Why I peacefully protested at the San Juan County Fair | Guest column

By Gretchen Allison

To contribute to the conversation about the political discussions that took place at the San Juan County Fair, I would like to say why I took part in a peaceful vigil there on Friday evening.

I spoke with many folks at the fair this year who were grinding their teeth at the life-size cut out of Donald Trump and I will tell you why: Donald Trump is acting like a tyrant and he is working quickly to install himself as king. He and his cohorts have conspired with an adversarial nation to subvert our democratic election and is engaged in obstructing justice by maneuvering the justice system toward only those who are loyal to him. He has instigated and condoned violence against anyone who disagrees with him. He lies, he cheats and he blames the “other” (progressives, gays, women, blacks, Hispanics, Muslims, atheists) for any real or imaginary problems in this country. He is arming the police forces with military equipment which violates the tradition of civilian police forces meant to protect and serve the citizens and has just pardoned the convicted white supremacist Sheriff Arpaio, giving the green light to all manner of misconduct to be committed in the name of purity. This pardon also gives the green light to all of the Russia collaborators within his administration who now will have no fear of consequences for their treachery and can expect similar pardons.

With the assistance of the Republican Party he is stripping out the checks and balances that keep our nation following the rule of law, as well as demolishing the institutions that protect us and our environment from exploitation.

As citizens, we are swimming through a complicated morass of false information and the constant drum beat of blame and fear of the outsider. It is confusing and frightening enough to have many of us running for cover. Some of this propaganda is being produced by the right and some are being instigated by Russia and then parroted by the right on social media .

We are witnessing the fascist play book being enacted chapter and verse and all of us are in real danger, including the misguided Republicans who can somehow justify supporting a bigoted tyrant. Under these circumstances Trumps life size image being promoted by the Republican booth was something many of us found unpalatable. Nobody wins in a totalitarian society.

To our shock we are discovering that our democracy is just as fragile as the European democracies that within the last century fell under Communism or right-wing totalitarianism, leading to the purging and murder of millions of people. We are not immune. Ask yourself what you would have done if you were a German in the time when Hitler was using this same playbook to subvert that democracy.

Would you have followed along?

We have to stand up together, loudly, peacefully, and quickly.

Allison is a San Juan Island resident.