Although everything currently unfolding has been predicted far in advance, denialism continues to flourish. Many people are drawing incorrect conclusions with regard to Trump’s strategies and discounting the crisis before us.
But now, more than ever, we need a clearsighted approach to defeat Trump.
This thread is meant to clear up key questions and to highlight crucial strategic considerations at play.
Let’s first be clear about the two distinct but interrelated problems facing our country: (1) a potentially successful coup by Trump and (2) the risk of civil conflict. I will address each of these issues in turn.
While Biden’s victory is thrilling, the difficult truth is that our country remains as polarized as ever. Take a moment to review the rhetoric emanating from the opposing side, and this fact will be obvious.
Moreover, while we keep hearing that “the people have spoken,” Biden won with just 51 percent of the popular vote. Many citizens who did not vote for Biden remain adamantly opposed to him.
While it is enticing to gloat in the victory of one’s political tribe, we also need to swallow a dose of reality and remain focused on the road ahead.
The electoral triumph is a critical first step in paving a better future—but that is all.
“One day, when this nightmare is over, we will need a Truth, Justice, and Reconciliation Commission. In the Commission, among other things, we will have to ask ourselves hard questions about the conditions that have allowed extremism to take hold.”
“Already, a pre-autopsy of how Trump took over America highlights crucial issues. Most of all, the greatest danger is not Trump himself. The greatest danger is the wedge that exists within our society.”
“At present, we have already progressed to a late stage of the crisis that our country faces. Our nation is essentially in a state of tribal warfare, with two competing camps that have entirely different conceptions of reality.”
“I do not wish to re-open old wounds, but I would like to revisit the 2017 events in Charlottesville—because they are illustrative of many of this treatise's observations. It is my hope that readers will consider this case study with an open mind.”
“To understand how we arrived at our present circumstances—and how the progressive movement may have done better in forestalling this scenario—we also need to more deeply examine the origins of extremist hate.”
“Hate does not arise in a vacuum. Hate arises from known conditions, especially severe inequality, which predispose certain populations to extremism. It is these conditions which make a population vulnerable to exploitation by a demagogue.”
“Instead of speaking to the grievances of Trump's base of supporters—many of which overlap with the grievances of other vulnerable groups—the Democrats have fallen for every ploy laid by Trump over the past four years.”
“We can hate a person's speech without hating the person. In fact, we can hate a person's speech even while loving the person. Our discourse and debate must fundamentally revolve around ideas, not persons.”
“The progressive movement has a challenging path to navigate. In particular, we must think critically about how to achieve long-overdue social justice in a fashion that is and that feels inclusive for all groups in society.”
“The imposition of systems and values is rarely effective by itself and can even be counterproductive. While our society needs rules to govern human behavior, communities also must come to moral values on their own.”
“Because cities hold the source of power, much of rural white America is left feeling that its culture and status have been progressively eroded. This perception, combined with economic decline, feeds a bleak worldview.”
“Thus far, my commentary on denialism has primarily addressed a relatively short-term version of this disease: our denial of our country's current authoritarian path, and our denial that we may now be headed toward mass atrocity.”
“However, this denialism has much deeper roots. In fact, the denialism stretches back many years, beginning with the progressive movement's denial of the existence and legitimacy of a large swath of the country.”