Ed Prell, from out of the ether

Richfield, Minnesota
August 22, 2020

Dear friends and family,

This is a one-size-fits-all message. I’m in frequent touch with many of you. If it’s been a long while for you, I’d love to catch up with you. But first, I’m reaching out because of the November 3 elections. I have no connection or role in the campaigns except as a very concerned citizen.

You may know that I take public affairs quite seriously. I have participated in local Democratic and activist orgs for nineteen years. I launched my blog, https://thisoldearth.com/all-about/a-brief-history/ in 2016. This year I participated in the launch of another blog, https://newrepublicoftheheart.org/voices/white-is-an-illusion/

How I see it

(in case you’re interested)

You may agree in whole, part, or none of the following assessment. I won’t try to convince you. And if I write something that’s old news to you, please don’t be put off. Not everyone is as up to speed as you are.

The Republican Party of today is not to be confused with the GOP of years past. All of its principles and sincere politicians have been purged. Now, the Republican Party and foreign dictatorships, most notably Russia, are desperately trying to dismantle the way the United States administers its laws in a culture of fairness. If the Republicans succeed, they will take away much of the wealth and many of the civil rights of over 95% of the U.S. citizens. The Republicans will own that wealth and control the military-industrial complex. With the U.S. no longer asserting moral authority backed by military deterrence, the dictators will have a free hand to further exploit their citizens and weaker nations, and to disregard and nullify legal, commercial, and environmental treaties. It would be the biggest heist in history, and a huge, perhaps irretrievable, setback for human progress.

The current focal point of this dismantlement effort is the election scheduled for November 3, 2020. If Donald Trump wins or if Republicans retain the Senate majority, the dismantlement can proceed without effective resistance. But with the Presidency and Congress in Democratic hands, it will be possible to negate the damage done by the Trump administration, and resume the interrupted progress.

The Republicans and their allies understand that this is a do-or-die election for them. They will not allow any ethical or legal considerations to rein in their drive toward domination. They know that the GOP, as now constituted, can never again win a fair election. They have boundless determination to retain their political power rather than yield to peaceful transition. Beyond losing political power, our domestic enemies know they have committed numerous state and federal crimes for which they could be held accountable if they had no Bill Barr to protect them. They are prepared do ANYTHING to hold on.

The last thing I want to see happen is an “endgame” deadlock in which all legal and political resolution has failed and militia would be drawn in. Unpredictable events would rapidly play out. Armed skirmishes would likely ensue, given that Trump has recently called on rogue elements of federal agencies to break up assemblages of protesters. Our top military leaders would need to step in to restore order. It is hard to conceive that our own military professionals could ever turn on us. But I have lost my sense of absolute certainty. A former Senior Analyst with the Defense Intelligence Agency who has raised doubts: https://www.justsecurity.org/72008/i-resigned-from-u-s-government-after-my-own-leaders-began-to-act-like-the-autocrats-i-analyzed/ It is not sworn testimony; there is no second source. I am not in a panic, but I have yet more reason to fear escalation and uncertainty in this election campaign.

Rhetorical question: What are the chances that an orderly, peaceful transition of power will ensue once Joe Biden is declared to be the winner of the election? Rhetorical answer: That is the wrong question. History is volatile, seemingly impossible events (like Trump’s 2016 election) are possible, and it is pointless to calculate the odds when you are in a fight for your life. The better question is: “what can be DONE to make the transition of power as orderly as possible?”.

How to make the transition of power as orderly as possible?

(In case you want my opinion)

The fundamental, obvious way is maximum voter turnout, as securely and as early as possible. Less likely voters getting procedural tips, assistance and reminders.

The essential element will be the earliest possible evidence of an overwhelming Biden lead, which will give positive feedback for a bigger lead. Most Trump supporters will lose their zeal when it’s seen as a “lost cause”. Political operatives, decision-makers, facilitators, and donors will reconsider their loyalty and figure out an exit strategy.

Conversely, progressives and moderate Democratic supporters will be uplifted and more vocal. Public civil servants and military personnel will be more optimistic and courageous. Their loyalty to our Constitution and its spirit, regardless of political leanings, cannot be over-emphasized.

Even in the most favorable scenario, there will continue to be discord, violence, and doubtless some bloodshed. That will be the price of quelling an attempted coup that has been underway far too long.

What role can private citizens take in this showdown?

(In case you want my opinion)

First, stay aware that time is of the essence. As I write this, 74 days remain until Election Day. Action today is preferable to action tomorrow; this week is preferable to next week.

Vote. Early, securely, smartly, all the way down the ballot. That’s the bare minimum.

Ultimately, it’s up to us. Our institutions are falling short and in danger of authoritarian takeover. They respond to public pressure (or lack of it). our pressures have been too weak and misguided.

By far the safest and easiest way is to donate to one or more of the activist orgs advocating for justice, civil rights, etc. the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Brennan Center for Justice, to name two. They can cash the check and put it to use in a TV ad or other effective project.

The next plateau is volunteering with the local chapter of these orgs. They can always use help from people with marketable skills.

Street demonstrations are great statements of the public will. The more bodies in them the better. The bodies need to stay mindful of the hazards in addition to COVID-19. You know what I mean.

”Seeing an overwhelming army massed on the horizon was anciently seen as the test of a soldier’s mettle-it was the time to get strong, fierce, and inspired. The battle was coming. And in the meantime, it was wonderful to be alive. The “meantime” is all we ever had anyway.”-A New Republic of the Heart, p.50

On individual initiative, phone calls, e-mails and letters to newspapers, public officials, even private institutions, can have an impact. Every little bit helps.

The last words

If you read at least part of my “rant”, thank you for your consideration. I hope it has been worthwhile for you. I’m not presenting a case to prove my point; I’m merely stating how I see the current situation and how passionately I feel about it. I’m not pleading for your activism. That’s between you and your conscience.

One more thought. If we come out of this showdown damaged but victorious, the struggle will continue with no end in sight. The alternative is far worse.

I encourage you to pass on this message to whomever you think would welcome it.

And finally, I hope to hear back from you and continue or restart our conversation.

Be well, be safe.

Ed Prell

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