If there is anyone still out there checking on my blog, you will know that I have not written for months. This was not intended but somehow seems to have continued far longer than I would have wanted if it had been planned. I am not even really sure why! But I am back and ready to start spouting my stuff all over again. I haven't stopped reading, Instagramming or thinking since I last blogged. I have a whole load of subject matter to whitter about, don't worry.
The above is a screenshot from Facebook. It is utterly horrifying if you just read the list and compare it to the news coming out of the US. And the news from other places too. Italy for one. One article which has spurred my return to blogging was by Fintan O'Toole in the Irish Times.
In this piece he argued that far from being an off-the-cuff tweeter/policy maker/speaker, etc, everything which Donald Trump says or does is carefully calculated to see what he can get away with. It is not aimed at the more liberal press or at people who would never vote for him. He is only concerned with maintaining his ratings with the voters who brought him to power. For example, the use of the abhorrent term 'infest' in a tweet about immigrants. Widespread disgust was reported. But Trump's approval ratings with his core supporters went up and the (to him) important far right news outlets (Fox etc) loved it. O'Toole says that 40% of voters is the typical starting point for Fascism.
I have also re-read The Handmaid's Tale this year. Margaret Atwood's scarily worrying novel of a fascist future. If you haven't read it, do so. (Or watch the excellent TV adaptation.) And marvel/quake at how many elements of it would appear to be coming true, three decades after it was written as fiction. No wonder this was one of the books being widely shared after Trump took power.
We live in frightening times. As the mother of two teenagers, I am chewed up by thoughts of their futures. Trump is, in my humble opinion, on track for a second term - that's six more years legally. But with a Supreme Court nomination to come, could we see a move for more? Brexit is going through regardless (note 'fraudulent elections' on the above list - a nice little trial run there with the Brexit referendum). Countries like Italy are turning to the far right. And as for Russia...
I leave you with a couple of quotes I have found during my reading this few months. Read them and weep.
Make the lie big, keep it simple, keep saying it and eventually they will believe it. - Goebbels
The perfect dictatorship would have the appearance of a democracy but would basically be a prison without walls in which the prisoners would not even dream of escaping. It would essentially be a system of slavery where, through consumption and entertainment, the slaves would love their servitude. - Aldous Huxley
But when you have wept, remember...
The need for protesting will never end. - China Achebe