Yesterday, in the midst of watching a seditious mob casually walk past an unprepared capitol hill police force, I came across a brilliant tweet:
After spending the 20th century undermining democratically elected governments that commit the unforgivable crime of failing to be sufficiently deferential to US business interests, the US became a snake trying to devour it's own tail.
Much attention was paid to Trump and his gang of sycophants. However, Trumpism is only marginally about Trump.
For decades, across the western world, right wing ideologues (starting with Reagan and Thatcher) have been trashing anything remotely resembling collective action. Governments have been discredited (conservatives are people who are so convinced governments are incompetent, they elect people who will prove them right) and taxes slashed. The predictable results have been a diminished sense of individual security as wages stagnated; and healthcare and education retreated towards their traditional roles of being the exclusive preserve of the wealthy. Even among people doing relatively well, there is a heightened sense of precariousness as these days, anyone can lose their livelihood overnight. Nowhere is this more pronounced than in the US, where education and healthcare are most expensive, worker protections are weakest and corruption is rampant.
Having been thoroughly inculcated with anti-government ideology, conservatives looked for others to blame for their problems and Trump supplied them with plenty of others - immigrants, Muslims, the media, and, most of all, Democrats. Hyped up on conspiracy theories, people will now automatically discredit anything that comes from "official" sources and believe whatever they find on the internet that confirms their beliefs.
Many people assume that things will be OK as soon as Trump is out of office but this is far from evident. Seventy-five million lost souls voted for an evidently delusional, lifelong-crooked failed businessman who has never taken responsibility for anything. Those people will still be there once Trump leaves.