I hadn’t been to the U.S. in a year, and when I returned on Wednesday, I took a picture of a shelf with books on current events in a newsstand in Dulles International Airport near Washington, D.C. Nothing better illustrates the situation in the country than this. A quiet (thus far) civil war is underway in America.
Let’s read the book titles. “Win Bigly: Persuasion in a World Where Facts Don’t Matter.” “Devil’s Bargain: Steve Bannon, Donald Trump, and the Storming of the Presidency.” “Collusion: Secret Meetings, Dirty Money, and How Russia Helped Donald Trump Win.” “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House.” “Trumpocracy: The Corruption of the American Republic.” “It’s Even Worse Than You Think: What the Trump Administration Is Doing to America.” “One Nation After Trump: A Guide for the Perplexed, the Disillusioned, the Desperate, and the Not-Yet Deported.” “How Democracies Die.” “Hacks: The Inside Story of the Break-Ins and Breakdowns That Put Donald Trump in the White House.”
“The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President.” “The Smear: How Shady Political Operatives and Fake News Control What You See, What You Think, and How You Vote.” And then a couple of titles, where they haven’t given up hope: “Conscience of a Conservative: A Rejection of Destructive Politics and a Return to Principle.” “Rally Point: Five Tasks to Unite the Country and Revitalize the American Dream.”
Let me add that this is no bookstore for intellectuals, but a newsstand. Ordinary people stream through it: business travelers, retired folk, soldiers, families with children. But do Trump voters read books? That’s a good question. It’s said of Trump himself that he’s never read a book in his life and never will. But we can bet that Trump voters will probably never open a book connecting Trump with the end of the world and of democracy, let alone buy one.
Trump voters most likely get their information from social media sites where they can crawl up into their own little bubbles. But his critics do so, too – and they may sometimes even buy a book which confirms their depression and disgust. That’s the picture of today’s U.S.