The Conservative party’s decisive win last Thursday in Britain, and the consequent path forward to a massively misguided Brexit, is only the latest in a series of increasingly ominous events circulating through the 24-hour news cycle.
Nationalism wins again. Ignorance wins again. And so the West (and indeed the world at large, cf. India) continues to march backward, steadfastly ignoring science, history and common sense.
The similarity of what’s happening in the US and the UK cannot be ignored. In both cases, discord, ignorance and resentment—and sometimes downright hatred—are ascendant. In both cases, the less educated, less affluent rural districts manage to dictate results to their more informed “betters” in urban areas. In the UK, a plurality of voters would prefer not to leave the European Union. In the US, a plurality of voters would like to impeach and remove Donald Trump from office. Neither electoral system will permit the plurality to have its way, and yet the right-wing victors on each side of the Atlantic continue to trumpet the virtues of “democracy.”
This devolution of the “special relationship” contributes nothing to progress in the world at large—see, for example, the latest failure to adequately respond to the global climate change emergency.
At the end of this year and decade, here are three wishes for a smarter, healthier decade to come:
- That the European Union, arguably the twentieth century’s greatest political achievement, remains intact despite Brexit and other pressures;
- That the American people, despite a skewed electoral system, manage to elect a Democratic President and Senate; and
- That a new American administration will act quickly to tackle climate change in a meaningful way.