We are living in an extraordinary time and, as the 2024 presidential election approaches, our nation faces a most important choice
By Chris Honoré
This is that singular moment when we as a people should stop and pay close attention as the coming year unfolds. The weeks and months ahead will be a seminar not only in our system of justice but what it means when we state, without equivocation, that we are above all a nation of laws and not of men or women. With all its imperfections this cornerstone belief continues to define us as a people, though we struggle still to judge one another, as the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. so eloquently said, not by the color of our skin but by the content of our character.
So I encourage you to watch and listen and make every effort not to grow cynical or look away. What is about to take place is far too consequential and the stakes are too high.
Of course you will hear countless contradictory political points of view voiced by red and blue strategists, candidates and campaign representatives. Many will share the results of constant polling while insisting the numbers are reliable. And in this mix angry people will emerge, some filled with an inexplicable rage, seemingly eager to threaten public officials, their rhetoric of enmity framed by fantasies of a civil war (what? … shirts and skins?), not unlike what we observed on Jan. 6.
As has become self-evident, most of this bitterness, which often flirts with sedition, comes from those on the right, often referred to as MAGAs. They number in the millions, and despite Trump’s multiple indictments, they continue to embrace this man.
But these red-hatted denizens of his rallies are not alone, and this cohort, once thought to be on the far right fringe, has clearly gone mainstream, co-opting the Republican Party. Recall during the first Republican primary debate, when asked if Trump were to be found guilty of a federal or state crime (throw a dart), would they, the leaders of their party, by a show of hands, still support him? All but two responded in the affirmative.
It was a seminal moment, viewed by some as a profile in cowardly behavior or a stark example of Orwellian political doublespeak.
In my opinion, the November 2024 presidential election will prove to be one of extraordinary import, certainly unlike anything we have witnessed in our lifetime. And at the risk of stepping off the cliff of hyperbole I would suggest that this incredible experiment we call democracy is in jeopardy. The riptides of authoritarianism beckon. Hence, in the coming year we should pause and remind ourselves that our form of governance, while resilient, is also fragile. Consider that some 332 million American citizens, who are extraordinarily diverse, live together under the umbrella of a remarkable document we refer to as our Constitution.
In other words, in the coming election we will choose between a government by and for the people or a man who would be king. Trump has made no secret that he will regard the winning vote as a mandate (“I alone can fix it!”) and he will set out to “lock them up,” meaning those who opposed him. He will dismantle the institutions that have displeased him, which he often refers to as the “deep state” (a unicorn of his imagination and narcissistic paranoia). We will become, under his demagogic leadership, a nation of grievance and retribution, and all that we have taken for granted will be transformed.
Email Ashland resident Chris Honoré at firstname.lastname@example.org.