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Bombs fall on government buildings along the Tigris River in the heart of Baghdad, later referred to as the Green Zone.

Last night, feeling overwhelmed yet again by the constant barrage of OMG news coming out of Washington, I had an epiphany. The onslaught of executive orders, appalling cabinet picks, the gagging of Federal agencies, and the use of “alternative facts” to distort and destabilize an exhausted public are deliberate. We are under attack.

Shock and awe is a military tactic based on the use of overwhelming power and spectacular displays of force to paralyze the enemy’s perception of the battlefield and destroy its will to fight. As Naomi Klien pointed out, shock and awe tactics have been applied by economists and politicians worldwide to overwhelm an unsuspecting public until it buckles, grasping at anything that promises stability and normalcy.

These tactics were used in South America, in Poland, in Africa, and even in the USA after Hurricane Katrina and they are effective. Very effective.

As I scan my Facebook feed, talk with customers in my store, and read the news, I am certain that these tactics are being used against the American people right now. Realizing it, I found myself able to think and to breathe.

Trump’s executive orders are not law. Most require congressional action and will take time to be implemented if, indeed, they are implemented at all. A gag order on the EPA is terrifying, but not fatal at this point. There is cause for deep concern, but we’re not drowning yet.

Shock and awe is designed to force a population to react. We don’t have to do that. We can, instead, respond. And respond we will, with discipline, commitment, and clear sighted, fact-checked reason.

If we allow ourselves to be victims of a tactic that is mostly bluster at this point, Trump and his crew will succeed in mounting the most successful, non-violent coup in history and our democracy will fail. If, however, we recognize the tactics and respond accordingly, democracy will prevail.