Thursday, January 06, 2022

Is the USA ready for a civil war/dictatorship/revolution?

On the first anniversary of the invasion of the US Capitol on January 6th 2021, it's extraordinary how may articles I have read recently about the crisis of politics and identity that the United States finds itself in.

You might think that the Capitol riots were the nadir of American politics, that they marked the end of the influence and the mischief of Donald atrump, and that there was no other way but up after them. But many of these articles maintain that things have actually become worse in the intervening year.

Some articles openly predict a new civil war in the increasing beleaguered and benighted country, that indeed it has already begun. Others are predicting a right-wing dictatorship in America by 2030 (and that dictator probably may or may not be Donald Trump). Or that the United States is entering into the gravest political and constitutional crisis since the (first) Civil War, with the expectation of mass violence, a breakdown of federal authority, and an inevitable division into irreconcilable factions. Even a new revolution may not be out of the question.

It's certainly true that America has probably never been more polarized (that's almost entirely on Donald Trump). Trust in government is at an all-time low; the judiciary has been co-opted by the political right and grows less legitimate by the day; armed ultra-right militias stand ready for the word to strike; economic and political inequality continues to rise unabated; democratic voting institutions and rules are being wilfully dismantled, and policies putting place in some red states that deliberately undermine democratic representation; politicians and election supervisors regularly receive death threats; lurid and improbable conspiracy theories abound. Consensus has bever been further away, and democracy does seem to be in the process of unravelling there.

But a civil war? A revolution? A right-wing dictatorship? Is this just journalistic hyperbole, political shock tactics? Maybe, but most of these articles are deadly serious, and not just engaging in flights of metaphorical fancy. It's certainly going to be an interesting few years.

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