Alan Zendell, July 30, 2021
Political processes and the evolution of nations occur at a snail’s pace. Like observing a receding glacier, we only realize how significantly things have changed when we look back and compare today’s reality with that of years or decades ago. But the frustrating rate at which things change is merely the inertia of an entity of 350 million people, and a dangerous illusion that can blind us to potentially disastrous trends until it’s too late to do anything about them. The situation is even more perilous when we approach a confluence of multiple trends all pushing us in the same wrong direction.
We’re approaching one of those critical nexuses now, as the forces of division, false narrative, and a fascist-like cabal of wrong-headed, power mad politicians work to undermine our democracy. History has proved time and again that burying our heads in the sand only encourages and enables them. We can either control the future of our country or willingly cede it to forces of anarchy or autocracy.
It’s important to remember that people who want to change America from the world’s beacon of hope and freedom into an isolated, racist, xenophobic wasteland are in the minority. They do not represent the values of most Americans, but if we don’t all wake up to the dangers they pose, they will have no trouble imposing their will on the rest of us, because our system is flawed in ways that make it vulnerable. We only exist as a nation because revolutionary elements prevailed two hundred and fifty years ago. Anyone who thinks it can’t happen again, either through armed insurrection or a bloodless political coup is naïve.
Donald Trump seized on the divisiveness and partisanship that had been a growing menace for decades and nurtured it with a toxic mix of racist fear-mongering and the false patriotism of White Supremacy. They added a badly distorted view of the Second Amendment that encourages people to think they have the right to take the law into their own hands using automatic weapons to reverse political decisions they dislike. But the most egregious tactic used by those who would undermine our Constitution is the erosion of truth, which has always been the most powerful force wielded by would-be dictators. Visionaries like Friedrich Nietzsche and George Orwell understood the power of false narrative and language that distorts reality. The disease that is Trumpism is attempting to use that entire arsenal to achieve the goal of one-party government under their control.
In the brief time Joe Biden has been president, Trump loyalists have triggered a movement to restrict the voting rights of entire populations whose views oppose them, while intimidating most Republicans in Congress to fight against the national voting rights bills that would end gerrymandering and guarantee equal access to voting to all Americans. In true Orwellian style, they have redefined bipartisan government as a sellout to radical socialism and have adopted obstructionism as their principal mode of operation. Trump is waging a cynical campaign of threatening any Republican lawmaker who supports bipartisan legislation with defeat by mobilizing his base against them in primary elections.
But those are far from the most cynical tactics Trumpers are using. Trump would perpetuate the horrendous death toll from COVID, for which his own political agenda is largely responsible, by undermining the efforts of the Biden administration and the entire community of public health officials and medical professionals to vaccinate our population. If that’s not bad enough they want to re-write history and whitewash the January 6th insurrection. Rest assured that they will fight to the bitter end to prevent those who planned and executed the attack on the Capitol from being held accountable and prosecuted. If that is allowed to happen, they will feel empowered to even more violence and to believe that our Constitution is no longer valid.
We cannot wait any longer. Americans who believe in the values of our founders, no matter how flawed their implementation may have been, must wake up. As we rapidly approach election season, 2022, both Trump loyalists and traditional Republicans are becoming desperate about the possibility of losing power for years to come. The senatorial races in Georgia and the flipping of the four critical states that gave the 2016 election to Trump have them terrified that they cannot win with policies and moral values. The only things left to them are undermining the efforts of the current administration to rebuild the country and stealing future elections by assuring that only the “right people” vote.
2020 exhausted all of us, but if we care about the future, we have no choice but to fight for it, starting now.