I am a writer. I take it personally when President Trump echoes fellow authoritarians, Joseph Stalin and Chairman Mao, and calls the media “the enemy of the people.”
It is no accident that job one on the authoritarian “to-do” list is to take over and demean the media. It is no accident that these regimes, throughout history, attack libraries, universities, and the educated populace. They have a simple, practical reason. They fear the truth. They fear knowledge. They don’t want people to know what is behind the curtain of corruption. They don’t want people to understand history, to appreciate other cultures, to discover other ways to see the world.
For millennia this has been so. Now it is so in our country. Our president speaks those words for the same reason Stalin did, for the same reason all tyrants speak them. Because truth and knowledge are the greatest threats to his tyranny. Worse yet, his Republican minions facilitate him through their cowardly, silent complicity.
It is time to address this danger. Ballots are coming. The election looms. We have a chance to speak to power in the most fundamental way, through our votes. Do we want truth, or do we accept our own version of Stalin?