The United States was deep into the Great Depression. People were out of work, standing in bread lines and wondering how they would provide food for their families. The comfortable middle-class lifestyles were gone. The year was 1935, Sinclair Lewis wrote “It Can’t Happen Here.” The economic and political climate in America was ripe for the development of a communist or fascist state. Lewis writes:
A new President is to be elected and people are turning to Bezelius Windrip a Senator and promoter of Fascist ideals to cure the countries problems; he promises if elected to give every person $5,000 Doremus Jessup, Owner and Editor of the Daily Informer is a conservative who argues, curing the evils of democracy by the evils of Fascism. Funny theapeutics.” And his friends say, “It can’t happen here.”
Windrip is ultimately elected President in spite of the cries of Windrip and his League of Forgotten Men. Upon his election he proclaims, “I shall not be content till this country can produce every single thing we need…’ He creates his militia, the “Minute Men,” appointing friends and loyal supporters positions in his MM to enforce his rule.
The MM take over long-standing schools and universities and turn them into concentration camps for those who oppose the new President. The Daily Informer is taken over and only allowed to print only Windrip news and propoganda.
Jessup’s compliance last only until his son-in-law is shot by the MM, then he resists by joining the New Underground. Eventually his activities are discovered and he is brutally beaten and jailed.
He escapes to Canada and takes up the cause again.
This is not a feel-good book and not typical of things I read. I am not a history buff. I learned more history while reading this book than I can remember learning. I chose it because I am concerned and worried about President Trump, Congress and the direction our country is going and it sounded like something I should read. It wasn’t easy, I admit, it was a struggle and I thought about quitting many times. I am glad I didn’t.
If you think It Can’t Happen Here, I wonder if it already is. Americas standing in the world has been seriously damaged. Some world leaders compared Trump to Mussolini. Trump haslittle knowledge of or regard for the Constitution. He expects loyalty to him over all else. He denegrates every news organization except one (called Trump TV). He supports other authoritarian regimes and wishes he could control one.
Trumps base are like Doreimus’s friends, blind to the empty promises and tbe consequences of his actions and still expecting their $5,000 check.
If it happens here will you resist? Or do you feel it can’t happen here?