Letters to the Editor

United States is sliding into authoritarianism

Authoritarian. I am horrified by the continually increasing possibility that our nation, even with all the protections as provided in the Constitution, is sliding into authoritarianism. The failure of this president to provide tax returns is just a glaring example. Certainly a slap in the face to precedent is his failure to divest himself of his financial assets if for no other reason than to obtain and project the appearance of probity.

The distinguished American, retired Air Force general, and former intelligence chief, James Clapper, voiced astonishingly deep concern and frustration by stating, “I think in many ways our institutions are under assault both externally and internally.”

For someone with the stature of Gen.Clapper to make public such a statement is unprecedented. He then charges the other functions of the federal government “to step up in their roles as a check on the executive.”

Donald Trump reinforces his affection for authoritarianism by advocating emasculating the Libel Laws so it would be easy for him to muzzle the press with the threat of civil lawsuits. In addition to such arbitrary and capricious actions he has also advocated the elimination of the daily White House Press Corps Briefings, as he has noted they degenerate into an attempt to defend White House statements or actions. In their place he proposes to have frequent press conferences in which he would take questions at random and answer as he saw fit. Such proposals are thinly disguised attempts to limit the First Amendment and lead our nation to the gradual but slippery slope of authoritarianism.

Col. Lee R. Pitzer, Retired United States Air Force, O’Fallon