To the editor:

Demagogues around the world have for centuries used a so-called “Tyrants Handbook” to overthrow democracies. That handbook provides instructions as to what is needed to destroy a democracy:

1. A divided nation, 2. A populist figure, 3. Bold promises, 4. Governmental chaos, and 5. A sleepy, indifferent populace.

Using those key ingredients, demagogues overthrew the democratic governments of Germany, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Hungary, and Spain. Donald Trump is a demagogue. He used those same guidelines to get elected as President in 2017.

During his four years as President,we have seen what can happen when a nation’s citizenry fails to stand up to a demagogue. Trump, along with his hand-selected enablers, quickly went to work to undermine our cultural values as well as to divide us by race, gender, sexuality, religious views, and political preferences. Then he inflicted severe damages to our institutions — most notably the Congressional branch,the Department of State,the Department of Justice, the U.S. Postal Service, the Federal Election Commission, the U.S. Immigration Services, and the U.S. Department of Defense.

His biggest act of tyranny, however, was to lead a mob of misinformed far-right leaning white people to an insurrection at our nation’s Capital — with the express purpose of overturning a fairly executed presidential election.

And what has all of this taught us? It should have revealed the truth that America’s existential terrorist threat is and always has been from within, not from the refugees from South America or Mexico or from Muslims.

America’s real terrorist threat comes from the systemic racism that proliferates in our institutions and neighborhoods. It comes from the people in America who have accepted the belief that the white race is a superior race. Now, since Trump, those same privileged people have been radicalized by conspiracy theories to believe other races are taking control away from the white race.

Before it is too late, we the fair-minded people of America must step up to the challenge of being better caretakers of our precious democracy for the future. Indifference is submission.

Luman Slade

The Plains, Ohio

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