U.S.A: People longing for strong-man leaders should be careful what they wish for – By Mohamed Hamaludin

 By MOHAMED HAMALUDIN

Here is a brain teaser……  But first the scenario:

Donald Trump persuaded Georgia elections officials to “find” the 11,780 votes he asked for and several other key states reported enhanced totals, pushing him past Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential race.

Hearing that Congress would be convening in a joint session on January 6 to verify the electoral votes and declare Trump the winner, thousands of African Americans, finally having had enough after 402 years of oppression, decide to march on the U.S. Capitol during the special session.

Here is the brain teaser: How do the authorities respond?           

One obvious answer is that, emboldened by Trump’s continuing presidency, they activate the National Guard, the Army and the Air Force, round up the protesters before they even reach the Capitol grounds and fly them out of the country. While they are at it, they  all African Americans and deport them; after all, they were never given “green cards.” All 42 million are taken to Africa and Haiti — 55 countries–about 763,636 each.

End of the “replacement” threat. The European American nation is finally saved.

Not really, though such a scenario cannot be more unreal than some of the conspiracy theories which tens of millions of Americans now live by. And it would not be surprising if there is, indeed, such a plan somewhere authored by Trump’s Emigration Czar Stephen Miller.

But that is not it. Think more along the lines of Lafeyette Square Park, in Washington, D.C., where, on June 1, 2020, thousands of people staged a mostly peaceful demonstration to protest George Floyd’s murder. Federal agents and others broke up the protest with horses, teargas, flash bang grenades and pepper balls, while a military helicopter swooped low.

Yep, that would be the answer to the brain teaser.

Trump did not win and what happened on January 6, when an overwhelmingly European American mob, goaded by Trump, stormed the Capitol, was what Yale professor Timothy Snyder, in an interview with HuffPost’s Lee Moran, called “a failed coup [that was] a trial run for a successful coup. ”President Biden, speaking on October 21 on the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington, D.C., saw it as a high point of a “through-line” of racism starting with slavery.

But Biden has also repeatedly warned that what is at stake is not just party supremacy but the survival of democracy. “Autocrats believe that the world is moving so rapidly that democracies cannot generate consensus quickly enough to get things done,” Biden said in a speech on October 15 in Connecticut. China’s Premier Xi Jinping, he said, does not “think democracy can compete because [it] can’t react quickly enough.” The same for Russia’s President Vladimir Putin.  “They’re betting democracies can’t compete, [that] we can’t move quickly enough.”

Biden was echoing remarks during a White House press conference on March 25, when he said, “It is absolutely clear … that this is a battle between the utility of democracies in the 21st century and autocracies. If you notice, you don’t have Russia talking about communism anymore. It’s about an autocracy, [about] demand decisions made by a leader of a country.”

Those who follow Trump blindly, although he was clearly headed down the path to that autocracy, should pay heed, including those in South Florida’s Cuban American community who have been brainwashed into believing that Biden and the Democrats will turn the United States into a communist state, just like the one which they fled, journalist Lautaro Grinspan reported in HuffPost.

“Misinformation targeting Latinos comes from different sources, from chats on popular messaging platforms like WhatsApp to Facebook pages and Latin American YouTube channels” Grinspan reported. “Many of these platforms translate conspiracy theories that originated in English into Spanish. But when that misinformation — from unsupported claims about election fraud to anti-vaccine propaganda and everything in between — makes the leap onto Miami Spanish-language radio (a space dominated by Cuban Americans, a key Republican constituency in Florida), it receives a mainstream stamp of approval from stations that have, in some cases, been a part of people’s daily routines for decades.”

Grinspan identified two Republican Congresspersons, who, he said, trafficked in such conspiracy propaganda. One is Maria Elvira Salazar, who, he said, claimed on Radio Mambí that 200,000 more people voted in Pennsylvania than there were on the electoral rolls. That, Grinspan, noted, is “a repeatedly debunked conspiracy theory based on incomplete data.”

Carlos Gimenez, Grinspan added, not only did not correct the record on Actualidad Radio when it was claimed that the Biden administration was admitting thousands of unauthorized immigrants as part of a “Machiavellian plan” to turn them into Democratic voters, saying ‘I don’t doubt it.’”

