“I will not tire of declaring that if we really want an effective end to violence, we must remove the violence that lies at the root of all violence: structural violence, social injustice, exclusion of citizens from the management of the country, repression. All this is what constitutes the primal cause, from which the rest flows naturally.” — Oscar Romero
Remember the good old days when you might have disagreed with a person’s politics, but you still got together over a coffee or a glass of wine because you didn’t know or impugn their motive? Thoughtful discourse with people who don’t share your opinions but who hold some of your same values? Debates that made you rethink some of your feelings about an issue?
That all changed when Trump promulgated violence on Twitter with no other goal but to pick a fight and be a bully. Now everything is picked apart in such a virulent manner that we no longer speak to family and friends. Trump was a master at media manipulation and reached the hearts and minds of people throughout this country using language that was easy to understand. Democrats didn’t do that. Disinformation flooded and continues to flow unabated and unchecked on social media platforms. The media didn’t take Trump seriously, but they did know he would improve their ratings. Today, the monster that we all created has become an unwieldy and poisonous dart in the side of Americans and the world.
The world is in danger of falling into the warm embrace of fascism because it is just so damn easy to believe stories that are not true. We’ve all fallen victim to it. The always-on-spigot of information online means everyone can curate their reality, no matter what side they’re on.
The perverse positive is that we have all awoken to the fact that we took democracy for granted. Americans are now aware of everything that is going on and what they need to do to keep our politicians accountable.
Democrats need to continue the fight. We must continue building an allied front to fight against authoritarianism. We must spread funding and attention among myriad players fighting against disinformation. We can’t go back to old models of thinking and acting. Otherwise, it will simply be too late to save us from Trumpism.