It Could Happen Here

By Guest Columnist MARK PENDERGRAST, an Atlanta native and author of “For God, Country and Coca-Cola,” and other books

I am afraid of Donald Trump.

And I am appalled that a sizable number of the American voting public – at the moment over 40 percent, despite the latest revelations of his grotesque remarks about women 11 years ago – thinks he would be a good selection as the next president of the United States.

Mark Pendergrast

Mark Pendergrast

And I am terrified that he might actually win, despite the manifestly obvious fact that he is a bully, a sexist, a narcissist, a racist, a xenophobe, and that he has very little in the way of brains or plans, other than to build walls, expel illegal “aliens,” and lock people up. Just listen to him speak. He doesn’t make logical points. He just rants and repeats phrases. His self-satisfied mug and his broad gestures remind me in an uncanny way of Adolf Hitler, or perhaps more Benito Mussolini – il Donalde.

When I was a teenager growing up in Atlanta, I read It Can’t Happen Here, a 1935 novel by Sinclair Lewis, who is best known as the author of Babbitt and Main Street. The protagonist of the novel is Doremus Jessup, a small-town newspaper editor who stands up to the newly elected presidency of Berzilius “Buzz” Windrip, a populist demagogue. The title of the book is ironic, since its message is that the United States could become a totalitarian state with relative ease. I just re-read the book, and although it is dated in many ways, it is also startlingly relevant, with strong echoes of Trump’s run for president and what may well follow in its wake if he is elected.

At the time Lewis wrote the book, he was disturbed by Hitler’s rise to power in Germany, and by the fact that many Americans shared Hitler’s anti-semitic, anti-immigrant, eugenic views. (Actually, Hitler probably learned about the “science” of eugenics from fine, upstanding Americans).

Jessup clearly speaks for the author when he says, early in the book,

  • “God knows there’s been enough indication that we can have tyranny in America – the fix of the Southern share-croppers, the working conditions of the miners and garment-makers, and our keeping [Tom] Mooney in prison so many years. But wait till Windrip shows us how to say it with machine guns! … Not happen here? Prohibition – shooting down people just because they might be transporting liquor – no, that couldn’t happen in America! Why, where in all history has there ever been a people so ripe for a dictatorship, as ours!” (p. 20-22)
Donald Trump

Donald Trump maintains that big media is collaborating to derail his campaign. Credit: donaldjtrump.com

Dated? What about our prisons filled with non-violent “criminals” because of our equally misguided “war on drugs”? What about all the innocent people who have spent (and continue to spend) years in those same prisons? What about the mass incarceration of black men, as Michelle Alexander observed in The New Jim Crow? (One in three black men will go to prison some time during their lives.) What about the working conditions in our chicken factories, where immigrants work in extreme cold killing and processing poultry? I could go on.

Here is Lewis’s description of candidate Buzz Windrip:

  • “Windrip was vulgar, almost illiterate, a public liar easily detected, and in his ‘ideas’ almost idiotic, while his celebrated piety was that of a traveling salesman for church furniture, and his yet more celebrated humor the sly cynicism of a country store. Certainly there was nothing exhilarating in the actual words of his speeches, nor anything convincing in his philosophy. His political platforms were only wings of a windmill….” (p. 86)

Sound familiar, Donald?

There are some differences between Trump and Windrip, though. At least Windrip gave lip service to a populist message, a la Huey Long. He promised to give every American $5,000 if elected, for instance, and said that he would fight for the little man. None of that turned out to be true, but still.

Windrip did give fair warning that he intended to change the laws and the rules, however, in his ghost-written book:

  • “I want to stand up on my hind legs and not just admit but frankly holler right out that we’ve got to change our system a lot, maybe even change the whole Constitution from the horseback-and-corduroy-road epoch to the automobile-and-cement-highway period of today. The Executive has got to have a freer hand and be able to move quick in an emergency, and not be tied down by a lot of dumb shyster-lawyer congressmen taking months to shoot off their mouths in debates. BUT… these new economic changes are only a means to an End, and that End is and must be, fundamentally, the same principles of Liberty, Equality, and Justice that were advocated by the Founding Fathers of this great land back in 1776!” (p. 38-39)
Sinclair Lewis

Sinclair Lewis. Credit: historybyzim.com

Once he won the election, Windrip installed his “Minute Men” as a private army and semi-SS force. People who objected were beaten, killed, or imprisoned in concentration camps. Windrip, who came to be known affectionately by his followers as “the Chief,” explained that this was all necessary but temporary:

  • “President Windrip’s first extended proclamation to the country was a pretty piece of literature and of tenderness. He explained that powerful and secret enemies of American principles – one rather gathered that they were a combination of Wall Street and Soviet Russia – upon discovering that he, Berzelius, was going to be President, had planned their last charge. Everything would be tranquil in a few months, but meantime there was a Crisis, during which the country must ‘bear with him.’ He recalled the military dictatorship of Lincoln and Stanton during the Civil War, when civilian suspects were arrested without warrant. He hinted how delightful everything was going to be – right away now – just a moment – just a moment’s patience – when he had things in hand.” (p. 168)
  • “For the first time in America, except during the Civil War and the World War,” wrote Lewis, “people were afraid to say whatever came to their tongues. On the streets, on trains, at theaters, men looked about to see who might be listening before they dared so much as to say there was a drought in the West, for someone might suppose they were blaming the drought on the Chief!” (p. 263)