Political leaders should be telling their supporters that President Dwight Eisenhower and President Lyndon Johnson also faced accusations that their social agendas were intended to usher in communism, whereas they sought to help the poor, tens of thousands of whom live in Salazar and Gimenez’s Miami-area districts and will benefit from Biden’s agenda and that the falsehoods are instigated by the corporate and wealth classes.

They should also be telling their supporters that the real threat to American democracy is the one Biden is warning about and that curtailment of fundamental rights would come not through some communist bogeyman but from those who want to seize power and use it to fashion a state in which all opposition is crushed. A good primer on the subject is Yale professor Timothy Snyder’s book “On Tyranny.”

It is a struggle that has had terrible consequences for some developing countries, notably Brazil, and is threatening democratic governments in about a dozen European nations, including some where European American “nationalists” are forging close relationships. None of the “nationalists” are preaching communism or even socialism. Dictatorship does not have to come wrapped in red or pink.

ABOUT MOHAMED HAMALUDIN

Mohamed Hamaludin is a Guyana-born journalist who worked for several years at The Guyana Chronicle in the 1970s and on publications in the Cayman Islands and Turks and Caicos Islands before emigrating in 1984 to the United States, where he worked at The Miami Times, the Miami Herald and the South Florida Times.  Though now retired, he writes a column for The South Florida Times (sfltimes.com) in which the above column first appeared. He may be reached at hamal1942@gmail.com.

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Comments

  • Clyde Duncan  On 11/06/2021 at 9:09 am

    Philip wrote:

    Too true, Shaka, Hitler, Stalin, Franco, Tito, Pol Pot, Mao, endless list.

    BTW, l visited Shaka’s resting place in a town called Stanger in Natal Zululand.

  • Clyde Duncan  On 11/06/2021 at 9:39 am

    LEE KUAN YEW – Leadership Transformed Singapore Into World Powerhouse

    Posted in Business & Leadership

    Lee Kuan Yew – “THE IMPOSSIBLE CAN HAPPEN!”

    LEE KUAN YEW WAS THE FIRST AND LONGEST-SERVING PRIME MINISTER OF SINGAPORE. It was his leadership that transformed Singapore from a third-world country into a thriving metropolitan city in just three decades. In a press conference, referring to the airline pilot strike of Singapore Air, he said, “I have spent a lifetime building this – referring to the city of Singapore – and as long as I am in charge, no one is going to knock it down.”

    LEE KUAN YEW WAS THE LEADER SINGAPORE NEEDED, AND IT TOOK HIM A MERE 65 MINUTES TO END THE STRIKE.

    A SHORT BIOGRAPHY OF LEE KUAN YEW

    LEE KUAN YEW WAS BORN IN 1923 AS THE ELDEST CHILD OF LEE CHIN KOON. He studied in the top schools in Singapore and went to the London School of Economics briefly for his university education before moving to Cambridge where he obtained his Law degree.

    He returned to Singapore, where he became a legal advisor to student and trade unions. Here he made many connections that would aid him in his political career later on.

    START OF HIS POLITICAL CAREER

    LEE STARTED HIS POLITICAL CAREER UNDER A PRO-BRITISH PROGRESSIVE PARTY AS AN ELECTION AGENT. Soon after, he co-founded the People’s Action Party (PAP) with the aim of ending British colonial rule and attaining self-governance for Singapore. ON 5 JUNE 1959, LEE BECAME THE FIRST PRIME MINISTER OF SINGAPORE WHEN PAP WON THE MOST SEATS IN THE LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY.

    TO END BRITISH RULE, LEE PUSHED FOR A MERGER WITH MALAYSIA. The Federation of Malaysia was formed on 16 September 1963, but the integration proved to be unsuitable for both sides. JUST TWO YEARS LATER, THE THEN-MALAYSIAN PRIME MINISTER DECIDED THAT SINGAPORE SHOULD LEAVE THE FEDERATION.

    THE CHOICE TO LEAVE WAS THE LOWEST POINT OF LEE’S LIFE, BUT ALSO THE TURNING POINT FOR SINGAPORE’S SUCCESS. Although Lee was in anguish at that point, he never gave up on his vision for Singapore. With Lee at the helm, an independent Singapore developed into the thriving metropolitan city it is today.

    After stepping down as Prime Minister in 1990, Lee served as Senior Minister and then Minister Mentor in the government, advising the country’s new generation of leaders on national issues. HE PASSED AWAY ON MARCH 23rd, 2015 FROM PNEUMONIA.

