Saturday, December 10, 2016

Another Election, Or A Step Back From The Brink?

First Brexit, then Trump.  And everyone was waiting to see if Austria, the birth country of Adolf Hitler, would follow suit.

Only, it didn't.

Who knows?  Austria's history is a litany of failure when it comes to fascism's historic ancestor, empire.  Perhaps there is enough political memory in the population to overrule the kind of madness that has swept first Britain and now the U.S..  Perhaps it's not so much that as it is--or was--the specifics on the ground:  the candidates, the parties, an economy very heavily dependant on tourism and therefore especially sensitive to international opinion.  It's problematic at best to use the results of elections in one country to try to understand the results in other.  Or, for that matter, to try to predict the results of the next one.

This much can be said, apart from the fact that the Austrian results offer a small note of cheer in what is otherwise a bleak landscape in international politics:  nothing is inevitable, especially when it comes to elections.

It's hard to look at Donald Trump and make peace with the fact that, for at least the next four years, this charlatan is going to be responsible for our destiny in an uncertain world.  But that's all the more reason not to give up, especially when you remember that his percentage of the popular note equals that of Michael Dukakis in 1988.  Remember his Administration?  Yeah, me neither.

Trump doesn't represent most of us.  Most of us are better than that.  And the world needs what most of us have to offer.  So take a tip from Austria:  don't follow the crowd.  Follow your head, and your heart.  If all of us do that, we just may get through this, and come out on the other side of this disaster to pick up the thread of our destiny again, and follow it.

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