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OP-ED: The countdown to annihilation

  • Published at 07:59 pm October 3rd, 2020
Hoax no more REUTERS

Despite what happens in November, the US may be beyond repair

The year 2020 has been a whirlwind year for the world in general, and nowhere has this been more apparent than in the realm of American politics. The year started with them almost kicking off WWIII in the Middle East with a high-profile assassination that appeared to be something right out of the movies.

Then began the long-awaited impeachment process for Donald Trump, which surprisingly fizzled out with a whimper. Then the president started supporting pseudo-science and giving credence to the conspiracy theory that the coronavirus was nothing but a hoax. Then the Black Lives Matter protests erupted, exposing the American social undercurrents that were hidden from the public eye since the conclusion of the Civil War. 

Now, just as we are approaching the November elections that have been termed by both Liberals and Conservatives as “the election of the century,” Trump has tested positive for the coronavirus, a supposed “hoax” which is “not a big deal.” 

Quite predictably, his wife is infected as well, alongside who knows who in the process. They will be kept in isolation for a minimum of two weeks, which would mean that it would already be the end of October before Trump can campaign again. With this, and with his messaging about the pandemic being defeated being undermined, it should be smooth sailing for Biden as the November elections roll around.

Or that is what one would think with the whole unravelling of the matter. Unfortunately, reality is not that simple, and a Biden win would mean nothing in the face of the beast that Trump has given a voice to, a beast all the past presidents played a role in giving birth to.

First things first. Trump’s claims that the pandemic is a hoax have been undermined a long time ago. Even though he claimed repeatedly that the pandemic was a hoax and it was safe to open up, the numbers consistently disagreed with him. This took a more dire turn when some of the schools of the nation did open, which led to more teachers and students testing positive for Covid-19. 

But none of the people who supported Trump bought these statistics. Instead, they either disbelieved the statistics altogether, or downplayed their significance. And while Trump contracting the coronavirus should convince them of its deadliness, things can take a far deadlier turn as well.

The supporters of Trump are characterized by their paranoid religious zeal and the tendency to believe conspiracy theories, and for the whole of Trump’s term, they have believed that Trump was a soldier of God himself, and the global order would do anything to undermine him, and undermine God’s plan in general. 

Plenty of them are avid followers of QAnon, a group that has given a voice to many of these conspiracy theories. They are more famous for the Pizzagate conspiracy theory, where they talk about a global elite order that are anti-Christian, Satanists, and pedophiles. Just recently, Chrissy Teigen -- the spouse of John Legend -- came out with the news that their baby couldn’t see the light of the world due to a pregnancy loss. QAnon accounts came out in droves stating that it was all staged. 

Over a million accounts had to be banned by Teigen in order to escape their wrath. QAnon supporters can even be found in the ranks of theoretically decent people like police officers and security officials. So it is no reach to say that followers of QAnon are in the millions, and they make a large portion of Trump’s base.

What this means is that now that Trump is suffering from the disease, QAnon supporters can make up some more conspiracy theories about how this is a ploy by global elites to take power away from Trump. As things stood with white supremacist groups like the Proud Boys, the supporters of Trump wouldn’t concede to a loss even under normal circumstances as well. 

And now that Trump has contracted the coronavirus, there is no telling what the beast would do and the beast would say to justify its actions. And if he somehow succumbs to the disease, we would only be so lucky if all hell doesn’t break loose.

But let’s say things play out fine, and Trump loses the election. Then Biden would take the White House and everything would be right in the world again, right? Again, it’s not so simple. 

Even with Trump gone, the beast that has reared its head in America would not die. It is the same kind of beast that can be seen across the world, a beast that has been bred between the gaps of neo-liberal capitalism, a beast that lay in waiting as our useless statistics tried to prove that all was right in the world. 

It’s a beast that we bred while praising Obama, even though he enacted a lot of the same policies as Trump and his incessant drone attacks on Middle Eastern nations. It’s a beast we have bred while cancelling people for their sexist and misogynist views, yet ignoring the structural and cultural practices that made them misogynistic in the first place. Growing evidence shows that there is a causal link between poverty and extremism, and poverty and destabilization have seen plenty of growth due to predatory globalization fueled by neo-liberal economic policies. 

In short, the November election is important, but even if it is won, it would be a small skirmish. The real battle has to be started in the communities, in all our communities. If it is not, then it will only take another Trump, Modi, or Erdogan for the whole world to go up in flames. 

Nafis Shahriar is a freelance contributor.