I agree that things have been very bad before. Civil War, WWII, Cold War. Humans got through it.*
*The world ‘got through’ WWII but it caused immense, incalculable suffering. Wouldn’t it have been nice to have avoided that?
*Cold War constituted the first existential threat to human civilization since the Bubonic Plague. It was a bad one. And of course, the threat is still there, albeit simmering a little.
What’s disconcerting about Trumpia is not merely that it is a crisis but that it is a crisis to the essence of our body politic. It’s an internal, not external threat, and arguably the worst such we have seen since the 1860s. I think this adds a certain sense of urgency. And I think we are becoming alive to the fragility of our vaunted system, how much depends on ‘norms’ and on political actors observing some level of good faith. We have seen other democracies and republics fail, from Rome on up. We are not immune.
Personally, it makes me proud that so many millions of Americans get their backs up and shout ‘hell no!’ at the first stirrings of someone who might even be thinking about contemplating becoming an authoritarian. It almost makes me proud enough to overcome my shame and disgust at the abomination the electorate inflicted upon the country last November. Almost, not quite.