Its unlikely that a recount will change the elections outcome, but the prospect of a Donald Trump presidency entails its time to think big
When big changes and hazards arise, you have to think big. You dont put out a wood flame with a glass of water. Believing small can prevent you from even recognizing trouble, let alone your options for overcoming it. Theres never been a day when guessing big matters more than now. Many across the United States are now trying to figure out how to survive Trump, but it may still be possible to stop him. His regime is not yet inevitable.
Its a long shot, but one worth trying, the route someone diagnosed with a disease with a 3% survival rate might want to do what it takes to try to be part of the 3 %. You dont get there if you give up at the outset. Trump represents a catastrophe on a scale many seem to have trouble comprehend, an attack on what remains democratic and uncorrupted in our old and messy system of government, a threat to international stability, to efforts to address climate change, and to human rights at home and around the world.
Is it possible to prevent him from taking power? Why not explore the wildest potentials, when the alternative is surrendering to the worst? It may be very possible but only if we imagine it is possible and work to induce the possible the actual.
It is too soon to give up. It is too soon to reconcile ourselves to surviving Trump when the possibility of preventing him is before us. It was a huge amaze that Jill Stein and the Green party chose to demand recounts in three swing states, and another that the Clinton campaign got onboard. What the recount discloses may also be a amaze. People have used game changer a lot, but video games of figuring out what such elections means and where it takes us seems to change daily, and some of that change depends on what we do. Why not confiscate history before it tramples us?
What if the recount Jill Stein and the Green party have initiated finds that Trumps small, surprising result in three swing states fades when the ballots are reviewed? What if Alexandra Chalupas report now on its way to Congress presents obliging evidence that the election was hacked? What if the election investigations Republican senator Lindsey Graham and others have asked for reveal corruption or collusion? What if someone( please) eventually does some truly solid work on investigating the numerous ties between the Trump campaign team and Russia and determines well, shouldnt we know what the influences and cooperations, if any, have been?
We are in a national emergency as an alarmingly incompetent and utterly amoral gang prepares to destroy the climate, human rights, the foreign policy positions the US has relied on for stability since the second world war, and more. You dont “re going to have to” love Clinton or Stein to see that this is a radical departure from where we have been.
A story that has haunted me for decades is about the equipment to oversee the ozone layer over the South Pole decades ago. The computer program was written to filter out improbable data and so missed the dramatic altered in the atmosphere until the flaw in the program was eliminated. Theres a status quo bias at work in our mainstream media and too many of our organizations that normalizes the outrageous. Theres been a lot of talk about normalizing the Trump teams players and agenda. We might also talk about normalizing astounding news and enormous threats. News that should holler at us in six-inch-high letters on the front page is presented in a mumble inside: stuff like the fact that we are running out of time to address catastrophic climate change, and also the Trump administration promises to sabotage all efforts to address climate change. We must not normalize tragedy out of a desire to seem calm or moderate.
As the New York Times reported, nine days before the election Barack Obama used his communications system to tell Russian leader Vladimir Putin to stop meddling in the US election. The White House confirmed in a statement on Wednesday that eight days before the presidential election, the United States contacted the Russian government directly considering malicious cyberactivity that was targeting US state election-related systems. It sent the message over a rarely used system: a hotline connecting the Nuclear Risk Reduction Centers in both countries, which they had agreed 3 years ago could also be employed to deal with major cyberincidents, the New York Times report said.
These kinds of tales raise questions so big no one seems to have asked them. Are we in the middle of a cyberwar? And did the Russians hack the election in ways that changed the outcome?
What does it mean that, as the Washington Post quietly reported after the election: Russian government officials bestowed with members of Donald Trumps campaign team, a senior Russian envoy said.
There are no precedents for the situations we find ourselves in, which is why we need to think big about how to answer. I visited Japan after the great Tohuko earthquake of 2011. Many people died because they evacuated to the right height to escape tsunamis they recollected; they were drowned by a tsunami bigger than any in living memory. Extreme responses to extreme situations are appropriate.
This week Harvard professor and award-winning Holocaust historian Timothy Snyder issued cautions about surviving anti-democratic regimes. Do not heed in advance, he advised. Much of the power of authoritarianism is freely given. In hours like these, someones believe ahead about what a more repressive government will want, and then are beginning to do it without being asked. Youve already done this, havent you? Stop. Anticipatory obedience teaches authorities what is possible and accelerates unfreedom. Anticipatory disobedience holds open space for our power, our voices, and our rights. Thats part of what guessing big entails, but in this moment it can entail more.
Regimes have been toppled by the daring whose daring shown as the imagination to believe that things could be different, the confidence that we have the power to pursue those potentials, and the fortitude to seek them. These last few weeks Ive been thinking about how what looked like small, feeble-looking efforts in eastern Europe grew and amassed over the years to topple a series of Soviet satellite regimes in 1989. The boldnes, the fortitude, the vision of the people met around the Polish Solidarity movement, the musicians and theater people in Czechoslovakia, the religious and secular groups in Eastern germany: their spirit and actions shattered the eastern bloc of Soviet-aligned nations. In 2013, Ukrainians rose up and drove out Viktor Yanukovych, a corrupt Russian-backed president.
We may need to be courageous and strategic as they were; we may need to be for years to come. But now we have an extraordinary opportunity to prevent the worst-case scenario now facing us or at the very least to weaken and marginalize and discredit an outrageous regime-in-waiting. The potentials before us in this moment are like a series of open door; as day pass, doorways will slam closed behind us. There is no better time; there is no one else to confiscate the possibilities. Its up to us, which entails its up to you. Suppose big. And act. Everything depends on it.
Read more: www.theguardian.com