The chaos that’s engulfed the US in the wake of the 2020 presidential election merely reflects the chaos of a broken society that is headed on a rocket ship to hell. Despite Biden and his supporters’ attempts to salve the deep wounds and fissures that disfigure any of the national myths about diversity, harmony, ‘out of many one’ (E pluribus unum), and other such idealistic sentiments, the brute reality has been unmasked by Trump to the point where placing the mask of civility and decency back on the face of America appears an increasingly impossible task.
Just consider the following:
The fact that despite Trump’s open disregard for science and the truth; the fact that despite sanctioning the cruel and barbaric separation of migrant children from their parents and their detention in cages at the US border with Mexico; the fact that despite his courting of conspiracy theory lunacy, his open detestation of racial justice and support for racist policing and racial profiling; and despite his shambolic engagement with Covid19, culminating in his public suggestion of bleach as a viable treatment for the virus — the fact that despite all this and more some 70 million Americans still cast a vote for the incumbent in this election reveals nothing if not the diseased state of America’s soul at the start of the third decade of the 21st century.
This is a country in which millions love their guns, believe the animals entered Noah’s Ark two by two, and cherish their hate. It’s a land in which paranoia, the apotheosis of violence, evermore militarised police departments, a burgeoning prison population, a gargantuan gap between rich and poor, and an ocean of false consciousness cultivated by assorted shock jocks and hate preachers, thrives.
Trump and his inner circle are rallying the troops — a motley and dangerous crew of gun nuts and wing nuts — with who knows what consequences, while Biden and his are calling for calm. The chasm between both is an index of the chasm that separates a country that appears to be imploding in front of our eyes.
And this they call the home of liberty and land of the free.
No serious student of history will be surprised at this turn of events either. We are after all talking about country that was born in genocide, sucked at the teat of the slavery in its infancy, and has grown into a violent juggernaut sowing death and despair at home and overseas.
No empire departs the stage of history without a struggle, and it will no different with this American Empire, the most violent and destructive the world has known. For China, Russia, Iran, Cuba, Venezuela — for all those countries that have a vested interest in managing America’s imperial decline — the societal unrest and upheaval that is underway will come as a salutary lesson in the folly of believing that American democracy is anything other than a system of organised hypocrisy. When Malcolm X opined that “They put your mind right in a bag, and take it wherever they want,” he understood the role of the dominant cultural values in a society whose chains may be invisible but are cast iron nonetheless.
In the last analysis, America not Covid is the disease for which the world desperately needs a cure.