I am not a political blog. Perhaps my political posts are just a temporary uproar and then, sooner or later, I will get used to the situation like so many others like me. Or maybe I won’t get used to it but will pretend that everything is alright.
That’s what we human beings do. We adjust relatively quickly to new circumstances, even if they seem to make our life unbearable at first.
Life in the U.S. will go on. Fewer and fewer people will attend protests; slowly a sense of powerlessness will take over. The media will turn it down a notch because then they will cause less trouble. Even politicians, who showed resistance at first, will notice that their life will be easier if they just submit.
Companies will learn quickly that they will be awarded contracts if they surrender. Some people will become rich and rise in society when they play by the rules because if they don’t, somebody else will take their place. That’s how fascism works- not by diktat and violence, but through a slow demoralizing process.
Democracy dies a quiet and painful death. Looking back, we can often determine the moment when it started- usually with an election. How could Turkey have elected Erdogan? How could Russia elect Putin and Hungary Orbán and how could America have chosen Donald Trump with a clear conscience? One election can change it all.
When political dialogue leads to a situation in which the discussion itself is replaced by demagoguery, and when that demagogue is brought to power through a democratic process, then it’s possible that democracy itself will be replaced by dictatorship.
Yesterday absolute power was displayed, when they silenced Elizabeth Warren -a well respected humanitarian for black civil rights- on the Senate floor because she read words from a letter written by Coretta Scott King, a civil rights leader’s widow. Was she silenced because she is a woman? Was she silenced because she read the letter from a black woman? Or was she silenced because of the truth?
Everything is happening so fast. The world we knew is fading away.
In the first weeks since Trump’s offensive inauguration speech, he has demonstrated that he will do what he said he would. He will order the construction of a wall on the border to Mexico -regardless of the cost- and he is will continue to rattle and offend America’s allies and international institutions, as often as he pleases to do so.
Trump has ordered scientists not to conduct or publish research on topics of which he does not approve. He believes climate change doesn’t exist. It leaves many of us in agony.
Lying seems to become the new norm. Trump stood by as one of his closest confidants invented the term “alternative facts.” Slowly but steady they create a parallel reality.
Trump doesn’t hide the conflict of interest. He brings his children with him to high-level meetings, and he hired his son-in-law as a White House adviser. He has spared countries he does business with from his travel ban, and he has not separated himself of his company holdings. He has no intentions to release his tax returns -despite pledging to do so- and now he claims that voters won’t care. He is even trying to undo banking regulations that protected us for another recession, just so that friends of his can get easier access to money. He openly admitted it.
Trump has an ongoing war with the media. His closest advisor, Steve Bannon, called the media “the opposition party” and told them they should “keep their mouths shut.” I can’t help but remember the Nazi regime when they called the press “Lügenpresse” (Lying press).
Most likely this all will continue. His supporters will cheer for him when Trump and his colleagues will approve the same job plan that they rejected three times when President Obama talked about it. All of a sudden they will be willing to spend money on infrastructure, something that they also voted against when Obama tried to boost the economy.
I wonder if the United States will slowly fade away. Will people here just endure the new normal until it might be irreversible? Will we, like the people in Russia and China, just hold our head low and take it?
I cannot bear the thought that this might be the new normal. I want us to rise above it all.