02 June 2020

The Republic of Gilead

For a long time we were going away from Gilead and then we turned around and started going back towards Gilead.
Margaret Atwood


It got summery, hot even. We sleep with our windows wide open. There's night scented stock mixed with the smell of dry lawn. I listen. To the artist in the corner house across, she is in one of her manic phases, shouting curses at the moon, banging doors and kicking something down her front path. To the engineer from Palestine, smoking on his balcony, laughing on the phone to his brother in Australia. To the river barges' chuck chuck chuck down on the river. A baby wakes up briefly in one of the terraced houses behind us.

I am thinking, unconnected night thoughts.
Of something a friend mentioned during a conversation, when does a democracy  become an autocracy. Do we even notice? What if looting is all the power you have left in a constant state of injustice? But listen, she said, people see what they want to see. And many prefer to get upset about broken shop windows rather than the real reasons people are taking to the streets. I just can't imagine that this will suddenly change. It's been way too long for that.
(We both sighed, not really involved, but.)

Earlier after dinner, watching the news, I mentioned Gilead and R laughs, you have been watching too many TV series. Checks and balances, come on. But there's this nagging thought, when does a democracy turn into an autocracy and do we even notice, watching from afar? Can democracy across the Atlantic survive with four more years of this shit, kleptocracy, nepotism, corruption? What do I know.



13 comments:

  1. I'm asking myself the same questions. We are shocked here. Dismayed. Scared. What will the future hold for us? The whole world is watching, and we are trembling on a precipice. November... it all comes down to November.

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  2. Something good will survive, no matter what happens next. You've given me much to think about this afternoon.

    What does it mean when only approximately 55.7% of the people in our democracy vote, which means that approximately 28% of the people elect our president every four years, and half of the voters, for as long as I can remember, are always deeply dismayed by the current administration. As terrible as things are now, I can only hope that the people who didn't think their vote mattered will vote for sanity in the 2020 election.

    Who are the 44% who didn't vote in the last election? If they were to vote, who would they vote for? I wonder if the 44% don't see any evidence that either party will make any difference in their lives.

    https://tcf.org/content/commentary/making-economic-case-15-minimum-wage/?agreed=1

    According to the above, 42% of Americans make less than $15/hr and struggle to pay their bills whether the administration is Republican or Democrat. They are the essential workers. That block of voters, some of whom may have not felt that their vote counted or that they had time to vote, could be the ones to turn the tide. And yet, even with a different administration, our country's problems of inequality are not going away.

    Who knows? I don't. But I'm not without hope.

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  3. Been wondering and fretting on similar topics. Why worry about something that may never happen? Is it possible to not worry? If anyone has the secret, let me in on it.

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  4. One simple answer - and it seems to work for both the USA and the UK - is when a majority of the electorate decides to embrace tyranny. It is as well to remind ourselves that all is not doom and gloom in the US; there are people who are not out on the streets who enjoy the sight of spewing tear-gas cylinders and burning cars. Give'em a bloody nose! That'll teach the suckers! Identifying just who the suckers are isn't a priority; destruction is seen as a form of progress for those whose education was even worse than mine. Hard to intellectualise those guys, the sort that give anarchy a bad name. But, alas, no country is entirely immune.

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  5. My only hope is that some of Trump's base will not vote for him, secretly ashamed of having put such a monster in office.
    It's not a big hope but it's a hope.

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  6. I don't think it can last 4 more years. But it can last 4 more months. Or until January 20, 2021 when President Biden is inaugurated. This must happen. The alternative is unthinkable.

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  7. I don't know. I am scared all the time these days. If I were a religious person, I'd be praying for something catastrophic to happen to Trump and his minions.

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  8. The USA has been headed toward Gilead for a long time, actually -- decades. After all, Margaret Atwood wrote "The Handmaid's Tale" in the '80s, so she must have been seeing something that alarmed her, right? We're simply inching closer and closer these days. I think we've already seen Democracy steadily subverted by money and corporate influence, among other things.

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  9. When I think it can't get worse, it does. As we comforted ourselves and each other during the massive shutdown, we now have the simmering of rage that has followed every generation of Americans because we are founded on genocide and racism. It is part of our collective unconscious. It is the wealth some of us enjoy. We are here literally standing on the backs and bones of oppressed and murdered First Nations people and enslaved humans. And it's caught up with us. Here we are.

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  10. I feel sick watching the news or reading it. It seems the world has reached a new low and yet I know this is not true. The world has been much worse in the past and will be again the future. It's awful to live through, to feel powerless and hopeless.

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  11. Democracy turned to autocracy on Monday night when Trump called out the military "to dominate" his own nation's people. It turned to autocracy when he told police to shoot looters. It has already happened and we were looking on with open eyes, powerless to hold back the red tide.

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  12. we are indeed on the precipice. Trump getting more extreme in his panic may actually help us. maybe. people don't like seeing American troops turned on Americans and I read there is supposed to be a million people descending on Washington Saturday. maybe that's why he had them put up another tall fence around the White House. this country, our democracy won't survive another four years of Trump and his republican enablers with a majority in either house.

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  13. Your first paragraph is rich in detail, beautiful.

    I wish I were healthy enough to get out a raise my voice, my fist. Alas, the virus is keeping me watchful.

    Every day POTUS hits a new low. There is no bottom for this man. Many are worried about the state of our Union. I pray there are enough people committed to our constitutional rights that we many preserve our country. But yeah, what do I know?

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