My, my, something’s happening in democratic slumberland. Black protests, that far too often are bludgeoned down, with the participation of the occasional white – that’s nothing really new. But at least at present you can get the impression that this time the movement is broader, that it is also borne by a larger and growing number of white citizens, that “I can’t breathe” might have greater impact than “I have a dream” and “Black lives matter”. There have been many slogans and little structural change. Grand statements are being made at present as they have been before. Will this time grandiose rhetoric finally be turned into serious action?
Apart from racism a strong impetus for these protests probably is anger over the President’s reactions. Unfortunately it takes two simultaneous crises – the pandemic and a casual murder – to dramatically bring home to Americans Trump’s all too often and openly exhibited lack of character and incompetence at governance. But more than before do politicians, media people and representatives of religious groups finally dare explicitly calling the problem at the top of the state by his name. Egregious, unheard-of things are happening at the moment: Former presidents, who traditionally refrain from criticizing their successors, express their concern in unequivocally critical words. Four of them into the bargain! Even military brass, retired and active, turn against Trump, and the Secretary of Defense, Mark Esper, dares openly contradicting him, which is something Trump can neither stomach, nor is he used to this (let’s see how long Esper still holds this office). And something is dawning even on one or the other Republican, whose remnants of democratic sentiment have been slumbering for three years deep inside Trump’s dominating part of his body.
Do we see the dawn over Trump’s White House days? His intellectual twilight state will definitely remain unaffected. It probably does not even dawn on him that this time he might seriously jeopardize his re-election. But it is much too early for hope and joy. Firstly, the pressure must become even stronger, it must be kept up, and the anti-racist and anti-Trump movement must become even broader. Secondly, the economy, Trump’s only ace up his sleeve, may not recover considerably, which obviously no one can seriously hope for, in particular minorities. And thirdly, there would have to be an honest and fundamental change of thinking and a reassessment of both strategy and ideology within the Republican Party. Which, admittedly, is dangerous as the same is not to be expected of their electorate. In addition, in this patronage party far and wide not a single compelling candidate is visible that can be presented to the public – and none that would dare confronting Trump. In addition, there would be formal obstacles as the primaries are basically over.
But perhaps the United States really are at a crossroads today. Perhaps this time more people do realize that democracy needs active democrats and cast their vote. And perhaps, yes perhaps they will send Trump back to where he belongs, into the cultural wasteland of his Tower, or, all the same to me, to his golf course, where all he can ruin are the greens. It is something to be wished for in the interest of all Americans. And his followers? Well, they are free to emigrate after Trump’s defeat. To Brazil, perhaps. Or to North Korea.