Sunday, December 04, 2016

To U.S. Allies and Friends: don't throw out your liberal democracies because of our national spasm ... by gimleteye

Miami International Airport will be filled the next few days with international travelers returning home, after gauging the cultural temperature here. A few parting thoughts.

Culture is the biggest export of the US economy. Even our enemies emulate the ways in which we express liberty and freedom of expression.

The election of Donald Trump to be our next president was far from a landslide or a mandate for right-wing extremism. Trump won the electoral college with a slender margin -- less than 100,000 votes spread across a few states. If not for that slender margin, if not for a Democratic party that lost its way, and if not for a right-wing media juggernaut -- organized around the axis of Fox News -- that vilified Hillary Clinton for decades, we would be having a completely different conversation.

Of course, we have to address the fact before us: Donald Trump will soon be inaugurated as the next president of the United States. The next few years will not be easy ones here, but remember: the force of American culture is bigger than any single influence.

The United States is a liberal, constitutional democracy.

The correct way to address our shared challenges is through cooperation, recognizing the interdependence and complexities of post-industrial economies. Our common enemy is fear and the idea, contained within the idea of Trump, that authoritarianism uninformed by history and fact can enforce peace and stability.

The refugee crisis, terrorism, and economic dislocation are significant problems facing citizens in democracies. The answer is not to lump these together, bound by irrational fears.

The disinformation of the recent campaign cycle and post-fact world took us by surprise. Reversing that aberration must remain in focus.

The instabilities facing democracies around the world -- compounded by war, economic dislocation, financial bubbles, and climate change -- are real. What is not real, and what must be steadfastly opposed, is the embrace of post-fact by our politics. That embrace is immoral, unethical, and antithetical to a future that is prosperous and hopeful.

There is no question that democracy has stumbled in the United States. Our friends can help point America back to a true magnetic compass for democracy. You must.


Anonymous said...

Well written.

Anonymous said...

Hopefully some will listen. However, we are facing having a leader of the free world who suffers from a severe case of child-like ego starvation who views personal attention, and personal adulation as more important than policies, principles, values, ethos, or rule of law. His insatiable appetite for attention and approval of others, his tendency to tell lies, coupled with the enormous power that he will hold, sets us up for many constitutional crises. And the rest of the world is trying to figure out how they will survive his tenure. We will be subject to many traps, as he can be easily manipulated with ego food. The Russians have already found their soft spot. Other nations will be looking for and setting up theirs too. America has never really faced a president intent on destroying democracy as we know it. Who knows how we will fare in this threat to democratic ways of thinking and the march toward nazi-like values.