What’s the world coming to… A post for the British friends of Beguiling, especially the dearest, George Kaplan, Sarah Vernon, and Pippa Rathborne

What’s the world coming to when two men with improbable hair (?) — one born to the elite, one shockingly elitist — both having deeply dysfunctional relationships with the truth, manipulate their way to power by fomenting fear among the very people they’ve brazenly exploited? Well, we get Britain trampling their ideals, and a candidate for the US presidency that’s an embarrassment.

I’d post their portraits here but the sight of both of them turns my stomach. And their influence is growing and toxic.

 

These politicians — men and women, to be sure — are young enough not to have experienced world war, but they are old enough to idealize the pre-1989 era and a simpler, pre-globalization world. At the same time, they are obviously too sclerotic to imagine how democratic institutions can adjust to the new realities. With their aggressive posturing, these Nigel Farages, Marine Le Pens, Geerts Wilderses and Donald J. Trumps are driving the debate — and possibly driving the West off a cliff…

“It’s a victory for ordinary, decent people who have taken on the establishment,” declared Nigel Farage, the head of the U.K. Independence Party. Rubbish. It was a victory for people who have neither the guts nor the imagination to take on the downsides of globalization. Yes, globalization and Europeanization have taken their tolls, both on traditional forms of democracy and on traditional job security. But instead of tackling these problems, the Farages of the world have started the next ideological war…

Via Jochen Bittner, “Brexit and Europe’s Angry Old Men,” New York Times

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And then there’s this to consider from a British journalist reporting from New York:

And I thought I was going to be covering a topsy-turvy time in American politics. That has proven to be the case. But I believe voters here will elect Hillary Clinton in five months time. I never thought that, more rapidly than I could have imagined, British politics would eclipse anything I’ve seen here in terms of tragedy and farce. The Leave campaign peddled shameful lies, lies that have permanently damaged us. They will now have to reckon with people angry at their failure to deliver what they promised. It is going to be ugly…

The worst of it is that the catastrophe was entirely preventable. David Cameron did not have to call a referendum. A referendum with a simple majority is a stupid way to decide on far-reaching constitutional change. As my politics lessons also taught me, here in the states you need a two-thirds majority in two-thirds of the states to carry out that kind of major surgery. And it’s still democracy…

Tonight I will go drinking, and talk with my British pals about how we can’t believe what’s happened. What will we be returning to when our time here comes to an end? I turned my back for what seems like a second, and my country seems to have voluntarily dismembered itself. Where’s home now?

 

Via David Shariatmadari, “The Britain I know is gone: what Brexit feels like from abroad,” The Guardian

I don’t have an answer for Mr. Shariatmadari, but I know home is a place you love even when you criticize it, a place you defend with all your might, will, and influence. Continue to raise your voice against the dark forces of hate and dishonesty. Strive always to unite, enlighten, and respect. Know that democracy can suffer tremendous setbacks — yet has endured for over two thousand years — for equality is the living breath of a healthy humanity.

With all the best from here, Vickie

palms

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