As the dust settles from the US election, the clearing horizon fills, not with limousines heading towards the Canadian border, but with enemies of democracy, carrying torches (on a sunny day).
Democracy isn’t easy and supporters of the losing side will generally feel there’s been a mistake. But short of a kind of existentialist dictatorship – each of us having plenary power for a short burst, akin to Swiss round-robin rule – it is the only way. Churchill recognised this, although he suggested that brief time spent with the average voter would put anyone off democracy, and to paraphrase Tom Paine, even in its best state it is but a necessary evil. Anyway, we can hope time will heal all things.
Not that reacting vehemently (but within the law) isn’t part of democracy, too. Troll tweets – demonstrations – Broadway cast rants – go-slows – angry letters to the New York Times – teary tantrums – are all legitimate, especially since the President-elect has a notoriously thick hide. (No matter how many celebrities may fall in 2016, the Donald is still the tragedy of the year for many).
You’d look to elected officials for a more balanced reaction. Yet in Australia, a senior Senator and opposition shadow for foreign affairs, has proposed a spurning of ANZUS, with a pivot to China. It took Trump to unmask her as the Manchurian Candidate.
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