Taking the Long View Against Authoritarianism


Heerlen           I didn’t watch the debate, On a seven-hour time difference, I was on a radio board meeting at midnight and turned off the light at 1AM.  Truth to tell, I wouldn’t have watched them even if I had been home.  Debates are not my thing.  I find them unpleasant. The old warning applies, especially in this debate, that if you are going to get in the mud with a pig, you’re going to get dirty, and the pig likes it.

Nonetheless, I woke up to the blaring headlines, handwringing, and gnashing of teeth in my homeland.  Predictably, the Times’ Friedman and Kristoff were the first rats to jump the ship and throw the captain overboard.  Given the consistent errors of their advice and demonstration of their biases, my first knee jerk reaction would be to take an opposite position with full confidence that the odds were totally with me, given their record.  Please remind me, exactly how badly did Kristoff lose his effort to be elected as governor in Oregon recently?  Oh, right, he lost it before the voters even had a chance because in his arrogance, he thought he could bypass the residency requirement of three years to qualify to run.

None of it matters to me.  I’m clear where I stand.  We have to fight against authoritarianism, wherever it arises, whether in the US or abroad.  I’m good with Biden.  Simply put, he’s been the best president, when it comes to working and lower income Americans in my lifetime, certainly since Lyndon Johnson, and he has had no Vietnam’s.  I’m good with Kamala Harris, California’s governor, or an old mangy dog.  I’m against authoritarianism and for more democracy.  I’m not naïve.  There’s no perfect candidate, party, or program. I’m comfortable knowing we have to vote against anyone, everyone, and the horses they came in on, when they oppose the efforts to protect democracy and promote one-person rule.

Yes, I know the EU elections broke to the right.  I follow what’s happening in France.  I saw the results of the last election, and the new government in the Netherlands.  People aren’t happy.  Who can blame them?

But I also don’t want to be swept up in the elite worry and media machinations when it comes to their fear of the people and democracy.  I take the long view, and I’ve got recent evidence on the short haul.  Read the papers, and India’s Modi was going to mop up in India, and instead he lost more than 50 seats and had to form a coalition government, curbing his plans.  Netanyahu is terrible, but he only returned after voters forced him into a narrow coalition government, albeit with rightwing extremists.  How about Erdoğan in Turkey who also has had his wings clipped including losing in Istanbul and Ankara?  Even Hungary’s Viktor Orban, the hero of America’s conservatives, has been humbled by the voters.  UK’s Conservatives after fourteen years of “forever” government are now in for a drubbing.

Leaders come and go, some better or worse than others, but the people united can never be defeated.  I’ll stand hard on my ground, and we’ll see what the voters say in November, and go from there.  They only win, and we only lose, when we stop fighting.