In Sinclair Lewis’ 1935 semi-satirical, political novel, It Can’t Happen Here, newly-elected American president, Berzelius Windrip, takes advantage of the current economic crisis to initiate the fascist takeover of the United States. A plutocratic/totalitarian rule is imposed, and is enforced by a ruthless paramilitary force he has created called the Minute Men. All media is now controlled by the government and supervised by the military, while civilian dissenters are tried in kangaroo courts and imprisoned after facing a military tribunal.
The year 1984 has come and gone, but George Orwell’s 1949 novel and Lewis’ cautionary tale both pose some very thought-provoking questions that are just as frighteningly relevant today as they were then.
Could the United States one day shed its democratic principles, and go from being a constitutional republic to a tyrannical dictatorship and police state? Could the U.S. in the future find itself under the iron-fisted despotism of an authoritarian overlord?
What should be immediately alarming when considering this terrifying possibility, is remembering that although we the people have the constitutional right to vote and to elect a candidate to a government office, that is essentially where our involvement in our government and their function comes to an end. We the people end up electing a government that time and again ignores the very interests and the voice of those who put them in office, and this cycle repeats itself year after year after year.
Now add to that the self-evident, unchecked corruption within our government, and an indoctrinated people who are becoming more and more complacent, and what you have is the precursor and future catalyst for an eventual fascist and totalitarian regime!
Science fiction, or is it just the inevitability of life imitating art in literature?