Considering the political turbulence currently, roiling the Nation, it might be useful to take a short, metaphorical, “time out,” to “catch our breath,” and to thoughtfully, consider its present status, the nature of its continuance or, dismally, its possibly altering devolution. Contextually, we intend to pose a fundamental (metaphysical) question of existential significance, on the subject at the concluding portion of this essay.
The Founders of our Nation, living in the empirical context of the 18th Century, feasibly, considered their creation of a democratic republic (by and for the People), a “radical experiment.” After a historically, short period of approximately three and one-half centuries, and notably, in light of its present challenges and acute divisiveness, it would seem useful to use the designated “time out, to weigh the success or failure of the bold experiment.
As referenced in our earlier essays, it was the Founders’ stated expectation that in the newly, established Republic, citizens of divergent opinion, would, in collegiate and responsible manner, debate the contested issues of the day, the results of which would be useful to a Nation, “by and for the People.” In disappointing contrast, citizens, in general, chose to relegate individuals of contrary opinion to the status of bitter opponents, and concocted insular groups of citizens of mutually identical views, in hostile relationships, with other such groups, of diverse opinions.
Differences of view, in the developing issues, such as gun control, abortion rights, immigration, universal equality, governmental assistance to the needy, the teaching of subjects such as slavery and the treatment of indigenous Americans, homosexual rights, acceptability of government regulations on safety and health, global and environmental issues, became includable, among the many; effecting “tribal” separations in social and even familial relationships. Such “tribalism” strained normal social interaction and relationships, and gradually, affected the diminution of the formerly traditional feelings, of National cohesion and good fellowship.
The surprising, and ultimately, fateful, elevation of the incapable and perverse, Donald J. Trump, to the Nation’s Oval Office, seemed to serve as an efficient catalyst for further National divisiveness and, on the International scene, caused doubt and confusion as to the Nation’s historically, revered standing in the World. Trump’s emergence on the public scene, resulted in the eventful awakening of the Nation’s formerly, silent, underbelly (inadequately educated and poorly informed) population. This, abundantly large, formerly, non-participatory, throng of citizens, it seems, who, in addition to succumbing to Trump’s “snake oil,” demagogic promises, somehow perceived in Trump, desirably analogous, unconventional (anti-mainstream) traits. The same also included (autocratic-style) contempt for the existential concept of “truth,” serial mendacity, absence of moral compass, deprecation of education and human advancement, defamation of the responsible media, and consummate bigotry.
These traits, together with Trump’s demonstrated incapability for the august position of Chief Executive were fueled by his innate combination of total ignorance and neurotic egocentrism. Such anti-mainstream traits, it seems, endeared him to said plethora of non-mainstream, discontented, citizens to such an extent that they, apparently, anointed him as their deified, cult, leader. We will not dwell on the unique persona of Trump, having, depleted most of the suitable adjectives in past writings.
The Nation to its civic detriment, became, demonstrably, split, between a burgeoning Trump cult, (which apparently, adopted Trump’s ethos and his right-wing position on the previously described, contested issues), and pledged fealty to him, versus, the contrasting balance of traditional (anti-Trump) America.
Trump’s characteristic serial mendacity, in combination with his express, public disparagement of the existential, standard of “Truth” may have constituted the most societally, damaging, of his many reprehensible behaviors. It should require little argument to observe that truthful communication is quintessential to the organic conduct of societal life. The Nation was bewilderingly introduced to Trump’s bizarre and irresponsible, concept of a personally elective, availability of an alternate, more desirable, reality; a franchise, regularly exercised, by Trump and his large and worshipful cult.
Such irrational practice eventuated the populist-cultist development of delusional, conspiracy theories. The widespread, delusional ideations included bizarre, delusional beliefs such as, liberals are child pornographers and abusers, Israel is shooting rockets down to earth from outer space, Jews control all financial institutions and rule the planet, black people are going to replace white Christian Americans, homosexuality is teachable, immigrants are going to steal American jobs, Covid vaccine contains tiny tracking computers, 9/11 was an American false flag operation, many “Deep State” mythologies, and more than enough delusional ideations, to exhaust any creative, paranoiac.
