(Tom Toles)
Editorial cartoonist

It’s coming down to two choices. You either accept President Trump’s version of reality, or you are the enemy of the American people. We are not quite there, but we’re whisperingly close.

Some of us have already been declared to be the enemy of the people, in our own country, for the un-American transgression of exercising the quaintly obsolete right formerly known as freedom of the press. But don’t think you’re so safe out there with that other quaint relic, freedom of speech. Or even freedom of thought. Trump spelled out the dichotomy yesterday: “The Summit with Russia was a great success, except with the real enemy of the people, the Fake News Media.” See how that works? There is Trump’s version, and then there are enemies of the people.

How quickly we are absorbing this “enemy of the people” terminology. Remember when that was a phrase of totalitarian governments? Let’s think back, those of us still willing to think without Trump’s guidance. Oh yeah, it was a term used in the Soviet Union! What a truly strange and remarkable coincidence. Now, if you are looking for more dots to connect, who has said how fervently he misses the Soviet Union? Well, what do you know, Vladimir Lenin! … I mean Vladimir Putin! Newly declared FRIEND of the American people!

One may ask oneself, and believe me, one has: What could be the result when the president describes you as an enemy of the people, at the same time he is almost surgically attaching himself to the hip of a Russian dictator? Try as one might to suppress it, the word gulag worms its way into the neocortex. Visions of freezing cells and fish-eyeball soup dance where sugarplums once frolicked.

It has been remarked that no outrage of Trump seems sufficient to deter his followers, or his progress. We are now at the point where he flirts openly with taking Putin’s side in Putin’s war on American democracy. I, for one, am uneasy about waiting to find out just where this ends.

If you’re more of the let’s-wait-and-see attitude, all I can say is I’ll save a cold fish eyeball for you.