Windrip tried to create a fake war with Mexico in order to unite the country behind him:

  • “To answer this threat, America, the one country that had never lost a war and never started an unjust one, rose as one man, as the Chicago Daily Evening Corporate put it. It was planned to invade Mexico as soon as it should be cool enough, or even earlier, if the refrigeration and air-conditioning could be arranged. In one month, five million men were drafted for the invasion and started training.” (p. 445-446)
Trump, Clinton, debate

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton skipped the tradition handshake before they met for their final debate. Credit: pbs.org

Most citizens went along with Windrip, who controlled the media so that there was no vocal opposition or factual counterpoint.

  • “Most Americans had learned in school that God had supplanted the Jews as chosen people by the Americans, and this time done the job much better, so that we were the richest, kindest, and cleverest nation living; that depressions were but passing headaches and that labor unions must not concern themselves with anything except higher wages and shorter hours and, above all, must not set up an ugly class struggle by combining politically.” (p. 449)

Only radicals such as auto mechanic Karl Pascal complained to sympathetic people like Doremus Jessup:

  • “What burns me up – it isn’t that old soap-boxer’s chestnut about how one tenth of 1 per cent of the population at the top have an aggregate income equal to 42 per cent at the bottom…. But what burns me up is the fact that even before this Depression, in what you folks called prosperous times, 7 percent of all the families in the country earned $500 a year or less – remember, those weren’t the unemployed, on relief; those were the guys that had the honor of still doing honest labor. Five hundred dollars a year is ten dollars a week – and that means one dirty little room for a family of four people! It means $5.00 a week for all their food – eighteen cents per day per person for food! – and even the lousiest prisons allow more than that. And the magnificent remainder of $2.50 a week, that means nine cents per day per person for clothes, insurance, carfares, doctors’ bills, dentists’ bills, and for God’s sake, amusements – amusements! – and all the rest of the nine cents a day they can fritter away on their Fords and autogiros and, when they feel fagged, skipping across the pond on the Normandie! Seven percent of all the fortunate American families where the old man has got a job! (p. 130-131)

Bernie Sanders would understand.

And there is much more. I urge you to find a copy of It Can’t Happen Here. More than that, I urge you to vote your conscience and to try to change our country for the better. There is so much that needs to be done.

Note to readers: Mark Pendergrast now lives in Colchester, Vt. and can be reached through his website, www.markpendergrast.com.

44 replies
  1. Burroughston Broch says:

    I am appalled that anyone would vote for a traitor, criminal, and enabler of serial sexual abuser Bill Clinton. I am no Trump fan, but with him as President we stand a chance. With Hillary Clinton as President we would have four more years similar to, but more disastrous, than the last eight.Report

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  2. Eric Soles says:

    No . Trump doesn’t have the numbers to win
    Trump needs 40% of the African Americans votes only have 1%
    Trump needs 35% of the Hispanic/Latinos votes only have 11%
    Trump doesn’t have enough women votes
    Trump doesn’t have enough white votes
    Trump doesn’t have enough conservatives votes
    The numbers are not thereReport

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  3. Michael Morris says:

    Everyone of us, including every president we have had (okay, maybe not Truman) had said and done things that are wrong, not appropriate and even appalling.  Many of our presidents have been much worse than Trump appears to be.  Let’s talk issues.  Who is better suited to be a leader amongst leaders in this world – who has led effectively (or might I suggest, ineffectively)?  Whose ideas will spur the economy and create jobs?  I know this, creating opportunities for more kids to obtain higher education in no way gives people jobs – college educated kids are seeking jobs in record numbers.  Giving skills to people to seek jobs also does not create jobs.  Both of these tactics are used once jobs are created.  Other than Trump’s idea of trickle down (and this is not the only possible solution), what is Clinton’s plans to create jobs (not better educated, better skilled folks who are unemployed).Report

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  4. Michael Morris says:

    I am voting for Trump. She fails on the issues. Not sure who fails the personality test, that s a closer race. But like I said, we all have crass comments in our past, even most other presidents, so I am not holding that against him.Report

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  5. bcngator63 says:

    I am appalled that despite her lies about Benghazi, her lies about the e-mails, her hypocrisy in claiming that all children deserve the right to succeed while supporting abortion, and her degrading of women by supporting and condoning her philandering husband, people would vote for her.Report

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  6. bullsullivan says:

