One of the articles to cut through the noise just after Election Day was “Autocracy: Rules for Survival” in the New York Review of Books. Its author, Masha Gessen, knows her subject well. She’s lived most of her life under autocratic rule – and a good portion of it in the risky role of opposition journalist – in Russia. In the torrent of articles she’s written and TV appearances she’s made since, she’s become an indispensable voice on the despotic tendencies of the current American president. Digging deeper than just pointing out the obvious anti-democratic hallmarks of Trump’s presidency – his flagrant desire for a justice system loyal to him as opposed to the law, for instance – Gessen addresses the troubling changes to America’s political norms using the hard-earned wisdom of someone who has survived and fought against political oppression with her integrity intact. “I have this special pair of binoculars,” she says. “Because I’ve experienced autocracy, I can recognize certain of its traits.” While Trump’s early Twitter attacks on his critics – from civil-rights icon Rep. John Lewis to the pope – flummoxed commentators, it was all too familiar to her. “Autocratic power requires the degradation of moral… Read full this story
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