The Coronavirus Diaries, 7th January 2020

Last night I took down the cards, the various decorations and the lights that I only have at Christmas. I have left the flamingo lights, one set of white lights in the hall, and I am still burning candles, though a reduced number. Then I turned on the television to watch the news. It wasn’t quite what I expected. Like much of the world I suspect, I was slack jawed in amazed disbelief at the scenes from Washington. It was like some dystopian film. A mob, really I cannot bring myself to dignify them by calling them protesters, swarming around, threatening, breaking and intimidating; braggarts, white supremacists, conspiracy theorists, while inside the building elected representatives were told to reach for their gas masks. Trump, from the safety of the White House egged on his followers, repeating over and over the lies about the election being stolen from him, about voter fraud. It was fascism in action. Ugly, dangerous, deluded.

Where were the police? Apparently close by, the lights of their cars flashing, but as so many have commented already their softly softly approach was markedly different to the one they took against a peaceful Black Lives Matter protest in the summer.

As I said a few days ago, I have been reading Lustrum by Robert Harris. I finished it and began the next book in the series, Dictator. So in the afternoon I had read about Clodius having lost a vote telling his supporters he had won, and encouraging them to violence. These events took place over 2,000 years ago, but the methods employed by Trump are the same. The will of the people is evoked, when it’s mob rule. How the US is going to heal itself I can’t imagine. And of course it’s not just the US, this populism is currently widespread. After the referendum here in 2016 we saw acts of violence, of hatred committed by nationalists with racist and xenophobic agendas proclaiming they were taking back their country, that they were patriotic. I have often written that patriotism and nationalism are not the same. Patriotism is love of country, but nationalism requires an enemy, a bogeyman it can attack. So it finds one, makes one up, spins lies and fear.

I shall be interested in how this plays out. Will Republicans who have stayed silent now speak up and condemn Trump, or are they willing to sacrifice their country’s honour and defend him? If the latter, it would seem to be because they believe Trump’s supporters will only vote for their party if it sanctions their extreme views. They will be ruled by the mob. We have seen here how the Conservative party, frightened by the support Ukip was enjoying, pandered to the far right. It hasn’t worked out well. It’s a time for people to stand up and be brave, to build bridges, and to be principled. Giving into nationalists and thinking they can somehow be controlled has not worked in the past – look at Hitler – it’s not going to work now.

Stay safe. Keep well. Pray for democracy.

23 thoughts on “The Coronavirus Diaries, 7th January 2020

  1. I completely subscribe your views.
    I think it’s a very critical turnout not just for the USA but for the entire world as the populism is dangerously widespread all over our planet. There are so many political leaders of democratical countries that are now leaning and sliding into populism and authoritarian ruling…!

  2. I aagree about nationalism, because many of his supporters treat him like a god, and it’s scary. It’s scary, because you can’t reason with them about their rhetoric that’s false, you can’t show them the truth, they blindly follow the blind. And they willingly ignore history.

    • Reason does not come into it. There was a very interesting programme here, a one off I think, but if there are more I should like to see them, fronted by Ian Hislop about the history of fake news which stretches back over a century. Many people hear what they want to hear, believe what they want to believe. The facts don’t enter into it. All the same I was quite shocked by John Bolton claiming that four years ago no one foresaw what a disaster Trump would be. Does he think we really have such short memories? I remember feeling as though I had been punched in the stomach when I heard the news of Trump’s election. It was obvious he was not a lot person to hold any post of responsibility, let alone POTUS. Not sure if you can access this link, but will put it here in case. https://twitter.com/Channel4News/status/1347648018024177666?s=20

  3. I am trying to write a post on the subject but am exhausted. I am convinced that the major institutions of our democracy are strong enough to withstand the destructive traitors to our constitution and country. What I really want is for there to be a just punishment for all of those who have broken laws. The best news of the day is that Trump has been blocked by all the major social media platforms and I think that journalists are making the decision not to give him the attention he craves. Journalists have my undying gratitude for continuing to report the chaos and truth even when their lives are threatened.

    • As I said to Pat, I have been catching up on podcasts on the BBC, Americast. Not only is it informing me, it’s cheering me. The reporters do not play down the seriousness of what has been happening, but there is humour. It has made me consider how humourless Trump etc are. They take themselves very seriously, they snipe and are snide, but they never laugh. There is no joy, no warmth. You might want to try it. It’s available worldwide on BBC Sounds.

  4. Thanks for the link!
    Unfortunately I am all too familiar with that sort of political behaviour and am very worried that it is so widely spread within democratic countries. It’s a horror!!!

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