    DUE TO LEE KUAN YEW, SINGAPORE BECAME A SUCCESS STORY

    Singapore is one of the world’s success stories, and Lee is the man behind it. Although many critics question his style of leadership and describe it as autocratic and dictatorial, Singapore’s meteoric rise as a city-state is undeniable.

    LEADERSHIP LESSONS

    1. SAY IT AS IT IS

    One of Lee’s most apparent qualities was his straightforwardness. He was not afraid to be blunt about what he saw as the truth. This approach came across as too abrasive for some.

    Still, the ability, to be honest, is key for a leader. The best thing you can do for your team is to acknowledge and speak the truth. It might ruffle a few feathers, but to allow your team to face reality is probably the best thing you can do for them.

    Although some might be offended or feel uncomfortable, you will gain a lot of respect for doing so. People know that they can trust you.

    2. PLAN YOUR LEADERSHIP SUCCESSION

    Lee planned for succession years before he stepped down as Prime Minister. He saw the importance of grooming the next generation to lead the nation. As the saying goes, there is no success without a successor.

    Your organization must transcend you, and you must be humble enough to acknowledge that. Strive to build a team centered around a mission or purpose instead of an organization focused on you.

    Be generous with sharing your experiences and advice with the next generation of leaders that you are grooming. Equip them with the information and knowledge they’ll need to continue growing the organization. A great leader will ensure that those that step into his shoes have the best chance of success.

    3. STAY TENACIOUS

    LEE WENT THROUGH HIS TOUGHEST PERIOD DURING THE SEPARATION OF MALAYSIA AND SINGAPORE. His shedding tears on public television marked one of Singapore’s most historic moments. He showed raw emotion, he showed he cared about not just Singapore, but the people. He was loyal and he wanted to build something great. And that he did. But the odds were against him.

    However, even with this setback Lee never gave up. He strengthened his resolve and continued to believe that he could develop Singapore into what he envisioned it to be.

    A leader must have this resolve to press on no matter how difficult the circumstances. It is this quality that separates the good from the great. Anyone can lead well when conditions are favorable, but it is your conduct in times of adversity that distinguishes you as an excellent leader.

    Moreover, when you continually choose to press on, you will develop tenacity and persistence that will help you throughout your leadership journey.

  • Clyde Duncan  On 11/06/2021 at 10:16 am

    ‘Whoever Governs Singapore Must Have That Iron In Him’:

    How Lee Kuan Yew Brought An End To Pilots’ Protest In Singapore Airlines

    OpIndia.com

    In 1980 – about 4 decades ago – the Singapore Airlines(SIA) was in dire straits and its reputation had taken a severe beating. Profits were at an all-time low, the airlines had got entangled in a fight with the pilot’s union, and allegations were levelled against it for meting out improper treatment to its passengers in the wake of a strike by Australian refuellers.

    The primary reason that fuelled the crisis was the dispute with the pilots’ union. The dispute took place because the Singapore Airlines Pilots’ Association (SIAPA) demanded a 30 per cent hike in the basic salaries and better working conditions. In order to make its demand felt, the pilots’ union launched the illegal work-to-rule industrial action.

    A work-to-rule industrial action meant that the employees did only bare minimum work that was mentioned in their employment contracts. The action was taken to basically reduce efficiency and thereby affect the overall output. After this action was launched, a flight from London to Dubai was disrupted when three SIA pilots and a flight engineer refused to work beyond their 12-hour duty during their stopover at Zurich on November 16, 1980.

    All the technical crew involved in disrupting the Dubai-bound flight were terminated by the SIA and charged in the court for carrying out the illegal industrial action. The crisis was reaching a crescendo and a definitive action was needed to put an end to the festering problem.

    As SIA and SIAPA locked horns in what seemed to be an unresolvable conflict, the then Singapore Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew decided to grasp the nettle and end the ongoing dispute. On 1 December 1980, SIAPA representatives were summoned to Lee’s office at the Istana for a meeting. What transpired in the meeting has become a stuff of legend, recounted by Lee himself during a General Elections rally a few days later.

    In the rally, Lee revealed that he met with the key SIAPA leaders in person and made them realise that he is still vigorous and capable of campaigning and taking them on. Lee’s iron will and his determination to take the bull by the horn forced the SIAPA leaders to wonder whether it was worth continuing the fight. Lee made it amply clear in his negotiation with the SIAPA members that he is not amongst those who would be blackmailed by the union into submitting to their demands.