    As a freshman at Marist, the old downtown “Ivy Street” Marist, I became quite familiar with the works of that intensely brilliant if at times moderately simplistic apologist for the then prevailing Utopian Fabianism of the American Academy, Sinclair Lewis. Mr. Pendergrast’s choice of one of Mr. Lewis’ least accomplished works of fiction, It Can’t Happen Here, written well past his Nobel Laureate prime, reflects far more discredit of Mr. Pendergrast’s progressive EuroAmerican mien than on his petulant querulous and frankly fearful comparison of Sinclair’s anathemic villain, Buzz Windrip,  to the Republican Party’s current Nominee for President, Mr. Trump’s brash bloviating billionaire bullying is no more than should be expected from a nouveau riche Yankee, a tin pan drummer, the very personification of Willy Loman as the man, the tycoon, he should have become.
    Mr Trump is in no way malevolent, and certainly is no threat to our democracy; he is just a man, as men often imagine themselves a man, be they beer truck drivers, linemen for the county, clerks in big box retail stores, customs agents, or even dowdy old Southern expats living amongst the guilt ridden well to do intelligentsia and back-woods nativists and pioneer wannabes rushing their all wheel drive Audi’s and Subaru’s along rutted roads, seeking fresh goat cheese and an over-hyped Sam Adams Porter, or whatever they call a PBR up there. Trump just wants, like the rest of them, to be loved, wanted, needed. He is an entertainer, an amalgam of every low rent, vulgar male seen on TV, Cable, Video since Archie Bunker sprang forth in Prime Time, since fathers were made to look foolish, and every dutiful man was ennobled a hero, and authentic heroes stepped back from the lime light, and stood with their children in Church on Sundays.
    So, Mr. Pendergrast, grab your “wee wee” and squeeze hard, you and all the demi-men of present days are safe. Go back to your commune, or community, or village, Of course, if the polls are incorrect, and Mr. Trump does become president, you may need to double your Viagra; women will expect more of men if we once again are led by one, even if he is a Yankee. From Atlanta? If you say so, but Southern, I think not. You live right where you belong.
    And one other thing, as a child, I loved the novels of Sinclair Lewis, just as I loved Steinbeck, Dreiser, Upton Sinclair, and the films of Sturges and Capra, many of which I first saw on WSB-TV’s Armchair Playhouse. However I never believed then, nor do I now, that common men and women needed rescue from their lives, especially by boozy pseudo intellectual profligates spouting the same neo-Marxist dribble then as the Frankfurt ISR, Chicago and Alinsky and now Obama and Clinton. And if, peradventure, I offend you, well, just think of me when you re-read Babbitt; I am compelled to be exactly the way I am.
    What I’d really like to know is what Atlanta high school you attended? Surely Grady, Murphy, Brown?Report

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  7. John Pendergrast says:

    The attractions of fascism are pretty obvious. People who feel disempowered, hurt economically, disrespected or otherwise hard done by seek a champion to make it all better for them and more important, all worse for everyone who can conceivably be accused of contributing to their plight. Thought, responsibility and even work yield to simple revenge. It can happen anywhere, and especially where there is real social injustice. So yes, out certainly can happen here. Just because Trump is a buffoon does not mean that he is not deeply dangerous. Be afraid, be very afraid.Report

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  8. Jim Durrett says:

    I generally keep my political views to myself in a forum as public as this, but I post with my real name, unlike those of you who throw stones and hide, and have to say that I am astonished that anybody with an ability to think critically (those who read Saporta Report, I would hope) would think that electing Donald Trump would be better for this country, and for the world, than electing Hillary Clinton.  Everybody has flaws, but to suggest that Hillary’s approach Donald’s in number or magnitude is ludicrous, that Donald is equally prepared as Hillary for the job is preposterous, and this is a binary election: it is one or t’other.  The complaints about Hillary come from what others have said about her.  The complaints about Donald come from what he has said about himself, and from the way he comports and has comported himself.  And now, when my children and, hopefully one day, grandchildren ask me what I did when this ugly piece of American history is studied, I can say I voted for Hillary and let my choice be known, and not just to my FB friends.Report

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  9. Atlgal says:

    Mark, I think your ability to articulate my own fears is amazing (if not over the head of a few of the responders here). When and where it became acceptable for such obscene and disrespectful discourse scares me because I think it brings out the worst in some people.  Its OK to be angry and scared but its not Ok to turn that anger into a loathsome, base tirade intended to embarrass, degrade, denigrate and disrespect people who otherwise would like to have a civil discourse about the type of country and leaders we want.  I’m not anti-Republican – I’m anti-Trump.  He has spent his entire campaign pandering to the base fears and anxieties of people in this country without offering even one shred of humanity, kindness, tolerance or self-awareness that I want in my political leaders. Worse, he hasn’t done all this because he actually believes the vile that he spews out.  He does it because it gets him attention – the way a three year old throws a temper tantrum; red faced, arms flailing and feet stomping tirade meant to be divisive and hurtful to good people. He has broken the two-party system of this country that has served us for over 200 years.  He has divided neighbors and families and cultures.  He has stoked an environment that encourages violence, lies, hostility and deceit from otherwise decent people.  Good people need to stop this, because it CAN’T happen here.

