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    US Democracy under Trump is in terrible danger

    October 2020

    US President Donald Trump has now made it unmistakably clear in recent weeks – and even more crystal clear at the public night’s debate – that there are only two choices before voters on November 3 – and electing Joe Biden is not one of them.

    News that the world’s most powerful man was infected with the world’s most notorious disease this month dominated screens large and small, drawing instant reactions of shock, sympathy, undisguised glee and, of course, the ever-present outrage and curiosity surrounding President Donald Trump. For me personally, this was the first time I’ve seen “Trump” and “Positive” in the same sentence.

    The president has told us in innumerable ways that either he will be reelected or he will delegitimize the vote by claiming that all mail – in ballots – a time – honoured tradition that has ushered Republicans and Democrats into office and has been used by Trump himself – are invalid.

    Trump’s motives in my opinion could not be more transparent. If he does not win the Electorial College, he’ll muddy the results so that the outcome can be decided only by the Supreme Court or the House of Representatives where each state delegation gets one vote. Trump has advantages in both right now, which he has boasted about for the past weeks.

    I can’t say this any more clearly: Our democracy is in terrible danger – more danger than it has been since the Civil War, more danger than after Pearl Harbour, more danger than during the Cuban missile crisis and more danger than during Watergate.

    In a country like the US when everything becomes politics, when a critical mass of politicians put party before country, when responsible people, or seemingly responsible people, think that they can bend or break the rules – and go all the way – and that the system won’t break – when extremists go all the way, and moderates just go away, I promise you the system can break and most probably it will break.

    I would like to think that such a thing could not happen in America. I’d like to think that but I am very, very worried.

    I worry because Facebook and Twitter have become giant engines for destroying the two pillars of our democracy – truth and trust. Yes, these social networks have given voice to the voiceless. That is a good thing and it can really enhance transparency. But they have also become huge, unedited cesspools of conspiracy theories that are circulated and believed by a shocking – and growing – number of people.

    These social networks are destroying our world’s cognitive immunity – its ability to sort truth from falsehood.

    Without shared facts on which to make precise decisions, there can be no solutions to our biggest challenges. And without a modicum of trust that both sides want to preserve and enhance the common good, it is in my opinion impossible to accomplish anything big.

    Politics in my opinion needs a reference point outside of politics, it needs values, it needs principles, it needs facts and it needs leaders who respect that there is a sacred domain of decisions that will never be used to promote political gain, only the common good.

    Public trust is eroded, when people feel that this notion on the common good doesn’t exist because everything has become politics. That in my opinion describes the United States today. The institutions we have relied upon to be outside the game of politics so as to adjudicate what is right and true – scientists, certain news media, the courts – have become so ensnared by politics that fewer and fewer of them are universally trusted to define and pursue the common good. Even mask – wearing has become partisan.

    In my opinion you cannot sustain a healthy democracy under such conditions. And that is why the only choice in this election is Joe Biden.

    The Democrats are not blameless when it comes to playing politics – don’t get me wrong -, but there is no equivalence to the Republicans.

    The Republicans – who in the past voted for Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush, sane conservatives who could be counted upon to uphold the common good – have done no such equivalent thing. They have fallen in line lock step behind a man who is the most dishonest, dangerous, mean-spirited, devisive and corrupt person to ever occupy the oval office. And they know it. Four more years of Trump’s divide and rule will in my opinion destroy the US institutions and finally rip the country apart.

    To me, the only hope for America is to elect Biden and split the GOP between the Trumpists and whatever is left of the moderate Republicans, and then hope that a big centre-left and small centre-right can agree on enough things to propel the country forward out of the current crisis it is in, heal the divide and act together for the common good.

    Admittedly, Biden did not particularly shine in Tuesday’s public night debate. Alas, I have never seen him shine in any debate. But I personally have no doubt that the people, values and integrity he would bring into the US government would be of a quality that the American nation and the rest of the world deserves.