Saturday, January 2, 2021

The Trümperdämmerung

If only I had been creative enough to come up with TrümperdämmerungA clever take-off on Wagner's Götterdämmerung  (the closing opera of the "Ring" cycle), which literally means "twilight of the gods," and which has come to refer to situations of apocalyptic-like destruction marked by widespread chaos. And while, of course, we will all likely survive this Trümperdämmerung, its apocalyptic-like character and attendant chaos - and the longterm consequences thereof - should not be minimized.

"Is there anyone left," Glasser asks, "who is surprised that the President is careening through the last days of his Administration with a reckless disdain that simply has no precedent in American public life? Still, the hardest thing to accept is that 2020 is not merely the year that Donald Trump’s luck ran out but that with it the country’s did, too. Sadly and yet inevitably, this terrible, wretchedly toxic year of pandemic death and economic distress, of partisan hatred and national protest, is the culmination of all that Trump has wrought and all that he is."

So here we are now, at the start of 2021, with Trump's sycophants (aka the Republican Party) still undermining the democratic process as we approach the final act in the electoral drama - the normally staid and perfunctory congressional counting of the electoral votes on January 6. What do Senator Josh Hawley and his accomplices actually expect to accomplish by their intended stunt, other than demonstrating their complete subservience to their Dear Leader? What does it say about the GOP's contempt for simple facts that congressmen have no problem (obviously) acknowledging the honesty of their own elections, while willing to call into question the same voters' votes for president?

But, more important, what will be the long-term effects of this undermining of a significant segment of the population's faith in elections? Will we ever be able to go back to elections as usual? Certainly we haven't ever been able to go back to the less polarized, more bi-partisan, more functional congressional politics of the pre-Gingrich era. Once the norms and values that traditionally undergirded political civility have been undermined, can they ever be recovered?

That is the long-term national Dämmerung of this Trümperdämmerung,

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