Our planet has never been a place of exemplary societal stability. It is a constantly evolving place, and we, its people, change with it — sometimes to our betterment, and sometimes to our detriment.
Today, as our world faces its greatest changes and challenges in recent times, it’s more critical than ever that we do everything in our power to ensure we change for better, not worse.
I’ll get straight to the point: democracy is under threat. Actually, that’s an understatement — democracy is under attack, and it’s under attack in the United States by the President of the United States. I cannot emphasise enough how concerning it is that we are even having discussions about whether or not the President of the United States will peacefully leave office if he does not win re-election.
While it would be simple for me to say that Donald Trump, a contemptible halfwit with neither a moral compass nor ability to lead is incapable of destroying democracy — the devastating reality is that he absolutely is, and is doing just that right now. If Joe Biden doesn’t win the presidency, I genuinely fear that it will be too late to heal the damage that Trump has inflicted on American society and the global community at large.
This is, of course, the natural problem with democratic societies: we choose our own paths, and sometimes those paths are bad. That’s not at all to say that I think democracy is bad, but rather to point out what is one of its most fundamental flaws. In the words of Winston Churchill, “democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time”.
As I’ve pointed out to numerous people throughout this year, the parallels between Trump’s America and Hitler’s Germany in the 1930’s are staggering — explained excellently by Dana Milbank in his Washington Post op-ed “This is not a drill. The Reichstag is burning.” in September.
Fortunately, the constitutional safeguards which exist in the United States (especially the Supreme Court) make it difficult for Trump to unilaterally gain power in a similar fashion to Hitler. Nonetheless, the comparison is terrifying and a true indicator of how bad things have become in the land of the free.
I don’t like to be an alarmist, but I really do believe that there’s a lot at stake here, not just for the United States, but for our global society and its future.
The comforting reality is that Donald Trump will be gone at some point in the near future, but the forces that elevated him to power and his legacy will not. Removing these deep-rooted and pervasive forces will not be easy. It will take time. There will be resistance. But if we try, we will.
We have an entire generation of young people who have, for the first time in history, been not just allowed but empowered to educate themselves, to know right from wrong, to identify social inequalities, to fight for change. What is crucial now is that we take hold of that power, and hold authority to account. Taking hold of our future depends on us caring about it — if we can’t do that, we’re in deep, deep trouble.
We must stand up. We must make our voices heard. We must educate ourselves. We must vote. We must fight like our lives depend on it — because they do. Living a quiet life of complacency and blind acceptance is no longer an option. Democracy is under attack, and it’s up to us to protect it.
Frankly, I haven’t got the faintest idea what the outcome of Wednesday’s election will be. I do know there will be deep civil unrest. I do know there won’t be a result right away. But, I do not know what lies at the end of this road.
I suppose all I can say is this: in the coming days and weeks, may democracy win.