    Mark – I think you are dead on and I love your analogy.  Lewis Sinclair would be having a field day with this election.Report

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  10. GeorgiaPeach says:

    Thanks to Mark for taking time to write a thoughtful statement–I have to say that I have had similar feelings. Hearing Trump say during one debate that he would send Hillary to prison if elected sent shivers down my spine. And sorry but I could only laugh at the notion that failing to leave one’s husband was “anti-woman” but bragging about sexual harassment is not.  Not funny at all of course.  There are many of us who do not “support abortion” but we do believe that women should make their own decisions–NOT the government.  I can remember when girls disappeared from my college dorm–and did not come back. And it was certainly not their male partners who faced the same consequences.Report

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  11. PWilson says:

    Thanks Mark for your detailed comments. I totally agree with everything you’ve said.   The only thing that was missing was Trump is narcissistic.  Those who commented and trashed Hillary are the ones I’m sure I can sell some ocean-front property in Atlanta with no problem.  Also, some people think it’s ok to degrade women, disabilities and immigrants…etc.  It’s sad and I pray for those who believe in Trump.  They are a product of being a systemic racist (they just don’t know it and will deny it).   Thanks for your insight.   Also, I know you are from Atlanta!Report

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  12. Stephanie Stuckey says:

    Mark’s commentary is spot-on.  A cautionary tale that we’d be well advised to heed.  Trump’s behavior and opinions show he lacks the temperament and depth of understanding to lead this country.  Thanks, Mark, for sharing your viewsReport

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  13. Burroughston Broch says:

    Considering recent, documented revelations about collusion between the Clinton campaign, Clinton Foundation, Clinton Global Initiative, White House, DOJ, FBI, State Department, etc., calling Trump fascist reeks of hypocrisy.
    How ignorant do you suppose us to be?Report

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  14. Burroughston Broch says:

    Congratulations, Maria. You seem to have rallied every local Democrat capable of writing a simple sentence to your cause. Perhaps this is crowd journalism.
    I suggest you prepare a Plan B for your use when the Clintons do not assume control of the Presidency next January.Report

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  15. Ranger Don says:

    Well you can fool some of the people all of the time (Barnum), but I have faith in the American people that Trump will be discarded as the fool he is.  He is an embarrassment to our political process; some confuse reality TV with reality, most do not.  To avoid such missteps we as responsible citizens need to study issues and understand facts, not tweets.Report

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  16. A Certain Slant of Light says:

    Thanks for not being afraid to speak up, Mark! “Conscience is the most sacred of all property,”said President James Madison. Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan (an echo of Nixon’s
    “Make America First Again” slogan in 1968) and the blatant
    Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, misogyny, and xenophobia–shall I go on?–and  the terror he spews and stirs up is https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2015/12/21/how-donald-trump-is-breathing-life-into-americas-dying-white-supremacist-movement/ and is dangerous and outright unAmerican and a threat to the very social pact and protection of rights upon which the Constitution is based. We
    should beware of him and anyone as divisive and hostile as him that would have us constantly afraid and in a
    perpetual dark night—and that has the narcissistic gall to tell us he alone controls the
    light. He is an embarrassment to humanity and is largely to blame for the rise of a new wave of hatemongers within the alt-right movement.Report

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  17. Atlgal says:

    Burroughston Broch yep. Because none of that has been proven. Lies, no matter how many times repeated, don’t mean it actually happened.  The 30 yr smear campaign against this good, smart, hardworking, Christian woman is ridiculous. EVERY investigation – independent or otherwise – exonerated her.   I’d never support someone as disgusting and vile as Trump – just listen to his own words. He is truly disturbed.Report

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  18. Burroughston Broch says:

    What’s your standard of proof? Clinton’s written admission?
    Bury your head in the mud if you wish – you are doing exactly what the politicians want, and are easy pickings. They think you are stupid.
    Remember the Obamacare promises “you can keep your insurnace plan” and “you can keep your doctor?” We know for certain they were lies when they were spoken.Report

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  19. Mark Pendergrast says:

    The comments on my commentary have certainly been polarized, which is an unfortunate indication of the state of our country, it appears.  I am simply amazed that a man like Donald Trump was nominated as a presidential candidate in 2016, and if he is elected, I really do fear that our country may gradually turn fascist.  This is a man who mocks people with disabilities by flailing his arms, who lamented that he had any black accountants (they should all be Jewish), who took out an ad to “BRING BACK THE DEATH PENALTY” for the innocent Central Park Five (“roving bands of wild criminals…should be forced to suffer”), who championed the myth that Obama was not born in the USA, who called Mexican immigrants drug dealers and rapists, whose favorite phrase on his “reality” TV show was “You’re Fired,” whose lawyer and role model was Roy Cohn (who helped Joe McCarthy and went on to a loathsome legal career).  I recommend the book “The Truth About Trump,” by Michael D’Antonio, which covers all of this in even-handed journalistic fashion.  In the 1970s, at New York’s Studio 54 club, Trump enjoyed watching anonymous group sex:  “I would watch supermodels getting screwed, well-known supermodels getting screwed,on a bench in the middle of the room.  There were seven of them and each one was getting screwed by a different guy.” (p. 113).  So none of Trump’s subsequent comments or behavior should come as a big surprise.  “I don’t like to analyze myself,” Trump told D’Antonio, “because I might not like what I see.” (p. 340).  D’Antonio concluded that Trump “is truly a man for our time, the ultimate expression of certain aspects of the American spirit in the twenty-first century.”  I certainly hope that he is wrong.  I would like to think that Trump’s narcissistic obsession for attention (at any cost and in any way) is pathological, not representative of the American spirit.  Several months ago, when Bernie Sanders was still in the race, I wrote and recorded a satirical little ditty, channeling Donald Trump.  I put it to the tune of an old British song, “Sam Hall,” which included a last line, “Goddam your eyes.”  The first verse goes, “My name is Donald Trump, Donald Trump.  My name is Donald Trump, Donald Trump.  Oh, my name is Donald Trump.  I’m a rich man, you’re a chump.  And I’ll wall you in or out your dump, goddam your eyes.”  I posted it on YouTube, where you can find it by searching for Trump-Pendergrast.  It’s probably a good thing I called it a “satirical song,” because I fear that some Trump supporters might otherwise use it as a theme song.Report

