interesting times

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By TADEU VALADARES*

Reflections on what we can expect from the years Biden-Kamala

I suspect that the Biden-Kamala years will be the explanation that the American dream that comes from New Deal sold out. Biden, my impression, the last purely restorative attempt, a project that only by the grace of fortune will succeed. A return to Obama, a move forward with eyes fixed on the recent past is, in essence, the core of Biden's platform and his vice-president. This seems impossible to me, given the irremediable polarization that has been installed within the US political regime for decades.

The imperial republic has gradually become, at least since Reagan, the real country in which half of the voters belong overwhelmingly to the Liberal Democrat camp, for him carrying a fraction of the left, itself widely diverse. Many, almost all, the left wing in this appearing as a partial exception, remain animated by faith in the exceptionalism of the New Jerusalem. Meanwhile, the other half of the electorate was built and built in such a way that it ended up asserting itself as an extreme nationalist, reactionary, xenophobic and authoritarian that continues to gain strength. Another American dream. Another nightmare.

Election data is crystal clear. They, the xenophobes, know that their chance is now, that is, they are experiencing the moment of catastrophic balance that allows them to make explicit the hitherto unthinkable for the former silent majority, hence the brutes resort to all possible legal and anti-legal means. to continue to control the executive power. For neo-authoritarians, the liberal-democratic American dream is over. What has been naively celebrated as the great turn towards the rediscovered 'tocquevillian' democracy closes its eyes to reality: the barbarism movement unleashed with all its might by Trump, an engender that by a hair's breadth failed to maintain control of the White House , already has the most important institution in its hands, if we think in the long term, the Supreme Court. Six of its nine members are considered close to, or even aligned with, the “Trumpian” view of the world.

The elections decided shot by shot, whose results have not yet been recognized by the losing side, say that Biden's triumph should not be read as a safe reaffirmation of the Obama proposal, as a viable correction of the course that is here to stay, in this taking root. Rather, in my view, they proclaim something opposite, something increasingly evident: the extremist movement has become an ineradicable tumor, increasingly capable of corroding the founding myths of democracy as historically conceived by the Founding Fathers. Trumpism, with or without Trump, has reached new heights in the freak show. The popular emotions that frightened the French politician became extreme right-wing popular passions that should startle those who still live in the previous oneiric universe.

From about 50 years onwards, the assault on Tocqueville's liberal democratic tradition has been confirmed. This operation, started long before Trump, has to do with Goldwater, Nixon, Reagan, the Tea Party, the Clintons and more. The more extremist side of an extremist movement was vocalized and magnified by Trump, the leader who, although defeated, remains in control of Lincoln's party. From the White House, the president remains recalcitrant, does not give up and flees forward: he pushes as much as he can the dynamics of tearing up the social body. Kantorovicz would say that the king's mystical body begins to stink.

Half a century ago, right-wing extremism emerged from the box in which the mythical Pandora of the Declaration of Independence imprisoned it. Today, it has its own life and organic development. Over the past few years, it has become a power factor whose effectiveness is measured by generational time. Trump can disappear; Trumpism does not. In other words, even if the hitherto undisputed leader of the republicans leaves the scene (murder, illness, whatever), the movement that preceded him and will survive him has the conditions to at least keep on the war footing, and to , in this keeping, blocking the restorative project as the maximum bet of the establishment democrat.

To see how the political system will be, four more years. In the meantime, 2022 is already in sight as the moment when the USA will perhaps experience the 'midterm elections' most dark clouds in its entire history. The US faces a string of turning points, another sign of the breadth and depth of the overall crisis.

Meanwhile, China is asserting itself as a great rising power, Putin's Russia is getting stronger, the Global South is experiencing more and more frequent social and political explosions, and Europe, like the USA, is losing the Enlightenment course, a thread that has been frayed for so long. , but today even more reduced to the weak form of the false, to that which still seeks to justify what remains of the founding myth of nineteenth-century European hegemony, the burden of the white man. Neoliberalism triumphed while the right-wing extremism that is related to it took shape. From this triumph emerges his failure, coded in complete uncertainty about the future. Simultaneously, he created his gravediggers. In the midst of the planetary crisis, the old moles return transmuted.

Interesting times, the Chinese wish those they see as opponents or enemies. We are living in interesting times, we who are neither adversaries nor enemies. And from them, another irony in the history of this global disaster in which the pandemic works as a powerful magnifying glass, no one will escape. Not even the Chinese.

*Tadeu Valadares is a retired ambassador.

 

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