Monday, November 14, 2016

Post-election survival guide

Almost one week after the election, half of this nation is in a total state of shock and it's only now that I'm absorbing the enormity of the situation. I feel like the inhabitants of Mosul when Isis entered their city of those of Kandahar when the Talibans showed up there for the first time.

Then, this morning, I asked myself, where do I go from that state of depression and move forward. That's when I found this article in the New York Review of Books by Masha Gessen, “Autocracy: Rules for Survival”.

In her article, Gessen, who is Russian and knows Putin well, points to the soft and conciliatory declarations by Clinton and Obama, asking us to keep “an open mind” towards Trump, echoing Neville Chamberlain’s when he declared about Hitler that “We should seek by all means in our power to avoid war, by analyzing possible causes, by trying to remove them, by discussion in a spirit of collaboration and good will.”

This defeatist approach suggests to shut off alternative responses to his minority victory. Gessen's article is both terrific and terrifying; in it, she makes five strong points:

Rule #1: Believe the autocrat. He means what he says. The Wall, the deportations, the hatred

Rule #2: Do not be taken in by small signs of normality. An autocrat is not normal.

Rule #3: Institutions (constitution, rule of law) will not save you.

Rule #4: Be outraged. If you follow Rule #1 and believe what the autocrat-elect is saying, you will not be surprised.

Rule #5: Don’t make compromises. Stay the course and don't give in.

Rule #6: Remember the future. Nothing lasts forever. The autocrat too will pass.

Most importantly, read the article and act on it...

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