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  20. Tom Barksdale says:

    Mr. Pendergrast has written one of the best summaries of the campaign explaining why Trump’s election would pose a clear and present danger to the survival of American democracy. His words, together with the approving comments, have said it all, beyond my poor power to add or detract. Well done!.Report

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  21. mikeleeph12 says:

    It’s just sad that we have so many stupid people down here willing to be brainwashed by the FOX Noise party line to vote for a sick psychopath like Trump.  We have no real journalism down here anymore.  The AJC is a joke and a conservative rag.  Creative Loafing is horrible.  And local TV news and radio is all slanted conservative propaganda.  But why aren’t people out there reading reputable sources like the NY Times and the Washington Post?  Are they too busy getting manipulated by the psychopaths on FOX Noise?  Trump represents a clear and present danger to the entire planet and he should be either in prison or a mental institution.  Whatever you think of Hillary, she is perfectly capable of leading the country and would not destroy it like Trump would.Report

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  22. Burroughston Broch says:

    Mr. Pendergrast, are you preparing an addendum now that the FBI is re-opening their Clinton email investigation based on emails found on an Anthony Weiner/Huma Abedin device?Report

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  23. bullsullivan says:

    SisterofMark  
    Ah, Westminster!
    The Scots Presbytery merged with the Woman’s Seminary.  I guessed so, even before reading Mr.
    Pendergrast’s luminous biography.  How
    gentle sweet and accomplished he must be, and so well defended,  “ Westminster actually,” by his distaff
    sibling, a woman whose steel  is showing,  whose umbrage must be noted.

    Surely Grady, Murphy,
    Brown? I did not wish
    to malign Grady, Murphy or Brown, in my day few at those schools would have
    ever read Sinclair Lewis, fewer still would have trudged through the written blathering’s
    of Windrip, even if they daily read the Daily Worker. Perhaps some at Grady,
    the bastion of youthful Reformed Jewish intellectuals,
    but none from Murphy or Brown High, whose halls were flooded with the progeny
    of mill workers, office clerks, factory workers, railroad men, and those silent
    aspirants who stood behind desks, counters, beneath the streets, beside the
    water works, first and second generations freed from the farm, freed from sustenance
    or sharecropping.   No, I had hoped, having shared a love of the
    prose of Sinclair Lewis with Mr. Pendergrast, we might find some common enmity to
    share, thus my query as to his High School.  I imagined the man would have the starch to
    respond, and if not, perhaps be at least mildly irritated at my questioning of
    his manhood.
    I wrote a rather long, pretentious and boring condemnation of both your brother’s
    visceral apoplexy and intellectual buffoonery; for who but a buffoon would fear
    a tyrant arising in a tyrannical state? I wanted to mock his heritage, the
    fearful noblesse oblige rantings, and the smug self-righteous assurance that
    the hoi polloi (surely he studied Greek or Latin) could not be trusted to
    choose their own champion, even if he seemed so completely flawed and foreign
    to all your brother’s beliefs. Even, I might add, to many of mine.  
    So he is Britt and Nan’s son, and you are their daughter.  May I share a story about them with you?  Many years ago, I had occasion to frequent
    Quaker House, located I think on Fairview, one of the delightful meandering arboreal
    passages into and through Druid Hills, Mr. Olmstead’s and Mr. Hurt’s early vision
    of a Planned Urban Development. At that time Quaker House was a haven for many
    young people disturbed by the vulgar vicissitudes and happenstance of Union
    involvement in Southeast Asia. (Union refers to the USA). Mr. Pendergrast could
    often be found on the premises, especially on certain evenings, I don’t recall
    which, and the House served as a dissemination point for information on Conscientious
    Objection for draft eligible young men. My purpose there was to record the
    names of those who sought information and those who provided it. Moreover, The Quaker
    House provided information and employment referrals to those who wished to
    avoid military service and perform two years of alternative service in lieu of
    enlistment. Gosh, there were so many, and I recall now the names of quite a few
    of those young men, most from Georgia, many from neighboring Southern States. I
    shall never name them, not one of them, but many came from rather distinguished
    families, most were middle class Caucasians, most were academically undistinguished.  I even met several who truly did object to
    War and its necessary killing, others objected more to their own dying, some
    with political cause, some with ethical concerns, and others were just cowards,
    an often pejorative term which simply implies a rational fear of and compulsive
    desire to avoid death.  
    Mr. Pendergrast, your father, was an honest, moral man of great integrity, and
    easily duped by posers and cowards. I once, in the face of a studied and well
    executed deception, and many were so planned by Anti-War agitators and radical
    peaceniks, sought to inform him of his misuse, but was denied that opportunity
    by others, to my discredit. I cannot tell you the number of times, at the Mug,
    at the Stein, at Manuels, at the Clermont, just up the road from the Induction Center,
    I listened to young men mock the process and boast of “beating the system.”   As I
    always said, show me a seminarian, and I’ll show you a CO. The question is, do
    you object to killing, or dying?

