Where is America going?

Where is America going? Featured

AT noontime Eastern Time, Jan. 20, 2021, Joe Biden will be sworn in as the 46th President of the United States.

Weeks ago, I wrote about the elections, focusing on President Trump’s dangerous behavior, a sad episode in American history. US politics has always attracted global interest, considering the country’s ascendency as this century’s hegemon although the same has been waning since the rise of China. The Philippines, in particular, has a stake in this country not only as its first colony where a perverted version of liberal capitalist democracy was imposed and has taken root, but as America is home to 4.1 million Filipino Americans, 77 percent of whom are US citizens. Some 69 percent of these Pinoys are migrants who have assimilated and continue to enrich American culture in numerous ways. It’s very rare for a local Filipino to claim no relatives in America.

Fil-Am brand of politics

Which brings me to my own six naturalized Fil-Am siblings, who have imbibed American politics. Unlike back home, their politics are defined by their adherence to the partisan codes underlying the two major political parties — three of them are Democrats and three are Republicans, the latter identified not with the mainstream GOP but with the unhinged Trump.

The Democrats (Noel, Kelvin and Shalom) voted not so much for Biden as against Trump. And the others (Tycho, Zelmar and Cyril) leaning Republican, drawn perhaps by Trump’s cultivated brand as a combative maverick outsider deceitfully promising to “drain the swamp,” which has engulfed and corrupted US politics for generations.

Trump’s style of governance is epitomized by his propensity to personalize his fights as political gladiatorial combats in the arena of his choosing. His disagreements predicated on the Filipino Spanish equivalent of “somos y no somos” (you are either for me or against me), reduce discourse as clashes of wills, personality and character. These zero-sum games define the Donald’s approach toward conflict — be it politics, business or his women, resulting in abusive verbal attacks via twitter, his weapon of choice ending in a proverbial bloodbath of litigation. His art of the deal!

Trump captured the Republican Party in 2016 and shaped it after his own narcissistic image, causing irreparable damage to this party of Lincoln and Reagan, degrading it into a caricature of the Grand ‘Ole Party (GOP), with its carcass divvied up among the apostate Trumpists.

America’s political trajectory

I quote from Kelvin, a retired techie and a 30-year US resident. “The Republican Party has finally completed its degeneration having accelerated during the Trump era. It’s likely that there will be two… wings of the party: the traditional conservatives and the Trump acolytes.”

The uncovering of the lie that democracy and equality reign supreme in America may have impelled this disintegration. Trump’s emergence revived the ghost of racism long believed to have been exorcised from the body politic. It exposed white supremacy as simply dormant, awaiting a wake-up call from a political fakir. And Trump used it as a scalpel to tear into the sinews of Republicanism and as a blunt instrument — his MAGA, Proud Boys, QAnon and the Militia supporters — to pound the Democrat’s Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, culminating in the now infamous Jan. 6, 2021 breach of the Capitol. This backfired, driving perhaps the last nail in the Trumpist coffin. The impact of the GOP’s deterioration could advantage Biden’s Democratic Party now controlling both the House and Senate.

Repairing America

Noel, a 1970 MBM graduate and 20-year US resident thinks Biden should ram through his democratic agenda. “…Biden/Harris [should] demonstrably improve the lives of the middle-class and underclass, without scaring the [millions of Trump voters] lifelong white Republicans [by introducing] a…leftist agenda…” Biden needs to hammer out a compromise with the powerful left-center wing of the Democratic party (Sanders, Warren and Ocasio Cortez) for “…a calibrated social and economic agenda over the next [four to] eight years working with centrist Republican politicians like Romney, Sasse et al.”

An imperative for Biden and the new “Department of Justice [is to go] after Trump and all those in his administration and the insurrectionists who broke the law…” Trump needs to understand his acts have consequences and he is accountable for all the transgressions during his four years; not so much as a simple application of justice but as a primordial craving to satisfy the human need for collective retribution. Also, on the pandemic, the human cost of Trump’s irresponsible and criminal behavior resulted in the death of 400,000 Americans — equivalent to 133 Twin Towers. He has to pay for these.

Trump’s legacy

Months before the election, Trump knew that the heavily Democratic mail-in votes would do him in. Thus, his singular efforts to discredit the election and enforcing voter suppression long before the actual voting presaged his defeat. No evidence was shown of the massive election fraud, despite 60 cases brought to the courts and which election his own Attorney General Barr declared as generally clean (for which he was sacked!).

Then the unthinkable. The Capitol breach instigated by Trump was a monumental blunder.

The classic Goebbels-like repetition of a massive lie propelled the mob of MAGA fanatics — giving in to the insurrectionist tendencies of this demented president. But the backlash came fast, immediate and deadly. Even his own allies in the Republican party, his enablers, have realized — too late — that the man was deranged. The second impeachment came swiftly and so were the withdrawal of his Twitter and social media privileges, amputating the communications channels that he uses to incite his base. The possibility of lifelong proscription to public office will eventually separate him from his fanatics. He will exit in total disgrace. But he will not “…go gentle into that good night” nor wither in the vine.

Trumpist mindset

Trump will continue to preside over what Hillary described as the “basket of deplorables,” except that this motley group of zealots has morphed into a more dangerous species collectively terrorizing even the old guards of the Republican Party. The GOP has condemned itself by shamelessly striking a Faustian bargain with these Mephistopheles of a crowd, remaining profoundly silent when their conservative doctrines and their revered democratic traditions were trampled upon. And there is no convincing them otherwise as they live in their own alternative reality — just like their egomaniacal “der leder.”

Zelmar encapsulated the other siblings’ position, Trumpists all, after the second impeachment:

“Tell me exactly what Trump was impeached for and why he should be convicted? Did you even listen to the entirety of his speech? Where in that speech did Trump call for an insurrection or violence?”

“What is going on now in America has long been foretold in Biblical language. ‘the wicked will become more wicked….’

And from Cyril, the conspiracy theorist rock star: “Trump just declassified all the Washington scandals. He is hiding at a military base…this is not over yet, till the fat lady sings!” He still believes as all Trumpists do, that Trump will yet have his second term, that Biden will not be inaugurated today.

Love them or hate them, my Fil-Am family are entitled to their voices. I respect that. They are simply a microcosm of America.

Read 237 times Last modified on Wednesday, 20 January 2021 13:16
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