The Final Act of Democracies

30 Haziran 2024 Pazar

Watching clips of the Biden-Trump debate on CNN, I felt exactly that: Fremdschaemen.

How did the world’s leading country come to this? What mindset allowed this pathetic display? What message is being sent not just to American voters but to the rest of the world? Is this the final act of Western democracies? If so, what's next? What awaits us?

While something was said about Ukraine, immigration, and health, Biden’s state of mind was so wretched and pitiable that I lost focus. I can’t say I followed what was being discussed!

Trump, also a shadow of his former self from seven years ago, seemed irritated by debating a rival who alternated between freezing up and mumbling incoherently. At one point, he remarked, “I didn’t understand what he said, but I’m sure he doesn’t know either!”

The result of the first TV debate of the 2024 Presidential race is this: a current president who doesn’t know what he’s saying and a former president with 34 criminal charges against him locked in a surreal, corrupt marathon.

The futile duel, which only made me wish I hadn't watched it, led the Democrats, after 10 minutes, to panic and turn to First Lady Jill Biden for help, hoping she could persuade her husband to step aside.

Jill dismissed the concerns: “My husband is fine,” she said, boasting that he answered all the questions. Biden then declared at his first rally, “I may not walk, talk, or debate as easily as I used to, but I know right from wrong and how to do this job. If I didn’t believe I could do it, I wouldn’t run again.”

A NEW LOW IN LEGITAMICY

Despite public pleas to Biden that called, “Don’t do this, you’re handing the election to Trump!” Biden’s indifference made even Kılıçdaroğlu seem like Churchill to me.

The Democrats’ last-minute hope of pulling a rabbit out of a hat and finding a new candidate was dashed by Obama’s remark, “So what if there are bad debate nights?”

A self-respecting Democrat voter’s only option now seems to be not to vote at all. The gap between Iran’s presidential elections, with candidates chosen by the Mullahs, and the U.S. Presidential elections has significantly narrowed.

The 2024 election, as it stands, will set a new low in the legitimacy of major Western democracies. Democracies have never been this weak and diminished.

In Rome, governed by the far-right Meloni, the largest bookstore, Feltrinelli, features books like:

“World Disorder,” “How to Survive in the 21st Century,” “The Decline of the West,” “The Abyss,” “Right, Left, or Reverse,” “The Final Act of Democracies?,” “The Return of the Fascist Monster,” “Eternal Fascism,” and “Democracy without Fascism.”

This selection, including works by authors like Noam Chomsky and Umberto Eco, reflects the widespread concern about the decline of democracies.

WHO RUNS THE WHITE HOUSE?

Roberto Saviano, one of Italy's renowned dissident writers, explains this visible erosion in Western democracies as a “loss of legitimacy” among voters.

In France, for example, today marks the first round of parliamentary elections hastily called by Macron.

Macron’s project, in the face of the unstoppable rise of the far-right, was to create an impenetrable wall around the “center,” as in previous years.

It didn’t go as planned.

Some of the “Republicans,” proud of their anti-fascist stance and history, chose to side with Le Pen’s supporters, expected to be the top force in the polls.

Why?

Because the lines between Macron’s policies and the far-right have significantly blurred.

“That’s why,” says Italian writer Saviano, “the forgotten man/youth, who feels neglected, doesn’t mind leaning towards the far-right. They have lost faith in a democracy that doesn’t provide them with food, jobs, security, or safety. ‘It’s all the same,’ they say.”

In other words, the red lines that used to define choices have disappeared.

“Between Macron and Le Pen, Trump and Biden,” voters think—rightly or wrongly—"there isn’t much difference."

Who believes in a democracy where the president is someone who gazes blankly into space, can’t finish sentences, struggles to stand, tries to shake hands with people who aren’t there, frequently stumbles down the steps of Air Force One, and falls asleep at G-7 meetings?

Forget the elections; the international community watching the U.S. President’s condition is asking, “Who is actually making decisions in the White House?”

Conspiracy theories about “deep state forces ruling the world” have never been this powerful.


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