What we could do, should do and will do are unfortunately different.
I’m not surprised that the S. Koreans forced a president out through mass demonstration. When I lived there there were protests of one sort or another every weekend. And while the cops showed up in riot gear needing a large number of armored city busses to get there (which they used as strategically placed barricades), the protestors showed up too. Farmers were particularly pissed while I was there and would travel into the city en masses and weren’t intimidated by the police. Their favorite “weapon” was a handful of fish offal and a sprinkle of fertilizer in a plastic bag that had some head space. They’d leave them in the sun during the week and bring them along to chuck at cops.
Nobody’s injured by a rot ballon, but when they pop they’re capable of inducing mass vomiting. My point being that I can’t see Americans behaving similarly and that’s the fundamental problem.
There’s a recent article somewhere about how Biden still believes in the Senate. He’s not alone in believing in the institutions we’ve decided define us. But Trump has shattered all of illusions that those institutions are real. He’s shown that most of what thought was our system of government and administration were unwritten rules that can be ignored, flaunted and ridiculed. He wouldn’t be able to get away with it if those institutions had been actual prior to his presidency.
They were gone a long time ago, if they ever truly existed. But the power players pretended they mattered. In just the last twenty years we have tortured, committed war crimes, destroyed millions of families through deportation , pillaged the collective wealth of the nation for the benefit of a very few and a handful of other things I’m forgetting. … wait, include hundreds of thousands of lives shattered by war’s wound both physical and psychological (and that’s just to our own people).
If those hallowed institutions meant anything or were truly honored by the last – at least 16 years of presidents before Trump – there wouldn’t be Trump. We’re not going back. And it wasn’t ok enough before trump to just go back anyhow.
That doesn’t mean that there’s no hope for the future. If i wasn’t so cynical, I’d hold out hope that we might follow trump’s lead and dispense with the myths we’ve told ourselves. W said the Constitution is just a piece of paper; he wasn’t supposed to say that out loud but he was right. Our “moderation” rooted in an irrational belief that our institutions as we imagine them will save us from our most base and rotten instincts is exactly what binds us to a future more bleak than the present.
And to free ourselves isn’t treasonous revolution. It’s simply recognizing that the constitution is just a piece of paper. We don’t have to play by Mitch McConnel’s rules. We don’t even have to agree with me that the whole thing was a set up and this is exactly how it’s always operated because that’s how it was designed. We simply have to agree that we have the responsibility to fashion a more perfect union if we insist on pledging allegiance to a government of, for and by the people.
I don’t have the foggiest idea whether we achieve that by dropping out and refusing to participate in the game rigged for almost all of us to lose, or whether we need to head out into the streets and demand what’s ours. For all I know we need be set upon each other in violent clash or separate into a handful of smaller groups. I only know that the way forward can only take difficult lessons learned from the past. The future cannot be yesterday because it wasn’t good enough before unless we willfully ignored the rot.