    “Millions of us waited, sought out student deferments, our
    ministerial status,  suddenly married with a family, and still later
    played and won the draft lottery, or claimed a conscientious objection to all
    killing; for many, to be a pot smoking pacifist seemed a better choice than to
    be zipped into a black plastic body bag.” http://www.bullsullivan.com/2013/05/27/cowardice/ 
                                                         
    I digress, but Quaker House
    was a very nice place, and so were the Quakers… I should add, then as now, I
    object both to killing and dying.
    Harvard. Your brother went to Harvard. I was accepted there, but they were really supercilious.
    Now I could deal with insouciance, but not with feigned gentility and overt cruelty.
    They were not gentle people, they were propagandists and cloyingly criminal
    apologists for euroamerican crudity; they were, in a word, fascists. And so they
    remain.  Such fear and vitriol as
    Sinclair Lewis wrote can only exist in a world dominated and machinated now, as
    then, by  a select wealthy elite manipulating an illiterate proletariat, conformable and conditioned to material
    gratification; as it were, a society of consumers..
    And, all the people said amen.  By the
    by, our gardener, married to our maid, Carolyn, worked for Southern Cross, and
    had high praise for all them good white folks there. However, it was my parents
    who bought them a house, paid for it and never spoke again of it, and it was
    all of us crying in the rain when Carolyn Manning passed. God Bless her.
    I feel the same way when I read about a Southern boy going off to Harvard, and
    then staying up North.  Crying in the
    rain! Why, I cry every morning listening to Joe Scarborough, of Morning Joe fame, suck up to them Yankees,
    and even talk about his Soccer Team! Good Lord!  Selah!Report

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  24. Atlgal says:

    I hope he is not preparing any addendum. This piece us about Trump. It stands on its own as an analogy and is not changed or impacted by media hype about what will probably be standard communication between campaign staff.Report

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  25. Burroughston Broch says:

    A standard communication between campaign staff? The FBI is capable of distinguishing between that and State Department business. And Clinton’s campaign would have said so.
    You are a shameless apologist. ROFLReport

    Reply
  26. FordMortgage says:

    We are a private equity firm as well as financial advisor for cross border deals. We mainly focus on client in america but also europe. We have been a member of the business community in the Research Triangle area of North Carolina for over 30years. I have a degree in Business Management and Economics from North Carolina State University.

    Ford Mortgage Services Co. Intl. is one of the leading independent private mortgage servicer and manage a wide variety of security and legitimate loans such as students loans, real estate loans, business loans, personal loans, debt consolidation loans etc on behalf of lenders and investors at an affordable annual interest rate of 3% with no prepayment penalty.

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    Email: [email protected]Report

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  27. GlennaKerker says:

    The fictional demagogue created by Sinclair Lewis does indeed look a lot like Trump! What is going on in the minds of people that they could consider such a drastic and dangerous leader?  For me this is a measure of a feeling of futility and a feeling of not being represented by those people who are supposed to be working for them in Washington.  Many Trump supporters feel different.  Most are rural people.  They think of themselves as independent folks who don’t take handouts.  They fail to realize that rural America was essentially saved by some of the most ambitious programs of Roosevelt’s New Deal; The Department of Agriculture and its vast educational and soil saving programs, the 4H, crop subsidies, etc.  If not for these programs we may now have a vast desert where the great plains are.  This is the power of collective action “by the people, for the people”…and if you want to call this socialism go ahead.  I call it Democracy.  I am also discontented because I think we need Bernie Sanders policies in force.  Clinton is a second best but a necessary choice at this time. Pendergrast’s article is a reminder that choosing a man who hints that he will ignore the rule of law, and overstep his bounds is too close to what the suffering German people did in 1932.  Soon after Hitler’s election they were free to choose no longer. Choosing was no longer an option.  Yes, it could happen here and it almost is.Report

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  28. Burroughston Broch says:

    We now have a President who oversteps his bounds and ignores the rule of law and the Constitution. There is every indication that Hillary Clinton would be even worse.Report

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  29. FordMortgage says:

    Ford Mortgage Services Co. Intl. is one of the leading independent private mortgage servicer and manage a wide variety of security and legitimate loans such as students loans, real estate loans, business loans, personal loans, debt consolidation loans etc on behalf of lenders and investors at an affordable annual interest rate of 3% with no prepayment penalty.

