Sinclair Lewis published “It Can’t Happen Here” in 1935. The book was prophetic. “It” is happening now.
In Lewis’ book, a new president is elected through democratic means — Berzelius (Buzz) Windrip. Windrip never mentions freedom of speech and of the press. Much like Hitler and the Nationalist Socialists assumed power in Germany, Windrip after being elected abolishes democracy and the Supreme Court, and neuters Congress. His cabinet is filled with Windrip’s cronies.
He seizes control of the press. He does all of this publicly and in violation of the Constitution under the guise that these are emergency measures to preserve the American way of life. German Storm Troopers were the model for Windrip’s Minutemen (personal security guards). Soon, people who spoke against the president quietly disappeared. Concentration camps sprung up quietly. Now our new president is considering keeping his personal security guards.
Journalists must not be like Doremous (dormouse) Jessup, a journalist in the novel. Today’s journalists must be willing to speak up and not be cowed by the bully twitterer.
Never miss a local story.
Read the book, or at least read Gary Scharnhorst’s afterward in the Signet Classic paperback edition. It will scare the hell out of you.