You can't have a totalitarian state without a suitably "tuned up" population. North Korea is a perfect example. Germany or Italy in the 30s were fine examples. The Soviet Union, ditto.
Today it's America's turn. A segment of the American population, a sufficient fraction, has been conditioned to accept utter nonsense, the stuff their new president force fed them and they so willingly swallowed. Many of them don't care that it's shit, it's an acquired taste.
But what about the shining city on the hill that Reagan spoke of, American democracy? Matthew 5:14 - "You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden
." Well, that's pretty much over, for the near future anyway.
Trump left no doubt yesterday that, from here on in, it's Amerika Uber Alles
. I've been criticized for saying as much in recent months but, this time, I wasn't the one saying that. That came straight from the mouth of the first Amerikan
president. You don't like it, take it up with him.
American essayist, Marilynne Robinson, wrote in The Guardian:We have inaugurated a president whose mental life is a thing of television ratings, beauty pageants and egoistical make-believe, who threatens and gloats and holds grudges and wants everyone to know it, whose impulses are alarming and alarmingly incoherent. He lacks the kind of knowledge of history and civic life and decent manners most adults have acquired by paying at least glancing attention.
Populism isn't a means to serve a nation's people. It's a vehicle to control them and to suppress those who see through it and dare to dissent.
Trump's inaugural speech utterly ignored the fact that a majority of the voting public supported his opponent. It ignored the fact that his inaugural approval rating was the lowest by an order of magnitude in the history of inaugural polling. It was the speech of a man who considers his power absolute, who will treat his nation as he alone sees fit. It was the speech of a thug, a despot.
The headlines for the Washington Post's
"most read" list -
- A Most Dreadful Inaugural Address- Is This What We've Come To, America?- Donald Trump Has Assembled the Worst Cabinet In American History- Donald Trump's Inauguration Was a Gothic Nightmare- Trump's Inaugural Speech Was Strikingly Radical
Hmm, I wonder what that's all about. Oh yeah, it's about Amerika's new leader, its commander in chief. Perhaps he's not even a president for that implies an acceptance of constitutional restraint and basic human decency. High moral attributes hold no currency for this serial sexual deviant.
I didn't watch the inauguration, not a minute of it. What I know of it is what I've read, the written record of Trump's tirade.
Tomorrow I'll make a point to catch Fareed Zakaria's 360 programme on CNN. India-borne Zakaria, a practising Muslim, educated at Harvard and Yale, has been the keenest observer of the rise of illiberal democracy around the world and, in particular, within the United States.
Twenty years ago, in the November/December issue of Foreign Affairs
, Zakaria foretold America's descent into illiberal democracy
. He's been warning about it ever since and, now, it has become America's governmental default operating system.The American diplomat Richard Holbrooke pondered a problem on the eve of the September 1996 elections in Bosnia, which were meant to restore civic life to that ravaged country. "Suppose the election was declared free and fair," he said, and those elected are "racists, fascists, separatists, who are publicly opposed to [peace and reintegration]. That is the dilemma.
My, my, my.
It's impossible to know, in particulars, what lies ahead as Trump ploughs through the global china shop but we know we're all in for a wild and periodically dangerous ride. The era of the Big Lie has descended on Washington and most Americans will either support it or look the other way. They've been well and truly tuned up for this day.
What was that line? Something about Ein Reich, Ein Volk, Ein...
something or other.