This is Not Normal

My alarm. A screenshot taken from this weeks event.

“Not normal.” Every Tuesday night, before I go to bed, I look that message in the face and become more and more distant from the shocked 17 year old high school student who wrote it.

My reminder. 25/9/2020.

I urge you think back to 2016. Try to imagine what the state of the country would be going into 2020.

Likely, you predicted the ongoing sexism, science denial and racial tension. Likely you predicted a strengthening of white nationalism, perhaps even the consequence of a trade war with China. Maybe you predicted the imprisonment and separation of migrant and refugee families. Perhaps you truly did fear and predict the attempted Muslim ban. Maybe you even predicted that he would fail to address natural disasters. You probably didn’t predict that 200,000 Americans would be dead from incompetence, but I think it’s fairly forgivable to have failed to predict the global pandemic. Most of us did.

What scares me is the certainty of that statement by the ACLU, believed by us all “The Constitution and the rule of law are stronger than any one person, and we will see to that. We will never waver.” I still want to believe this. But it has been thrown into doubt in a way that my 2016 self could not fathom.

David Horsey 2015, LA Times

“He means everything he says, Authoritarians never pivot.”

Even before the election in May 2016, Andrew Sullivan wrote a piece in NY Mag titled “Democracies End When They Are Too Democratic. And right now, America is a breeding ground for Tyranny.” In it, alongside brilliant analysis of the philosophical problem of the “singular weakness” of democracy he also warns that “Neo-fascist movements do not advance gradually by persuasion; they first transform the terms of the debate, create a new movement based on untrammeled emotion, take over existing institutions, and then ruthlessly exploit events.” Sound familiar? The article concludes “In terms of our liberal democracy and constitutional order, Trump is an extinction-level event. It’s long past time we started treating him as such.”

“In terms of our liberal democracy and constitutional order, Trump is an extinction-level event. It’s long past time we started treating him as such.”

Coming back to 2020, do these articles really still sound as fear mongering? Can you still push them aside with reassurances that the rule of law is stronger than any one person or do you worry about this so called one person pulling the thread of the singular weakness of democracy? I for one, would rather worry than be caught off guard.

Many Americans are worried about how bad things might get under another 4 years of Donald Trump. Living in Australia, I have found that many abroad are worried about how much we Americans fail to see how bad things already are.

Google Search. US Cases 25/9/2020.
Trade Winds 3x5 Trump 2024 Blue 100D Woven Poly Nylon Flag 3'x5' Banner Grommets Heavy Duty (RUF) — from Amazon. 5 stars.

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Samantha Lincroft

Samantha Lincroft

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A student at Wellesley College and Monash University studying CS with an interest in math, philosophy, disability advocacy, and social entrepreneurship.