It’s Always Darkest Just Before Dawn

Alan Zendell, February 6, 2022

Apparently, people have been saying that for four hundred years. Whenever things look really bleak, when people are terrified or sad and feeling hopeless, that mantra helps them stay sane. The darker it gets the closer dawn must be. If you’re not fond of metaphors, maybe you’ll like Bookbrowse’s take better: “Things always seem to get worse before they get better – even in the worst of circumstances there is hope.”

Anyone who has read this blog knows I have resisted melodrama when discussing the future of our country. I’ve suggested that there is far too much media hype that blows the seriousness of what has happened since the 2020 election out of proportion. I have never stopped being optimistic about our future, but protecting it will soon require action by all of us who care. Cheerleading from the sidelines while the forces of darkness attack the fundamentals on which our nation was built can only have one outcome.

In just the last century we can cite sufficient examples: the aftermath of the Russian Revolution, the fascist takeover of Italy and Germany, the subjugation of North Korea, Hungary and Venezuela’s slide toward dictatorship. It is now clear to everyone that Donald Trump will stop at nothing to get what he wants. We all know what he is, though some of us have continued to hold out hope that at some point he’ll just give up and accept reality. That hope relies on the assumption that Trump possesses a shred of integrity and decency. He does not possess either. If there’s something he craves that he can’t own, he’d rather destroy it. Just ask the residents of Atlantic City, New Jersey.

I am still optimistic. Trump’s most recent actions clearly reek of desperation. He feels the walls closing in on him as various arms of our justice systems do their work. His disastrous appeals to the courts since the election have surely shaken his confidence in the “loyalty” of the three Justices he placed on the Supreme Court. A titanic fight for the existence of the Republican Party looms, and with it the future of Donald Trump’s influence and the survival of our democratic system. Things are going to get very tense in 2022. Billions of dollars are going to be spent by people who think they can profit from being on the winning side.

It’s going to be a political bloodbath, a scandal that the entire world will be watching on CNN, BBC, and Al Jazeera. Even if the proponents of racism, hatred, and greed are defeated in the end, the sideshow will leave an indelible stain on how the rest of the world views America. And that’s probably the best-case scenario. It’s time to develop a regular correspondence with the people who represent you in Congress, especially in states or districts where the coming election is likely to be competitive.

What is at stake is everything we believe in. Trump has already plunged a dagger into our belief in truth and science. From the very beginning he masterminded a campaign of misinformation and disinformation. He used the Nietzschean trick of simply reversing the meanings of common words and getting his sycophants to chant them at every opportunity. Nearly a third of Americans now believe “fake news” and “alternative facts” are real things. The seriousness of that cannot be overstated. When we can no longer reasonably distinguish truth from lies, we will have doomed our futures.

That is what Trump is counting on, which makes Task One for the rest of us preventing that from happening. When Trump screams to his ignorant supporters that our entire justice system is corrupt and aligned against him, the rest of us have to scream louder that it is not. When Trump calls his crazed militias to arms to defend him against legally obtained felony indictments, the rest of us have to shout them down. And when individual Representatives and Senators speak in defense of insurrection instead of the Constitution, their constituents must speak even louder at the ballot box.

This isn’t about politics. Politics is the way governing bodies negotiate their differences to move the country forward. Trump’s movement is a perversion of the natural order, an attempt by people who value power and wealth above all else to undermine our nation for their benefit. Much like the way my father and the rest of the Greatest Generation went off to war in the 1940s to defend us against fascism and dictatorship, the current generation must stand up against Trumpism. The stakes are as high today as they were then.

Yes, it’s looking dark on the horizon. But it’s always darkest just before dawn.

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