It is the quintessential and, indeed, definitional, feature of a Democratic Republic, that its leader be selected by its people, as determined by popular election, and that a defeated incumbent, peaceably and dutifully, hand the reins of office over to the winner. For the first time in our Republic’s history, Trump, in autocratic (and neurotic) manner, arbitrarily, refused to concede his election loss to Joseph Biden and to constitutionally and peacefully, turn over the Presidential Office to the winner of the election. The egocentrically, perverse Trump, could not accept defeat, and, in the classic autocratic manner, availed himself of, the stereotypical, despotic, tactic, historians have termed, “The Big Lie;” asserting, without a scintilla of supporting evidence, that the election victory, was “stolen” from him.
On analysis, of all the delusional ideations, the most, ultimately, egregious and effectively, harmful to our democracy was that neurotically, reflexive, claim by Donald Trump that his loss in his run for a second term as President, was caused by Biden supporters who “stole the election” from him. In addition to the total absence of proof of such preposterous and egotistical charge, several accredited audits confirmed the regularity of the election and certified the accuracy of the final count. Trump’s ego-oriented and completely, preposterous assertion was, existentially, harmful to the integrity and existence of our elective democracy. It is as unaccountably, baffling, as it is harmful to the American Nation and its implicit democracy, that many right-wing Americans, including many right-wingnut congressional representatives and political officials have, irrationally, or, perhaps for tactical purposes, also became vocal and active, “election deniers.”
The American atmosphere, previously, in divisive and vulnerable status, was further, sullied, by the vast number of (deluded and tactical) “election deniers,” most prominent of which are the bigoted, White Christian Militia Groups, who, at Trump’s publicized and seditious bidding, unprecedently, and traitorously, mounted a militarily armed, bloody and lethal insurrection of thousands of Trump deluded, and Trump invited, conspiracy wonks, and their underbelly sycophants, against Washington’s Capitol Building, I/6; the legal date when electors, constitutionally, were to pass the baton to the new President.
In addition to such horrific and unprecedented occurrences, mainstream Americans have noted the many Republican-influenced legislative roadblocks to the votes of America’s communities of color (they voted heavily for Biden), physical threats to liberal legislators, to election officials, to poll watchers and a myriad of defamatory accusations against politicians and citizens of good standing. The Nation has been surprised, shocked and intimidated by the shameful existence and number of Nazi-style physical assaults, threats and tactics performed by erstwhile, peaceable and ostensibly, content citizens, together with the “faux patriotic” Trump supporters, as incited and encouraged by that former, despicable President.
Guns are everywhere, police brutality against black citizens continues virtually unabated, the practice of book censorship and book burning, has been noted, anti-Semitic acts are rampant, and control of women’s own bodies, shockingly, eliminated by the recent decision of our (improperly,) religiously affected, highest court. To any perceptive viewer, the tide appears to be ominously, churning rightward, toward violence (rather than reason), the latter, apparently, constituting the preferred, mode du jour for the determination of contested issues.
The atavistic and primitive nature of today’s citizen discourse was appallingly, demonstrated, a few days preceding the writing of this essay, (in fact, its specific motivation) when the husband of the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives was grievously, injured (skull fracture) in his home, by a “patriot,” armed with a hammer, with premeditated intention of assassinating the Speaker, herself. This is a very far cry, from the anticipated, collegial debate, among dutiful citizenry, contemplated by our Founders.
We are in total agreement with concerned, mainstream citizens who assert that the underlying and salient issue in the future election, in essence, concerns no less than the continued existence of our precious democracy. However, we are gravely obliged, to consider a more fundamentally, metaphysical question: [Has humankind yet evolved sufficiently, to sustainably, exist in a democracy?