myself on Twitter quite a bit. And I follow what Tim Snyder has to say. He produced a stream of tweets that I think are noteworthy.
November 10, 2020
1/20. Democracy is precious and exceptional.
2/20. Democracy is undone from within rather than from without.
3/20. The occasion to undo democracy is often an election.
4/20. The mechanism to undo democracy is usually a fake emergency, a claim that internal enemies have done something outrageous.
5/20. A tyrant cares about his person, not the Republic.
6/20. A tyrant fears prosecution and poverty after leaving office.
7/20. Donald Trump faces criminal investigations and owes a billion dollars to creditors.
8/20. Donald Trump has said all along that he would ignore the vote count.
9/20. What Donald Trump is attempting to do has a name: coup d'état. Poorly organized though it might seem, it is not bound to fail. It must be made to fail.
10/20. Coups are defeated quickly or not at all. While they take place we are meant to look away, as many of us are doing. When they are complete we are powerless.
11/20. American exceptionalism prevents us from seeing basic truths.
12/20. Biden voters are wrong to see a Biden administration as inevitable. Take responsibility, Democrats.
13/20. In an authoritarian situation, the election is only round one. You don't win by winning round one.
14/20. Peaceful demonstrations after elections are necessary for transitions away from authoritarianism, as in Poland in 1989, Serbia in 1999, or Belarus right now.
15/20. It is up to civil society, organized citizens, to defend the vote and to peacefully defend democracy.
16/20. Dance after the wedding, not before. Take responsibility, Americans.
17/20. Republicans endorsing the claim of fraud endanger the Republic.
18/20. Calling an opponent's victory fraudulent risks assassination, as in Poland in 1922.
19/20. Creating a myth of a "stab in the back" by internal enemies, as Republicans are helping Trump to do, justifies violence against other citizens, as in interwar Germany.
20/20. Persuading your voters that the other side cheated starts a downward spiral. Your voters will expect you to cheat next time. Take responsibility, Republicans.
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This was, for me, extremely thought-provoking. I'm curious to know what you think about it. I welcome your responses!