• Telling It Like It Is

    In a recent column I wrote for local newspapers, I ventured to suggest that Donald Trump – in addition to being a liar and a cheat, and sexist and racist – was a fascist in the making and would probably try, if he were to lose the election, to defy the democratic will of the people. The column was deemed to be too extreme by my editor who declined to publish it on the ground that it would offend some of his Trump-supporting readers who might write letters to him to complain. So much for a free and courageous press! Our failure to agree on the issue led to my no longer writing my column for his paper.

    Yet all the signs were there. Trump had, after all, prepared the ground by predicting – from weeks out – that the election would be rigged and by declining to undertake to respect the result if he lost. He has, since the election, done all he can to foment dissent and suspicion, and has constantly declared, without any evidence, that the result was dishonestly achieved. Such is his self-obsession that, for him, the only evidence required that a vote cast against him was illegitimate is that it was not cast for him. His fragile ego cannot bear, it seems, to see himself cast as a “loser”.

    In maintaining this fiction in the face of endless rebuffs in the courts, he has suborned not only the democratic process but also many of his Republican colleagues whose fear of being accused of disloyalty has led them to become parties to his conspiracy against the people. The willingness of his “base” to believe whatever he tells them has been encouraged by the support offered to his fantasies by those Republican leaders.

    We saw today the (quite literally) shocking outcome of this self-deception and cowardice on the part of American politicians and media. Who could believe what they were seeing as the bastion of American democracy was besieged and invaded by violent hordes of Trump supporters, intent on putting a stop to the democratic process by which Congress certifies the result of a presidential election. And – even more surprising – this violent invasion was carried out – not at the behest of some revolutionary would-be tyrant – but to serve the interests of, and egged on by, the President himself.

    How the USA’s opponents and critics must have laughed and sneered. How her friends and allies must have despaired. And how much we should regret the unwillingness of our own media to allow it to be told like it is; we might one day need those media to speak out in the face of challenges to our own democratic processes.

    Bryan Gould
    7 January 2021

3 Comments

  1. Jeremy Callaghan says: January 7, 2021 at 10:50 amReply

    Shame on them for declining to publish your column! I can’t help feeling that it would be useful for you to name the newspaper concerned so that others might be able to judge whether there are consequences they can bring to bear.

  2. Fern says: January 9, 2021 at 7:29 amReply

    A very interesting article. Thank you, Bryan. A few days ago, while websurfing, I came across an American website where a commenter proudly re-stated the notion that the USA is a republic but not a democracy – which apparently was a good thing. Hmmm.… there are many such countries, not all of which are pleasant to live in.

  3. Bryan Gould says: January 9, 2021 at 8:29 pmReply

    Thank you Jeremy and Fern. I haven’t identified the paper or editor concerned, as I don’t want to personalise the disagreement – but those accustomed to reading my column will, when it no longer appears, be able to reach their own conclusions.