9/27 Readers write


Credit: pskinner@ajc.com

Credit: pskinner@ajc.com

Democracy fades when a demagogue takes charge

My mother came of age in Europe under fascism’s shadow. She told me how democracy can devolve into autocracy.

It starts with a populist demagogue building a personality cult by stoking nativism. His supporters believe anything he says and do anything he commands.

The demagogue demonizes political opponents, for example, seeing journalists, Jews, immigrants and people of color as existential threats.

The demagogue’s dehumanization of these groups gradually makes the unthinkable thinkable, subjecting them to escalating violence.

Ultimately, intimidation silences dissent, overpowers institutional guardrails and makes elections formalities. The demagogue weaponizes a government packed with his loyalists to exact retribution on his enemies, persecute marginalized communities and unleash ethnic cleansing.

It’s happening here. Hate speech flourishes, hate groups parade, hate crimes skyrocket. January 6th was just a dry run. In a second Trump administration, immigrants won’t be the only ones rounded up.

Many Germans downplayed what was happening until it was too late. If we normalize fascism, we will lose our democracy.


Flash flooding likely to become more common

A four-inch downpour in Atlanta caused major damage -- “Downtown cleans up after flash flooding” (News, Sep. 23). This type of massive storm is likely to become more common, thanks to global warming.

Overall rainfall is increasing since warmer air can hold more moisture. This sounds good, but the rain is coming in larger bursts, creating storms that overwhelm our drainage systems.

The only silver lining is that Americans are starting to take climate change more seriously. If this is what 1.2 degrees Celsius of global warming looks like, then we really don’t want to see 2.7 degrees. That’s the prediction even if all of the current national pledges that have been made as part of the Paris Climate Accords are actually met.

For years, people have warned of a global ecological crisis; now, we are living through it. May our human ability to cooperate be enough to ward off the worst impacts.