Since the – let’s just call it an ‘incursion’ – into the U.S. Capitol on January 6, CNN and MSNBC have been awfulising it as “the end of the American experiment in democracy”, while Fox has been downplaying it as no more threatening than the seizure last summer of a few square blocks of downtown Portland by Black Lives Matter.
I have no opinion on the matter, mainly because I don’t care. On this side of the 49th we’re too civil to be so uncivil. And besides, our three parties are so indistinguishable that if one stole the election no one would notice. In fact the greatest thing about living in Canada is that I don’t have to know – and in fact I don’t – the name of our current President. We don’t have a President, you say? Well, that just proves my point!
But apparently all is not so well south of the border. The stench of fascism we detected wafting over the border looks like it’s been tamped down, at least for now. It just doesn’t have the majority support it enjoyed in Italy and Germany back in the 20’s and 30’s. Trump’s minions will continue to fight the good fight, no doubt. But ultimately the forces of sober second thought arrayed against them will prevail. And the prospect of reigniting the aggrieved on the right, of which there may be as many as 74 million, will keep the only slightly more numerous aggrieved on the left from overplaying their hand.
How long will it take before I can, without anxiety, book a flight across the Pond routed through an American airport? I’m giving it about two years. By then the pandemic will be over, the economy will have recovered … And though black lives still won’t matter, I’m white enough that I think I can survive a two-hour layover at JFK.
What have we all learned from this experience? I’m guessing not much. As it was in Europe in the 20’s and 30’s, this choice in America between good government and populism has been entirely orthogonal to the more traditional choice between left and right. Donald Trump was no Republican. So the fight for the soul of the Party will be just that: conservatism versus populism. I’m not a conservative, but were I an American, for me it would be a no-brainer.
I have no idea what’s meant in America by “a more perfect union”, but I’m guessing it has less to do with prosperity than justice. And by that measure I’d be looking to the new administration for two things: police reform and the closing of Guantanamo Bay. Why the latter? Because you can always boast being a just society if you export all your injustices off-shore. Or, in the case of Israel, to the other side of the fence.
Obama and Biden promised to shut Guantanamo down twelve years ago. At least Trump was honest, if only about wanting to keep it open. This makes all three of them war criminals. But I’m not sure that adding hypocrisy to that charge will give Biden much pause. Still, those are my two measures. What’re yours?