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The Politics of Cruelty

Our Enlightenment Legacy On the Ropes

Consider the Honduran woman who recently fled to the US. She was given a credible-fear interview in Port Isabel, Texas, and claimed she feared for her life, thanks to her political activism. Her application for asylum was rejected; a case, Sonia Nazario writes, “that in the past would have been a slam dunk.” Put this in the context of the 2009 coup in Honduras that overthrew a duly elected left-leaning president -- a coup that President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton did absolutely nothing to prevent or, after the fact, to turn around. They made excuses and accommodated the US to the coup leaders. The coup led to a huge increase in political and gang violence; it also led to the pressures we see driving families north to save their lives. Related to this, is the question why so many families are fleeing north from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, while virtually no one is fleeing Nicaragua for the United States. There are obviously problems in Nicaragua these days; but they seem to be different than the crisis that drives people north from the other Central American nations.

One can only hope President Trump is digging his own grave and that major changes like the election of Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador to the presidency of Mexico are omens for a new relationship with Latin America, especially when it comes to the violence and corruption given comfort by our militarist history there and, especially, the failed US Drug War. Justin Trudeau’s Canada has felt the sting of Trump’s reactive lash at the moment in history it nationally legalized marijuana for recreational use. Following the bizarre NATO meeting in Brussels, tea with the Queen and the Get Smart cone-of-silence meeting with Putin in Helsinki, a big question hovers over all this: Will the US continue to abuse its neighbors to the north and south and in Europe as it continues to cozy up to Putin’s Russia and other authoritarian governments? Or as the 97 to 2 vote in support of NATO by the US Senate might suggest, is there a rift developing between Trump and a Republican Congress? Then there’s the Midterms and: Can Liberals and Progressives get over their destructive squabbles, ease up on the identity politics and regain at least the House of Representatives, and if the planets are really in line, maybe the Senate?

Trump America is an example of the worst kind of international corruption. It explains Trump’s love of Putin: A fraternity of public/private Big-Swinging-Dicks out to dominate the 21st Century. Does it foretell a new Dark Age? Can one hope for rays of enlightenment to counter the darkness, to open the way for pragmatic reform here in the US? Might constitutional democracy in America actually work as it was conceived by our flawed Enlightenment founders? Can good, hard-working people run for office and get elected so that intelligent governing structures can be legislatively enacted to make America work from the bottom up with dignity for all? Time will tell. The fact is, top-down corruption is a vampire sucking our life's blood.

story | by Dr. Radut