Having lived through the first presidential debate 2020 at full length, I am abysmally devastated. Never had I thought that a leading democracy could end up in farce like this. – We need to talk.
Don’t get me wrong: This is not about Democrats being good and Republicans being bad, or vice versa. By no means! I am a child of the Cold War. All these years I’ve learned to judge the things I was privileged or compelled to witness coming from the States and happening in the world. The score is even between GOP and Dems. Which, by the way, makes it quite hard for me to tell what state of former greatness Mr Trump was endeavouring to revive since 2016.
Democracy is anything but a no-brainer. I doubt, with the view from the far side of the Atlantic, that the Founding Fathers would agree with the Trumpian implementation of their presidential democracy. How can the POTUS choose to be president for his cronies and his voters but not for the other 50% of the people? I know, finger-pointing is easy when you live in Europe where even the remaining monarchies such as Sweden have a more profound, sophisticated and responsible-minded democratic culture than the US probably ever had.
The „demo“ in democracy means „people“ as in „We the People of the United States, …„. This, back in 1787, certainly included Democrat voters even in times when the White House was Republican. Democracy was supposed to be an ongoing process of discussion, respect and compromise. What I have perceived from the outside during the expiring presidency is a ruthless misuse of the great democratic institutions, conventions and traditions paired with despotism and nepotism dividing the people and turning democracy into dictatorship of the majority over the minorities.
Last night’s debate was the anti-climax of targeted and sensible political labour. It clearly showed that democracy will not work if the rules and values are trampled constantly. It was obvious which contender called the tune and made it the disgrace we had to bear. Joe Biden’s desperate „Will you shut up, man!“ seemed to be the only appropriate answer to Mr Trump’s aggressive and disrespectful waffle. What do we have to expect next time when leading representatives of the honourable US government talk politics? Baseball bats? Or some rogue militia wielding their beloved assault rifles in the background?
German speaking cultures say: „Ein faules Ei verdirbt den Brei“ which translates to „One rotten egg spoils the whole broth“. The British know this as „One ill weed mars a whole pot of pottage“. – How true! Especially, when it comes to democracy and the proverbial rotten egg happens to be president.
So what does it all mean to me, … apart from being urged to speak out here. Frequent readers of my blog might remember Jeti DS-16 – The Unboxing from January 2018. Back then I replaced the preferred remote control system for my model airplanes from American SpektrumRC (diligently manufactured in Mr Trumps empire of evil China) to European Jeti. Main reasons were excessive resource consumption, fading reliability and nebulous alignment with European legislation. But a growing discomfort about international consequences of stateside changes in political culture made me declare this a light-weight embargo against the United States.
Now that we (the rest of the world, that is) face the prospect of another four years of threat, insult and humiliation by a bullying US president, the time is right to tighten Flying Tom’s embargo screw a few turns. As the political heavyweight I have never been, I will not rest until the new fighter airplane, which is about to be purchased for Swiss Air Force, is of any type but an American one. – Promise!
So, dear Americans, handle your ballots responsibly. If not for sake of bargaining a handful of Super Hornets to Switzerland, then for your basic democratic values being at stake.