Donald Trump’s Supporters and Our Farmer

At a time when Donald Trump’s supporters are attacking the foundations of democracy, our farmers are arousing hope, and teaching us the art of nonviolent resistance to remind the rulers of the discontents of potential authoritarianism.

Joe Biden and Donald Trump AP/Julio Cortez

The inevitable has happened. Donald Trump is a narcissist—a classic illustration of the ‘authoritarian personality’. It is not easy for him to accept defeat, and give up power. Furthermore, as a white racist, he has nurtured his supporters—known for their hooliganism, anti-intellectualism and brutality. No wonder, on Wednesday these rioters staged an insurrection at the US Capitol building in Washington DC, storming the debating chambers and clashing with the armed police. This siege, as the Guardian reported, ‘was among the worst security breaches in American history and came after Trump had earlier urged a crowd of protesters to march on the Capitol and undo his November election defeat.’ And this violence halted the tallying of electoral college votes to affirm Joe Biden’s victory. Yes, Biden is not wrong in saying: ‘This is not dissent. It’s disorder. It’s chaos. It borders on sedition and it must end now.’

However, it is not surprising. Never forget that the USA, despite its glitz and glamour, was never free from violence. It would not be wrong to say that it is one of the most violent nations in the world. Its imperialistic foreign policy violated the sovereignty of countries after countries. From Vietnam to Afghanistan: the mighty USA revealed its naked power, its aggression, and its affinity with anti-people forces. Furthermore, the unevenness within the USA and the continuity of the racial prejudice indicate that American democracy is not necessarily rosy and beautiful. Possibly, Donald Trump revealed this naked truth about America rather sharply. He also revealed another important fact: authoritarianism can emerge even in an apparently democratic society. In a way, he demythologized America.
There are moments when everything becomes upside down. See these rioters in the glamorous/mighty USA; and reflect on what is happening right now in India. While Trump’s supporters are attacking the foundations of democracy, Indian farmers are trying to renew the spirit of democracy through a nonviolent and determined art of resistance. Yes, they are asking a non-dialogic government to listen to the grievances of the farmers. What a contrast! The ‘civilized’ USA is witnessing the riots; but this ‘Third World’ country is witnessing what can actually keep democracy alive: satyagraha, nonviolent resistance against the unholy alliance of the ruling regime and the corporate empire, and ordinary people’s extraordinary story: the ability to bear shivering cold, endure suffering and the pain of stigmatization, and yet their commitment to the ethos of justice.
Well, Trump will eventually go; and Biden will come to power. But then, can Mr. Modi and his lieutenants will minimize their stubbornness and egotistic power, listen to the farmers, and covey a message that democracy is not merely about elections; it is essentially an art of listening and negotiation?


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