umair haque wrote . . . . . . . . .
It’s been a decade or so since I began to predict — and warn — America was collapsing. And over the years, I’ve been called everything from hyperbolic to an “alarmist” and beyond, insulted in the New York Times, attacked by the Atlantic, the list goes on. I have a question for you. Do you believe me yet?
Here America is. People are in shock and disbelief, though they shouldn’t be, because, well, like I said, plenty of people have been warning. And now the situation is grim. An illegitimate Supreme Court made of a religious fanatic literally part of a Handmaid’s cult, an alleged sexual predator whose debts mysteriously vanish, and a coup-plotter are seizing Americans’ rights…and quoting the Dark Ages to do it. Women are just to be a “domestic infant supply.” The Governor of Texas has already attacked the idea of desegregated public life.
What’s really happening here? Hold on a second, while I chuckle at the word “alarmist.” If you’re not alarmed by all this, well, you’re probably a Republican or an idiot, but I repeat myself.
What’s happening in America is a revolution. But it’s not a good one. Remember the Irani Revolution? The mullahs suddenly seized power from the Shah, backed by a militant faction of religious lunatics. And the next day, Iranis began to live under theocracy. What’s happening in America is a lot like that. A revolution, but not a forward moving one. Sometimes the wheel moves backwards — and crushes everyone under its path. This is such a time. America is having a totalitarian revolution, which combines all the flavours of social collapse, where theocrats, fascists, supremacist, and authoritarians have all made common cause, to slit democracy’s throat.
Welcome to Americastan.
What does the future look like? Do you really want to know? Do I really want to bother explaining? Not because I think less of you, but because…the last decade has been a real pain for me. I have a nice, fun life. I make music and hang out with my dog, and I write stuff. And yet despite my predictions all coming true, over and over again, what did I get? Rabid, unhinged personal attacks from everyone from New York Times columnists right down to your garden variety fascist. When they’re on the same side, maybe it’s time to reflect. Should I really bother? I don’t know anymore. But today is today, and here I am.
The future of America looks incredibly bleak. It is bleaker than Americans can yet imagine. They haven’t lived through the horrors of totalitarianism and theocracy. I have. They haven’t studied them really. I have. We have, rather, because there are plenty like me. But the average person is still out there — remember when I said this all those years ago? — underestimating American collapse.
What do I mean by that? For the last decade, American collapse has been relatively slow, punctuated by a spectacular event every now and then. Trump plodded his way through an early variant of fascism, incompetently, and all that ended in a bloody coup attempt — and that was only last year. I can understand why unintelligent people called me an alarmist for a decade, just like I can understand how someone denies cancer will kill them. American collapse was slow. The frogs were boiling in the pot, but the heat was at a low simmer.
But now American collapse is happening at light speed. So fast you get whiplash just watching it every day. Who can keep up anymore?
Here’s a random smattering of events from just the last week. Kentucky’s fanatics want to ban contraception — LOL, even Pakistan doesn’t do that. Mississippi’s governor refused to rule out banning contraception. Missouri’s lunatics wants to stop women leaving the state. Louisiana advanced a bill that would criminalise abortion — both the provider and the patient. That same bill would also class IUDs and Plan B as murder. Tennessee’s governor signed a bill restricting access to abortion pills. Mitch McConnell said it was “possible” that a GOP controlled Senate would attempt a federal ban on abortion.
This is something like a phase change in physics. The solid has become liquid. What was once slow and plodding is now fast, happening with incredibly, head-spinning swiftness. It was a fanatical political side then. Now? It’s a revolution.
Revolutions are strange things. Americans are taught to lionise them, because of course their country was born in one. But every revolution has two sides. America’s revolution was the worst thing that ever happened to Native Americans or a whole lot of Africans.
And revolutions are, above all, shocking, surprising things — to the ones being revolted against. The French nobility could scarcely believe they were under the guillotine even as the blade fell.
This is where America is. It is in the midst of a revolution — and it doesn’t yet understand that. History will, because when so many lunatics take this much power this fast, and things change, suddenly, overnight, the only word to describe it is “revolution.” Americans are in shock precisely because, like so many before them, they are now facing the guillotines of revolution, and don’t understand how or why this happened. And yet the blade is falling — on a modern, democratic America.
Let me go a little further, though like I said, these days I wonder if I should bother.
What is a revolution? It is really the sudden, dramatic reconstruction of a society’s institutions. Usually, by violent force. All of that is very much what is happening in America, and it is what happens next.
You know that they won’t stop at repealing Roe — that it’s just a beginning. But how bad does it get? Well, America’s future goes something like this.
