By ceasing to listen to Trump’s daily bravado and reading his tweets, we think the danger has disappeared. The hurricane may have passed, but danger remains in a society scared by the paradigm shift.
The Donald Trump hurricane has exposed an ugly, racist and undemocratic America that is trying to hinder the African American vote in several states. Republicans are laying the legal ground to stop future election defeats, win back Congress in 2022 and the White House in 2024, with Trump or someone worse. Believe it or not, there are worse people. One would be Tucker Carlson, a Fox News star, devoted to fake news and conspiracy theories, who admits to not being an especially good person.
Lawmakers in Georgia just passed a law that will block mail-in voting and the intervention of judges in electoral disputes. Iowa, Texas, Arizona and others are working on similar proposals. In addition to limiting voting hours, they are stealthily pushing to consolidate polling stations, which, in reality, suppresses those close to Democratic areas in order to discourage African Americans from voting.
Republicans say their only objective is to avoid election fraud, an argument that connects with the Trumpist account that the presidential election in November was stolen. They continue singing this song, despite the fact that nobody presented evidence that any irregularities existed. Not even the officials responsible for the recounts, many of them Republicans with a strong sense of duty. Nor the judges. A speech by the president set the stage for an assault on Congress on Jan. 6.
What Georgia has ratified (Trump lost in this state by 12,000 votes) is an assault on democracy by other means. It is a climate that recalls the so-called Jim Crow laws that legalized racial segregation in the U.S. between 1877 and the mid-1960s.
The governor of Georgia, Republican Brian Kemp, who in November refused to give in to Trump’s demand to annul the vote and declare Trump the winner, has given in to pressure from the most right-wing elements in his party. In the photo taken while signing the law, Kemp is surrounded by six Republicans, all men and all white. In the background you can distinguish a painting of what seems to be a plantation from “Gone with the Wind.” Is that the image they want to project, or does showing it still not bother them?
This attack against democracy (wasn’t that based on the one person, one vote principle?) coincides with the trial in Minneapolis against a group of (white) police officers accused of killing George Floyd, a Black man, who succumbed after officer Derek Chauvin, knelt on his neck for nine minutes and 29 seconds.* It didn’t help for him to beg for his life, or to say he could not breathe 27 times.
This killing — we will see if the jury determines it to be murder — galvanized the Black Lives Matter movement, which Trump described as unpatriotic, linked to domestic terrorism and antifascists. Riot police (who were white) used force in various U.S. cities against this movement’s peaceful protests, Washington, D.C., among them, because the president wanted to be photographed holding a Bible next to the White House. The (white) extremists dressed in paramilitary clothing who assaulted the nation’s Congress didn’t receive the same treatment from police.
A Scared Society
By ceasing to listen to Trump’s daily bragging and tweets, we think the danger has disappeared. The hurricane may have passed, but danger remains in a society scared by the paradigm shift. This is an America that has a problem dealing with reality, which rejects or underestimates COVID-19 despite the figures (565,000 deaths in the U.S.). It prefers to think it is the work of China, Bill Gates or George Soros. More than one-third of Americans reject vaccines and accuse the federal government of violating their individual freedoms by forcing the use of masks. That America is still there, increasingly scared and aggressive.
The assaults on Asian people are the consequence of the same racism that drives Georgia’s legislators and Minnesota’s police. A denialist president who spent months rambling on about a ”Chinese virus” is to blame for this fire. People fear walking in the street, riding the subway.
The worst thing about Trumpism are the people which imitate it. It’s not only Jair Bolsonaro. In Spain, we have toxic examples of those who pollute the environment and muddy the debate. Hatred that goes out to bite enemies never returns to the fold without wreaking havoc. The history of the 20th century is proof of it.
*Editor’s note: Derek Chauvin is the only police officer currently on trial in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on charges related to the death of George Floyd.