- CRITTER TALK
- NEWS I FIND INTERESTING
When others think of Americans in terms of what our government says or does (or doesn’t do) they often talk as though there were no resistance, his feeble approval ratings notwithstanding.
We’re hardly anything like a unified people with beliefs and opinions aligned in any way, of course. We’re still at the stage where that diversity is possible, but for those of us who take Orwell and others seriously, the fear is there that will progress along the same skid road as did Fascist Europe or Stalinist Russia and others where the government ‘truth’ is the only truth allowed.
If we do degenerate into an authoritarian state, who will be to blame for what no longer democratic America does?
Michel Foucault is said to have argued that power does not really reside in the state or the rulers thereof but in that society’s institutions and in the population as an active participant.
Terminology is biased, we get biased and invented news from some sources. Reputations are invented and destroyed without reference to reality. Accusations are punished or promoted without facts and believed according to partisan affiliations alone.
No dictator could succeed without our cooperation. It’s not just Trump as it wasn’t just Hitler or Stalin or any of them. Some were following orders, some believed all the lies. Some always do and sometimes it’s enough.
Language is power. I frequently have to deal with people who “speak Trump” in that everything is framed in certain terms, wrapped in assumptions and his attempts that seem appalling to some become necessary and laudable to others.
He’s draining the swamp, you see, even if the swamp is invented and all progress is toward corruption, incompetence, and recklessness.
If only 35 to 40% of us support Trump or his aim of a unitary authority, who would be to blame for the consequences? Do we fear that in the commission of some awful thing he would have enough supporters to do what the monsters of the past have done in terms of oppression and even slaughter? Will the military obey illegal orders?
Is Trump to blame for the growing authoritarianism or is it something inherent in our country, something long-simmering but brought to a boil? Can it happen here? Do we have enough supporters in any American state to build camps, transport populations, facilitate purges or do what Hitler and Stalin and Mao once did? Is some metaphorical god of the underworld preparing to weigh our American heart in the balance?
Sure, it’s still premature. Trump’s massive effort to put himself above the law and enlist popular opinion in the fight may fail on its own. Our institutions may prevail, but we can’t pretend the power of the minority, fueled by bigotry, anger, and lies don’t seem to be gaining on us. If the minority becomes the power base, who will go along with it and who will be to blame?