Back in 1989, with the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union, it appeared that democracy was sweeping the world. But a great trend can be like a grand ocean wave rushing up a long, shallow pitched beach. By the time it has reached its apex, it is razor thin with its mass already pouring back into the sea. You think a trend is unstoppable, but then it’s gone.

It is very likely that in looking back from a few years hence, it will be clear that, indeed, the collapse of the Soviet Union was not the beginning of a worldwide democratic trend but rather the start of its demise. A rickety form of democracy lasted but a few years in Russian before a totalitarian state reemerged under Vladimir Putin.

Speed is not kind to democracy. It is a slow and cumbersome form of governance, and in this current warp speed world of change there is a global political friction tearing it apart even in its greatest North American and European bastions.

With the bizarre election of Donald John Trump as president of the United States of American, it almost certainly means that the final nail has been driven into the coffin of democracy.

One might say that the Nazification of the world has now begun in earnest. Like a wave rushing back into the sea, Trump and his totalitarian followers will complete the American portion of this process at breakneck speed, much as with the suddenness that Hitler took over Germany lock stock and barrel once his foot was in the door. Within weeks and months Trump will control all the levers of political, security, military and economic power nearly complete from top to bottom.

It has been said that the corporation has the soul of the inquisition. And so corporations will waste little time falling in line with the Trump agenda, no less wholeheartedly than did the German industrialist with Adolph. And since corporations own the nation’s major newspapers and other media outlets, independent thought should be speedily bent to the will of the leader.

You have to hand it to the Donald, he thinks really big. By already sticking his finger in China’s eye and kissing up to Putin, it is not hard to imagine that Trump is looking to cut a deal with Putin whereby he will be willing to divide up the world among their two countries. Already it appears that Trump is offering Russia its old satellite parts back — the Baltic states, Ukraine, etc. But of course remember what happened when Germany and Russia agreed to carve up Poland going into WWII.

Yet, at least for a while, many Americans will likely see our new fearless leader as a force for good. After all Hitler put people to work building the autobahn and other things that greatly improved the German economy. So if you are not among the disappeared, keep your mouth shut and do as told, life may not be all that bad — until it all goes bad.

Oh, happy days!

Jim Ridgway, Jr. military writer — author of the American Civil War classic, “Apprentice Killers: The War of Lincoln and Davis.” Christmas gift, yes!

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