“The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the convinced Communist, but people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction (i.e., the reality of experience) and the distinction between true and false (i.e., the standards of thought) no longer exist.” – Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism
Today, the nation goes to the polls.
Never has so much hinged on a Mid-Term.
Ordinarily, they come and go with little or no fanfare.
Not this year. This year is different.
The United States of America, the land of the free, the home of the brave, the country I’ve called home for more than 20 years, stands at a crossroads.
A pathological liar with a penchant for hate speech and orange candyfloss hair has been spewing a divide-and-conquer line in vilification and mendacity for over two years now.
It cannot continue to go unchecked.
Over the next 24 hours, it must be countered.
More than anything, a majority of the people need to put a marker down and say: “Enough.”
Enough with the lies.
Enough with the threats.
Enough with the fearmongering.
Enough with the demagoguery.
Enough with the intolerance.
Enough with the bigotry.
Enough with the misogyny.
Enough with the racism.
For let’s be under no illusion: we are on a perilous path.
Few foresaw the implications of Nazi Germany in the early 1930s, but the parallels are clear.
All too recently, we’ve seen members of the opposition party sent bombs and the anti-semitic murder of 11 innocent people in a house of worship.
The vilification of immigrants, nationalistic rhetoric, and attacks on a free press also bare the ugly hallmarks of a quasi-wannabe Dictator-in-Chief
The Republican elders let the hourly falsehoods of a man clearly unfit for office to pass without comment for the sake of power, expediency and the chance to pay back their donors in tax cuts. And while we live in the hope that the less supine of their number may yet take a stand, I, for one, am not holding my breath.
“The only question that matters is where one’s real sympathies will lie when the pinch comes.” – George Orwell, Why I Write
History will not look back fondly on these times.
With luck, it will be seen as a misnomer.
A temporary aberration.
Alternatively, it could be the moment when the soul of a great nation was irrecoverably cast aside.
We’ll know soon enough.
Today, the rants, the rallies, the offensive slogans, the vicious placards, the twisting of language and weaponizing of words, all take a back seat in deference to the exercise of democracy.
And as dark as these days are, therein lies the answer.
A remedy as old as the country itself and more potent than any hate speech or act of domestic terrorism.
“Dictatorships foster oppression, dictatorships foster servitude, dictatorships foster cruelty; more abominable is the fact that they foster idiocy.” – Jorge Luis Borges