"his may sound familiar, but it’s actually a synopsis of the first part of Sinclair Lewis’ It Can’t Happen Here, an eerily prescient 1935 dystopian novel about a populist demagogue named Berzelius “Buzz” Windrip who undermines democracy and drags the United States into fascism. Here’s what happens next: Windrip strips Congress of its authority. His followers form a bloodthirsty militia called the Minute Men that violently attacks dissenters and enforces authoritarian law. Windrip imprisons his political enemies, restricts the rights of women and minorities, and throttles the press. Most of the citizens are alarmed by the totalitarian takeover of their country, but accept the president’s explanation that such changes are necessary to “make America a proud, rich land again.”

Is this our future? It’s impossible to know for sure. “The first rule of futures studies is that there are no facts about the future,” said Marina Gorbis, executive director of Institute for the Future (IFTF). But we can and should take responsibility for shaping the future that we want."

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