The Answer to Authoritarianism, That Divides and Polarizes, Lies in Collaboration and the Co-Creation of Our Political Culture.
Notwithstanding the Above, Can a Good End Ever Justify the Wretched Journey?
“Authoritarianism appeals, simply, to people who cannot tolerate complexity: there is nothing intrinsically left-wing or right-wing about this instinct at all. It is anti-pluralist. It is suspicious about people with different ideas. It is allergic to fierce debates. Whether those who have it ultimately derive their politics from Marxism or nationalism is irrelevant. It is a frame of mind, not a set of ideas.”, says Anne Applebaum in her book Twilight of Democracy, The seductive lure of authoritarianism.
The fragilities, similar to what happened at the Capitol, are inescapable in a democratic — authoritarian system where the basic functioning of democracy is attacked depending upon the changing power politics. If American democracy needs to prosper and not just barely survive, quashing the illiberal and undemocratic trend must be the start of this long journey. We shall not have this go wrong this time.
Trump very transparently concocted his evil intentions to harm the United States. I cannot think of a more direct attack on democracy than what he attempted. Even after he apprised us all of his design through his speeches and despicable tweets throughout the past four years, authorities proceeded to ignore them. They remained unprepared to tackle a situation that certainly was most expected. It has brought Americans to the brink of a civil war. Donald Trump, who is known for and prone to hysterics, like all authoritarians are, is hungry for attention, and we end up giving a lot of it to him. Trump desperately wanted to execute the 6th January’s undemocratic protest/riot to feel more secure and calm his authoritarian impulse.
Trump has made democracy even more difficult than it already is. Running a racket of authoritarianism is not a ‘one man’s task’; rather, it couldn’t have taken shape without the active connivance of plenty of people coming from different fields. From media people, lawyers, intellectuals, ministers, mayors to, last but not least, the citizens — the ultimate D-day performers.
“Successful fascism takes hard work”, says Arundhati Roy.
Democracy is held together by institutions as well as people. They are its skeletal and muscles, respectively. But there is something more significant that glues the two ( institutions and the people) together, which gives it shape, meaning, and life — it is the political culture. And it is essential because we cannot make rules about everything. Even when our legal system and policies are most extensive, there remain a few things that we cannot and will not be able to define in terms of rules. These generally show in the facultative behavior of politicians and people, especially ones running the institutions. We all give far too much credit to the supposedly automatic workings of the institutions of democracy. As significant as they may be, they do not function without deliberate efforts from our side or the preservers of the constitution.
Breakdown of the political culture and norms not just by the people and by the senators but principally by the president, is going to be adjudged as a route to power in 21st-century democracies if we don't take stock of the situation. Therefore, boundaries of acceptable behavior need to be actively redrawn. That is the only way to create limits — which, for all, stay the same irrespective of their status or color. We need to converge on one reality/one truth as much and as soon as possible. It is only conceivable if we, the people, first stop inflicting misery on each other. There is no bigger way to underestimate democratic tradition than that.
There is underinvestment in cultural capital. We need to invest in our education system where children are taught how to become good citizens, where civics lessons are inculcated in their primary years. There is a lack of well-informed reasoning in the exercise of democracy, which can protect citizens when things get ugly.
This lapsing into other templates of governance every now and then portends towards urgency to make some serious structural adjustments since it’s not enough to be just elected democratically; their conduct has to be democratic too. We all must know that the vote bank that political parties require has to be earned through hard work and not through the political drama that leads to ever-widening fissures in society. The conduct of some republicans has considerably groomed Trump’s fascist tendencies, contrary to restricting them. There’s an underlying assumption that gives senators and the public the courage to proceed with any non-sense that comes to their mind. That has to be proven wrong. It is disturbing to see that so many Americans feel that the most critical tool of democracy — the elections — are nothing but a farce, without any evidence. These thoughts are fueled not only by Trump but also by other senators such as Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley.
I am fully subscribed to the belief that reformed political culture would help us restore democracy. There are perhaps darker turns in the woods than we have been taught to expect of democracy. There’s light to be at the end of the tunnel? Well, I guess yes, there certainly will. However, it also matters how long the tunnel is and at what expense do we get to the end of it.
Applebaum, A. (2020). Twilight of democracy: The seductive lure of authoritarianism.
 ROY, A. R. U. N. D. H. A. T. I. (2019). END OF IMAGINATION. Place of publication not identified: HAYMARKET DOYMA.
 After Hours — by HBR Podcast.
Drèze, J., & Sen, A. (2020). An uncertain glory: India and its contradictions.
Roy, A. (2010). Listening to grasshoppers: Field notes on democracy: essays. Toronto: Penguin Canada.