Opinion: This is how coup d'états begin - Generocity Philly


Nov. 10, 2020 4:13 pm

Opinion: This is how coup d’états begin

"Democracies don’t die because of a lack of checks and balances. They die because the people in charge of those checks and balances act in cahoots with the want-to-be-dictator," says Ben Goebel in his opinion piece.

(Caricatures by DonkeyHotey on Flickr - https://www.flickr.com/photos/donkeyhotey/ - CC BY-SA 2.0)

This opinion piece was written and submitted for publication consideration by Ben Goebel, an active Generocity reader. We welcome the perspectives of our readers for publication consideration as opinion pieces.
Updated Nov. 10 at 4:25 p.m. to add a paragraph erroneously omitted when the opinion piece was uploaded.
English speakers use the French expression “coup d’état” because of Napoleon. But we might need an English equivalent soon.

Coup d’états existed before the French language came to be and they will exist long after. They happen all over the world, in countries that we usually dismiss. But now in America we have an example of how they might begin.

I do not want to imply that a coup has already happened. But I believe coups do have a starting point. The conservative entrepreneur Peter Thiel famously said that the Left takes Trump literally but not seriously, while Trump’s supporters take him seriously not literally. As we have seen in the past few days, supporters and politicians are taking him literally and seriously — and we need to be vigilant.

I’m sorry, but I didn’t come to this country to have it stolen by a stupid, inconsiderate self-serving human being and his enablers. I always wanted to be here and I have so much respect for what this country represents, its ideals and how it came to be.

While my country was beheading everyone who the mob judged as no longer righteous, the American fight for freedom and the institutions which came out of it were such an inspiration. General Washington and first President of the United States left power peacefully while General Napoleon forcefully took it.

This country is definitely not perfect, but it has a je ne sais quoi (!) that always attracted me and I want to participate in making it a more perfect union.

Thursday night, while the President-defect was claiming victory at a super-spreader event, I had to hold back tears.

My wife and I were walking in Old City while he was destroying every aspect that I respect about this place. How can the country that I dreamed to live in let this happen?

Today, I still have a feeling of uneasiness in me because I am afraid of what’s to come. How can it be that not everyone is denouncing the horrible anti-democratic rhetoric of the President? If it were any other country, worldwide leaders would call for a peaceful transition instead of expecting it to happen.

I mean it’s not just Trump’s words. Lindsay Graham said to ignore mail in ballots. Lawyers in PA are trying to discount the popular vote. Senate candidates in Georgia claim fraud and want the head of their Secretary of State (who is also a Republican). Trump supporters plan to kidnap governors. Vote counters and Philadelphia commissioners receive death threats. The DOJ wants to take over the fraud investigations. The Secretary of State of the US Government just said in “there will be a smooth transition to a second Trump administration.”

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Democracies don’t die because of a lack of checks and balances. They die because the people in charge of those checks and balances act in cahoots with the want-to-be-dictator.

Napoleon didn’t take power without the support of some citizens and politicians.

I am astonished by the number of enablers who clearly do not understand what they are risking just for personal gains. Alexander Hamilton was mostly overlooked in history (likely because he was an immigrant) until a certain musical brought him to life. He could have defended his own ideals by approving Aaron Burr’s access to the presidency. But he preferred a man with principles that were not his own (Jefferson) rather than someone without any principles at all (Burr).

Is it that hard for the defenders of the President to choose integrity over greed? How come the ones who claim to defend the spirit of the Founders are the ones disrespecting their legacies?

I still have hope that this country’s institutions will survive and that the law of the land will prevail. I have to think that, otherwise all the reasons for why I came here fall apart.

Right before the election, I commented on an article about Americans who want to leave this country. I said that Americans have the illusion that things are much better in other countries when they aren’t. But I was wrong, right now it is worse here. The United States has lost the international aura of freedom.

The United States might not be that united, if this coup succeeds.

Should we start pledging “our life, our fortunes and our sacred honor” to ensure democracy does not disappear? Let’s work together to make sure that the French don’t start using an English expression to mean coup d’état.


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