Turning points

History shows us that sometimes the future offers alternatives that are unspeakably different, and choices matter.

We have now arrived at a time when the kindest voices in American public life are dangerously weak and the ugliest are loud. Loud, but not actually strong: the hectic coalition seeking to ‘make America great again’ are mounting a belated, foolish and tragic attempt to grasp a power that has already evaporated. Had Trump been President in 1945, he might have combined nuclear superiority with his instincts for tyranny to build a worldwide fascist regime. But Trump in 2020 is more like Hitler in 1941: capable of leading his country into disaster and ruin, but powerless to achieve the conquests he dreams of. The American electors are on the verge of deciding whether they want to get on board for a fascist train-wreck or turn back towards more modest ideals — under Biden they could have a bit of unity, a touch of social justice, some modest commitment to preventing catastrophic climate change. So America is near a turning point today, seven weeks from their next presidential election. Trump might win, accelerating the decline of American power and the global renaissance of totalitarianism; or he might lose, in which case America will hardly be out of the woods but at least it will have an eye on its moral compass again.

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