In the retrospective designation of notable periods in Man’s past, historians and sociologists generally select a representational reference to significant events or stages of development. In our view, the most aesthetic reference, is the designation of the period of profuse artistic creation in Paris, preceding the First World War (1871-1880), viz., “La Belle Époque.” Philosophers do have their “Dark Ages,” and “Age of Enlightenment,” Economists, their “Industrial Revolution”.
In our Nation, such designations, appear to be more prosaic, and referentially historic: “Colonial Settlement” (1600s –1763), “American Revolution,” (1763-1783), “National Expansion,” (1815-1880), “Civil War and Restoration,” (1861-1827) “The Two World Wars” (1914- 1945), “The Contemporary Era.”
The American “Contemporary Era,” has, unfortunately, been witness to substantial and contentious, National stress, the Great Depression, the Nixon Years, the Viet Nam War, the assassination of President Kennedy; but, none so dangerous to the continuance of American Democracy, as the surprising ascendance to the Presidency of an orangutan, hair- colored demagogic, charlatan whose last name, prophetically, rhymes with the word, “Dump.” We do have a measure of premonition as to notable, empirically, based, designations of our specific period, yet we await history’s choice of denomination. The American Nation and its democracy have indeed, survived flawed Presidencies such as those of Andrew Johnson, Andrew Jackson and Richard Nixon, but its bizarre and shameful travails under the one, four-year term of the Trump Presidency, can be perceived as comparable, in irrationality, to the tea party of Lewis Carrol’s “ Mad Hatter,” and in its bizarre optics, to Kafka’s “Metamorphosis.”
In bright contrast to the capable, principled and admirable tutelage of the Nation, by the Presidential Administration of Barack Obama, his immediate successor, Donald J. Trump, effectively, evinced an unprecedented, toxic and potentially, metastasizing assault on our enshrined democratic system of government. Much has been said and written concerning this disgraceful, twice-impeached, President who, thereafter, as an ordinary civilian, has been the subject of multiple criminal indictments, Federal and State, for crimes including, the illegal use of campaign funds, voter interference, bribes and conspiracy, the misuse of campaign funds to pay-off and keep silent, porn star prostitutes with whom he has had adulterous commerce, solicitation of falsified voting results, extortion, the creation of the classically autocratic, “Big Lie” by autocratically, denying the results of a verified, National Election and, thereafter, seditiously, incurring the direct and proximate responsibility for the January 6 insurrection against Washington, by a right-wing, Trump loyal, anti-democratic mob.
The unexpected elevation to the Oval Office, of Donald J. Trump, seemed to effect a resurrection and catalyzing of the active participation of the Nation’s vast horde of inadequately educated, disaffected and disgruntled citizens, historically, disinterested in civic and governmental affairs. Such individuals conceivably, identified with the aberrant, faux arrogant, and nuanced persona of Trump and became his loyal acolytes. Trump’s demonstrable lack of capability to function as President, and, presumably, his racial and ethnic prejudices evidently were compatible with the populist persona.
Trump, following the classic, autocratic, field manual, attacked the election process, the legitimate media, and, indeed, the societally, existential, concept of “truth.” In its stead, as an active practitioner of serial mendacity, he construed the tactically useful, concept of “alternate facts.” Additionally, he chose to designate specific racial and ethnic groups as un-American, derogated education and scientific research, abused and debased women, confused and strained America’s international relationships, withdrew from responsible environmental and mutually defensive treaties. Moreover, his advertised lack of moral compass, embarrassingly, even exceeded his colossal ignorance.
Correspondingly, there developed a stark divisiveness between the mainstream American citizen and the large number of citizens, who had, toxically, become devotees of the undemocratic, authoritarian, and immoral Trump cult. This transmogrification saw the increasing number of right-wing Christian militias, the decreased respect for the civil rights of minority Americans, including police abuse and homicide against minorities, minority voter interference, unjust treatment and abuse of transgender Americans, book and curriculum censorship, an exponential increase in unregistered and unlimited, gun ownership and the consequent mass murder of innocent school children. The unified and dedicated American citizen, as extant, since the end of World War Two, remains in an understandable, state of dread, concerning the survival of his rare and precious, democratic republic.
It is hoped that the democratic vote of the traditional, American citizen, will be the effective cure for the onset of the undemocratic, right-wing White, Christian pandemic of our Nation.
We would designate the current period of National history, as, “The Period of Populist Challenge,” and look optimistically, to the relevant naming of the forthcoming period, “The Period of National Accommodation.”
* Title redux