    “I can tell you that when I met the SIA pilots, I didn’t meet them on TV, I met them face-to-face. Five feet across the table so they can see me, and see whether I’m still vigorous, able to campaign and take them on. Whether it’s worth taking me on.

    Lee stated that he gave them two choices — whether to continue the agitation — or get back to work and then the government can have a discussion over their demands. He made it clear to them that he was prepared to ground the airlines and restart it without them, to teach them a lesson and make them an example for others of like mind, if they continue with their illegal work-to-rule industrial action.

    “Disrupting services, ruining its reputation. Millions of dollars worth of advertisements and sales ruined within a matter of two weeks. I gave them a choice. Continue this and I will by every means at my disposal teach you a lesson and get the people of Singapore to help me teach you a lesson you won’t forget. And I’m prepared to start all over again and stop it,” Lee said.

    He further added, “Get back to work, restore discipline, then argue your case. Took them 65 minutes and they decided OK it isn’t worth the fight. Why? Because they know they’ll lose. They know that I’m prepared to ground the airline. They know that I can get the airline going again without them. And let there be no mistakes about it. Whoever governs Singapore must have that iron in him. Or give it up. This is not a game of cards. This is your life and mine. I spent a whole lifetime building this. And as long as I’m in charge, nobody’s going to knock it down.”

    And with that, the matter with the SIAPA was resolved.

  • brandli62  On 11/06/2021 at 6:19 pm

    Clyde, thanks for posting those two pieces on Lee Kuan Yew. The development of Singapore, since its independence is truly impressive. HOWEVER, the country is hardly a liberal democracy. Regarding press freedom, Singapore is a the lower end of the spectrum. According 2021 World Press Freedom Index (https://rsf.org/en/ranking), Singapore ranks 160 out of 180 countries. By comparison, Guyana is ranks 51, Jamaica ranks 7th, and Norway is #1. For me personally, Taiwan is on of the best examples of a liberal democracy in the Far East. It ranks 43 in press freedom and is the first country in the Far East to allow same sex marriages.

  • Clyde Duncan  On 11/08/2021 at 12:25 pm

    Professor: ” …. Singapore ranks 160 out of 180 countries. According 2021 World Press Freedom Index …..”

    For all that, we do not hear of any Singapore-bashing by the press ….

    Therefore, it may not be such a bad thing.

    • brandli62  On 11/08/2021 at 3:32 pm

      A free press is a corner stone of liberal democracy. It’s purpose is to control government by pointing out abuses, overreach, and deplorable conditions.

  • Clyde Duncan  On 11/08/2021 at 12:32 pm

    Reginald Chee-A-Tow asked: This guy is still around?

    A: Lee Kuan Yew, the founding Prime Minister of Singapore and former leader of the People’s Action Party, died at the age of 91 on 23 March 2015, after being hospitalised with severe pneumonia on 5 February that year.

    • brandli62  On 11/08/2021 at 3:36 pm

      His son Lee Hsien Loong is now running Singapore since 2004. Democracy, meritocracy or the beginning of dynasty?

  • Clyde Duncan  On 11/08/2021 at 12:40 pm

    Reginald Chee-A-Tow wrote: The Wisest Leader Of All Third World Countries.

    Quotes from Lee Kuan Yew:

    “Between being loved and being feared, I have always believed Machiavelli was right. If nobody is afraid of me, I’m meaningless.”

    “If you can’t force or are unwilling to force your people to follow you, with or without threats, you are not a leader.”

    “What I fear is complacency. When things always become better, people tend to want more for less work.”

    “If you think you can hurt me more than I can hurt you, try. There is no other way you can govern a Chinese society.”

    “I do not yet know of a man who became a leader as a result of having undergone a leadership course.”

    “I always tried to be correct, not politically correct.”

    “Low salaries will draw in the hypocrites who sweet talk their way into power in the name of public service, but once in charge will show their true color, and ruin the country.”

    “If you deprive yourself of outsourcing and your competitors do not, you’re putting yourself out of business.”

    “When you’re Singapore, and your existence depends on performance – extraordinary performance, better than your competitors – when that performance disappears because the system on which it’s been based becomes eroded, then you’ve lost everything… I try to tell the younger generation that and they say the old man is playing the same record, we’ve heard it all before. I happen to know how we got here and I know how we can unscramble it.”

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