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    Email: [email protected]Report

    Reply
  30. Mark Pendergrast says:

    OK, I’ll rise to “Burroughston Broch’s” bait and comment on Hillary Clinton, having had my say on the repellent Donald Trump.  In many ways, I admire Clinton for her support of children’s and women’s issues, her (botched) attempt to help reform health care to provide universal coverage, and other issues.  I am more of a Bernie Sanders liberal, so there are many of Clinton’s compromise, moderate stands I am not too keen on.  And I admit that I am conflicted about U. S. foreign policy.  I am concerned that we routinely send soldiers around the world, as in Iraq, to “make the world safe” for our oil or for other reasons.  On the other hand, what would have happened if we had sat out World War II?  And look at what is happening now in Syria.  I do think we have a moral imperative to prevent genocide.

    But back to Hillary Clinton.  The vilification and chants of “lock her up” are beyond comprehension.  She is a moderate liberal who has served our country, in one way or another, for decades.  In my Coca-Cola history, I included her in a short footnote (“For God, Country and Coca-Cola,” 3rd ed, p. 278) about a July 1970 Congressional hearing in which Joseph Califano, then a lawyer for Coca-Cola, accompanied Coke CEO Paul Austin to face questions about the deplorable conditions for Minute Maid workers in Florida. I wrote:  “A young, dark-haired woman with glasses came up to him [Califano] and said ‘You sh-t, you’ve sold out.’ It was Hillary Clinton.”  

    Many would argue that Clinton herself went on to sell out in various ways (there’s an illustration in my Coke book showing her and Bill Clinton chugging Cokes dutifully at a Moscow bottling plant), and once she becomes president (which I pray that she does, as opposed to the unthinkable alternative), I will undoubtedly disagree with her policies in many ways.  But the hysteria over her emails is utterly baffling to me.  I have yet to read ONE Clinton email that was surprising or disturbing.  Maybe I’m missing something, and BB can supply such a quote.  Mostly, the emails reveal her to be a canny politician.  Big deal.  OK, she should not have used her personal email for government matters.  But this is not the end of the earth.  Same with the Clinton Foundation uproar.  As far as I know, the Clinton Foundation has done a huge amount of good, akin to the Gates Foundation in many ways, in the areas of climate change, economic development, women’s issues, and global health.  I do share concerns about the influence of foreign donors and transparency, but there seems to be no question that the Foundation has done good work, especially compared to Trump’s joke of a foundation.
    The main point is:  Donald Trump is a proto-fascist who terrifies me.  Hillary Clinton is a moderate liberal politician who compromises on issues.  I hope she is elected, which she apparently will be.  My big fear after that is that the Republicans, especially the Trump variety, will make it impossible for her to get anything meaningful accomplished.Report

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  31. Tom Barksdale says:

    Burroughston Broch Not quite sure of what you are referring to. Some specifics would help. If you’re taking about Executive Orders, the number signed by Obama are about equal to most of his immediate predecessors. But more to the point: Obama had little recourse if government was to work in the face of the Republican Party’s policy of obstruction for obstruction’s sake, as officially announced by Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell in 2010. Republicans, said McConnell, will make no effort to govern or to offer positive proposals of their own. They will simply oppose anything the Democrats offer. In the face of this proactive paralysis, Obama had no choice but to use EOs to keep the United States functioning.Report

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  32. Tom Barksdale says:

    GlennaKerker Well said! An excellent summing up of Trump and the unreasoning hatred of government exhibited by Republicans. Any body who thinks that the Federal Government has not provided the State of Georgia with net benefits is ignorant of history. To your specific programs, I would add Rural Electrification. The New Deal brought electricity to rural Georgia that free enterprise would never have bothered with.
    Trump’s rise to power is a mirror image of Hitler’s. He has solidified the analogy with his fascist-like policies of scapegoating minorities, inciting his followers to violence, and now launching an all-out war on democracy itself with his rigged election nonsense. To many of us, he has crossed the line into outright fascism.Report

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  33. Burroughston Broch says:

    So you will vote for the candidate who compromised national security, committed treason, turned the State Department into a pay-for-play cash machine for her foundation, lied about near everything, and belittled her supporters behind their backs.
    And you hold your head up?
    Priceless.Report

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  34. Mark Pendergrast says:

    bullsullivan SisterofMark I just noticed “BullSullivan’s” long screed here, and I am very glad that he recognized my father, John Brittain Pendergrast, Jr. (known as Britt) as “an honest, moral man of great integrity.”  This may be one of the few things we ever agree on.  My father died less than a month ago at the age of 99.  Maria Saporta wrote a good article on him that appeared on this website.  Perhaps Bull will now find some way to make nasty remarks about that, too.

    For what it’s worth, I too had my issues with Harvard, and for years I avoided telling anyone I went there because people treated me strangely because of it. I would say that I went to college in the Boston area, etc.  