The Republicans take Congress in a few months, because the Democrats have alienated everyone from young people to women to minorities, and made the mistake I predicted they would — they fragmented their own “fragile coalition.” When they do, they impeach Biden. Or they don’t — it doesn’t really matter, because Biden is on his way to being a one-term President. Americans think little of him, because he seems to care about Ukrainians more than Americans, not that anyone shouldn’t care about Ukrainians, but on domestic issues, Biden and his team seem to be simply missing in action.
The question isn’t what happens then. The reason I say all this is that it explains what is happening now. All these lunatic bills being proposed and passed? To turn America into Americastan? They are happening precisely because the lunatics — the theocrats, fascists, authoritarians — understand that they can now go in for the kill. There is nobody much to stop them now — and there will be absolutely nobody shortly. And so what they are really doing is what happens in every revolution. Wholesale, sudden, dramatic institutional reconstruction. What happened during the French Revolution? Peasantry and nobility were literally abolished. Institutional reconstruction.
Just like that, America’s fanatics want to remake America institutionally. Let me give you an example, rather than a dry explanation. You’re a woman in some Red State. You want to visit a friend, in another state. Now, to cross the border, you need to prove you’re not exercising some kind of suddenly illegal form of autonomy. But how do they check that? They go through your personal data. They trawl your emails and messages and apps. You’ve had to carefully, carefully go through them just to be on the safe side — because now, if they “catch” you, even if you’re not doing anything, it’s a serious crime.
Welcome to Americastan.
Let’s do another example. Now that Roe is being repealed, the wave of vigilante-informant laws Texas pioneered are already passing. Oklahoma has one now. So anyone can perform a “citizen’s arrest” on…a woman…for just existing…maybe looking at Planned Parenthood…maybe talking about her love life at a cafe…talking about who she’s dating. Anyone can “arrest” someone “aiding and abetting” a woman. Imagine that charges like that get brought. Now the woman and her friend have to do something Kafkaesque — they have to disprove their criminality, which is something that some random fascist dudebro charged them with.
Welcome to Americastan.
Chilled yet? Let’s do one more. Where does this end? All this is really about defining the limits of personhood. It’s easy enough to see that America’s lunatics want public spaces to only belong to the pure of faith and true of blood — hence, Texas’s Governor Abbott proposing that undocumented kids don’t get to go to public schools. What’s next? “Separate but equal.” A return to Jim Crow. What does that make all America’s “interracial” kids? Suddenly, they’re not people at all anymore. They can’t go the schools, the libraries, the parks, the restaurants they once used to be able to.
If you think that’s beyond America’s theocrats, you’re not paying attention. This is exactly why they’re smearing gay people as “groomers” and anyone supporting them as “pedophiles.” So they can keep them out of public spaces — and criminalise them all over again, with “sodomy” laws. So now what happens if, at school, some other kid, some bully, suspects your kid of being gay — which is now a crime? Then your kid gets hauled into court, and has to disprove it. Which is of course something a) nobody can really do and b) something nobody should have to do. If you think I’m kidding, watch this video of the police in Tennessee literally taking doors down to get to an LGBTQ teenager who was begging for help online.
This is all happening now. I’m not predicting it anymore. I’n not warning of it, even. I’m just observing it. And what I see is incredibly troubling.
America is having a revolution. But not a good one. Not like the French Revolution, in which modernity was born, kicking and screaming. It is having a backwards revolution, in which only regress is born. Those happen too.
This is America’s Second Revolution. It has more parallels with the birth of ISIS, how the Taliban came to take over Afghanistan, how Iran fell to fanatics, the story of much of the Muslim world — than with anything remotely modern. It has more parallels with how the Nazis took over Germany — one seizure of power at a time — than Canada or Europe’s modern revolutions of dignity and peace. America’s second revolution is an explosion of hate and violence, directed at forcing the country back to places it has never been, the literal Dark Ages, supremacy and bigotry imposed on 70% of the people who don’t want it, in violent, fanatical ways.
America is at the beginning of this revolution now. And revolutions? They don’t last long. They’re sudden, sharp, shocks. After which life is never the same. This revolution won’t be like the last decade of collapse — slow. It will be a swift period — perhaps two to five years, if that — after which America is unrecognisable as a country. Where women are surveilled, where minorities are again separated, where if you’re different, gay, even if you just read the wrong books, suddenly, you’re a criminal, a pedophile, a groomer, a place where conformity to theo-fascist ideals is enforced by citizen-vigilante-informers who have become a society-wide morality police, intimidating the 70% with terror and violence. This is a revolution, my friends. A religious-totalitarian one.
Americans don’t really grasp this yet. Nobody much does, until it’s too late. Oh, well. I guess you can always get your kicks by calling people like me “alarmists.” Have fun in Americastan. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
Source : E&CO