… the powers of the president to protect our country are very substantial and will not be questioned.
-Stephen Miller, Senior Advisor to President Trump on Face the Nation, 2.12.2017
So said Stephen Miller to the world on that February Sunday morning. And in doing so, he further cemented the brash and authoritarian tone set by Trump himself for his administration. Interesting thing though about Mr. Miller. He grew up in Santa Monica in a liberal-leaning Jewish household. According to his profile on wikipedia, “Miller became a conservative after reading Guns, Crime, and Freedom, a book by National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre.”
And what a conversion it was.
Miller is a highly-educated, articulate and ferociously intelligent individual. In 2007 he graduated from Duke University with a bachelor’s degree in political science. And it was at Duke that Miller began making a name for himself. He charged African American poet Maya Angelou with “racial paranoia” and described Duke’s Chicano Student Movement as “radical national Hispanic group that believes in racial superiority.”
Also while at Duke Miller made some, shall we say, interesting friends. He met Richard B. Spencer, alt-right stalwart and president of the National Policy Institute, a xenophobic and unapologetically white supremacist organization. Miller is on record as helping Spencer fundraise for an immigration debate but when Spencer bragged about the relationship between the two, Miller denied it, stating he has “absolutely no relationship with Mr. Spencer” and that he “completely repudiate[s] his views, and his claims are 100 percent false.”
After leaving Duke, Miller went on to rise fairly rapidly through the GOP ranks. He worked as press secretary for the likes of Congresswoman Michelle Bachman and communications director for then Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions. And today, he is a Senior Advisor to the 45th President of the United States of America.
Not bad for a kid from Santa Monica.
Thing is, however, if you watch Miller in press conferences or on any of the multiple network interviews he’s done, it does come across that his talents are diminished in that he seems to be relegated to being nothing more than Trump’s attack dog. That being said, one cannot dispute that he articulates Trump’s message far better than Trump himself ever will have the capacity to. Miller sticks to the facts as he sees them. Doesn’t veer off message and speaks with razor sharp agility.
That being said, he does have a tendency to, in the vein of his boss, speak untruths and force baseless accusations down the throats of Americans in the apparent hope that if he says it often, loud and forcibly enough that the citizenry will accept it as truth (one example is his constant backing of Trump’s unsubstantiated voter fraud claims). He is very effective at what he does and should not be underestimated. At all.
What we should understand and take grave note of is the fact that it is dangerous, reckless and downright unconstitutional for someone in Mr. Miller’s position to state that “the powers of the president will not be questioned.” This statement is a frightening glimpse into the inner workings and ultimate intent of Trump and his administration. The language is reminiscent of those made by propaganda ministers on behalf of Hitler during his meteoric rise in early 20th century Germany. It is a foreboding of things to come and a threat to our democracy and security as a nation, the very thing that this administration wants the public to believe they are out to protect.
So, while it is well known that Trump himself isn’t the most credible, reliable or presidential when it comes to his message, he was smart enough to assemble a team who, it can be certain at his very moment, are learning from early setbacks like the Travel Ban and reformulating their political posture and honing their policy craftsmanship to usher in the nefarious agenda that it is becoming clear rests upon and propels them. This man is on record having vilified Civil Rights icons and relegating our Chicano brothers and sisters seeking equality as “nationalist radicals.” He has known ties with white supremacists such as Stephen Miller and advocates a hyper nationalist agenda underpinned by fear-based and xenophobic assertions. And now, this man has the ear of our president. Below are three major points from the dictator playbook:
- Make press out to be enemy of people in effort to shut it down
- Close borders under guise of nationalist protection
- Vilify other races as causing problems for nation and move to expel them en masse
Any of that sound familiar? We are in dangerous times, friends, and we would be well served to watch how the proverbial pieces are being moved for we may very well be witnessing a coup and not even realize it.
Think Passionately. Disrupt Strategically.
-A. Lawrence Haskins
United States Congress: (202) 225-3121
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