    But like the Quakers (and my mother still attends Meeting every Sunday), I try to be tolerant and be a good listener before making judgments.  That doesn’t seem to be the case with Bull, who makes all sorts of unwarranted assumptions about me.  It’s pretty easy to find out what I think and what I’m like.  I suggest you start with reading my books.  But if you’d like to write to me offline, Bull, with your real name, I’d be glad to be in touch as human to human.  The email from my website, http://www.markpendergrast.com, goes directly to me.Report

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  35. Mark Pendergrast says:

    Well, not only COULD it happen here, it DID happen here.  We are going to have Donald Trump as our president.  I can’t believe it.  All I can do is hope that we survive a man who wants to build walls around our country, who wants to torture prisoners again with water-boarding, who wanted to kill the innocent Central Park Five, who wants to give tax breaks to the wealthiest people in the country, who mocks people with disabilities, who boasts about sexually assaulting women — it is just very difficult for me to believe that we have elected this man.  I am sure that the Burroughston Brochs of this world will now post I-told-you-so messages.  I don’t care.  I am just appalled.  And I hope that the scenario painted by Sinclair Lewis in his 1935 novel does not come to pass, with concentration camps or at least muzzles for such people like me.  Time will tell.  In part, I blame the mass media for this outcome.  They gave Trump an unprecedented amount of air time and precious little to Hillary Clinton.  Fascists make great press.Report

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  36. Burroughston Broch says:

    “They gave Trump an unprecedented amount of air time and precious little to Hillary Clinton.”
    What universe do you live in? The media was flooded with Clinton advertising. Cite statistics to prove your point, if you can.
    Clinton in part was responsible for her failure. The exposure of her decades-long culture of lies, deceit, treason, and corruption was evident to all. And she tried to bluff her way through it by failing to even address the revelations. She is hoist with her own petard.Report

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  37. Tom Barksdale says:

    Burroughston Broch When you make those charges against Hillary, what, specifically, are you talking about? I conclude that you are listening to the right-wing echo chamber, where these allegations have been bouncing around for years, with nobody knowing what even the original nuggets might have been.Report

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  38. GlennaKerker says:

    Burroughston Broch  Yes, we will have to deal with it. We have no choice.  I am counting on the fact that Trump is a great salesman and said all that ugly stuff to convince his audience he shared their values and ideas, knowing there is a lot of bigotry out there in the real USA.  He masqueraded as a reflection of his customers. Or, perhaps he really does hold the ugly attitudes he demonstrated in the campaign but I doubt it. He’s a fraudster on all levels.   Now that we signed the contract it is up to him to deliver on his promises of the wall, tariffs, getting out of NATO..etc.  What are the chances he will deliver the goods?  Who now has the power to insist he follow up and make good these promises, or threats depending on your persuasion?  Nobody.  What he does from here forward is anybody’s guess.  The one fact that is disheartening is not only Trump’s character, it is the fact that so many could vote for him thinking he was sincere in his hate baiting.Report

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  39. Mark Pendergrast says:

    Burroughston Broch I wasn’t talking about advertising, I was talking about the media coverage.  I don’t have statistics, but my strong impression is that they covered virtually everything Trump said, but very little of what Clinton said.  The only thing they reliably covered about Clinton was anything to do with her emails, and as I said, I have yet to see ONE incriminating email that was illegal or particularly surprising.  As Tom Barksdale commented here, you do seem to have swallowed the right-wind koolaid about “lies, deceit, treason and corruption.”

    In terms of the miserable job the media did, see this article in THE NEW REPUBLIC from Nov. 8:  https://newrepublic.com/article/138502/shame-us-american-media.  Here is a paragraph from it:
    “Here, major media outlets failed abysmally. The best illustration of this came just days ago, when a media monitor https://newrepublic.com/article/138438/media-never-raised-bar-donald-trump
    the amount of time nightly news broadcasts devoted to stories about
    Clinton’s emails, and the amount of time they devoted to stories about all policy matters combined, and found that the former exceeded the latter. On
    any given Sunday morning, network news shows host panels of
    journalists, nearly all of whom are fluent in the esoteric details of
    Clinton’s email practices, but many of whom couldn’t tell you how
    Trump’s tax plan works. As a result, if Trump were to win,
    millions of people would expect him to enact a populist agenda, even as
    his own campaign promises to raise taxes on millions of middle-income
    workers, privatize roads, and deregulate Wall Street.”
    Another interesting article from Foreign Affairs for you.  It came out before the election, about the history of “populist” candidates in the USA — of two sorts, the Bernie Sanders and the Donald Trump variety.  It is called “Trump and American Populism:  Old Whine, New Bottles,” by Michael Kazin:

     https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/united-states/2016-10-06/trump-and-american-populism?cid=%3Fcid%3Demc-post_election_2016-110816&sp_mid=52729146&sp_rid=Z2xlbm5ha2Vya2VyQGdtYWlsLmNvbQS2&spMailingID=52729146&spUserID=MjEyOTQ5MjExMzU4S0&spJobID=1044213447&spReportId=MTA0NDIxMzQ0NwS2&t=1478799214Report

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