Once More Hiding behind the Gates of Troy
I´m teaching a section in my class on Constitutional Theories dealing with the New Latin-American Constitutionalism associated with the rise of non-traditional democracies in Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, etc., and it just occurred to me that the current populist movements in the United States, both on the left (Sanderistas) and on the right (Tea Party) are remarkably similar to the demographics that led to the perception that real democracy was incompatible with a financial oligarchy which had gained control and subverted the mass media, the judiciary and the legislature. That oligarchy, like the French aristocracy immediately prior to the French Revolution, was and is incapable of fathoming the popular rage at the continued subversion of the rights and interests of the “lower” classes (anyone in the bottom 90th percentile), instead seeking to ridicule and humiliate that rather large segment of the population,
That seems much too much like what I perceive occurring in the United States today.
United States progressives are being urged to elect the darling of the financial elites, supposedly with the goal of immediately thereafter organizing to oppose her, an incoherent strategy based on Lincoln´s perception that “you can fool all of the people some of the time”.
When I arrived in Colombia a bit more than nine years ago I drove from the central highlands of the Andes to the Caribbean coast and came away with a deep concern that the income inequality I witnessed could well lead to a Chavez-like revolution there. Little did I suspect how close the United States would soon be to similar radicalization.
It doesn’t look like the situation will be better at the end of today´s elections. Once more I become more aware of what the prescient Cassandra felt three millennia ago as the gates of Troy were closing.
© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2016; all rights reserved