autocracy

In the summer of 1969, I was in the South of France, visiting my cousins, when Neal Armstrong took a stroll on the moon.

The event blew my mind.  I’m not very technically savvy, so it was beyond my comprehension that something like that could be accomplished.  And it made me think that our world, and our country, were extremely advanced.

More than 50 years have gone by and it is abundantly clear how wrong I was.  Let’s just look at the start of the year 2021.

Mass shootings in the United States in the first five months of the year have reached an all time record of 321 as I write this column on Sunday night.

Thousands of people around the world are still dying of Covid-19 because we can’t get vaccines to them fast enough and some people are just too stupid to take the dangers seriously.

Racists and misogynists and anti-Semites have come out of the closet.

Worst of all, Autocracy has surpassed Democracy worldwide and authoritarianism is rampant.  According to the US House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, this is the most trying time for democracy worldwide since the 1930’s, when racism spread across Europe.

Ironically, one of the factors for this is the advance of technology, which instead of enabling  a free exchange of ideas are increasingly being used by populists and other extreme voices to amplify their messages.

Autocrats around the world have learned from the likes of Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, Russia’s Vladimir Putin, and Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who are democratically elected and then use their power to manipulate the system to distort the will of their countrymen.

We are heading towards a moment of truth in our country unlike anything that I have ever experienced in my lifetime.  The midterm elections in the United States in 2022 will tell us a great deal about where our democracy is headed.

Generally speaking, midterm elections favor the minority party.  Now we are engaged in a ridiculous situation in which politics has taken over for principle in the Republican Party and Senators and Congressmen who personally despise Trump will not dare to speak their true feelings because their priority is to get reelected.

With this in mind, the Republican Party has succeeded in making it much more difficult to vote in many states, but hopefully this will inspire a backlash that will get many more progressive voters to the polls.

Of course, there is the chance that Trump will be on trial in New York or Florida and even Federal courts before that happens and that will give Republicans a very tough dilemma in deciding to vote on their principles as Mitt Romney and Liz Chaney continue to do or to sell their souls to the man who neutral non-political historians will deem to be one of the most corrupt Presidents in the history of the United States of America.