Like George Orwell’s “1984,” Atwood’s chilling dystopia is newly relevant in a strange era of autocratic impulses and retrogressive policies. Now that Trump has rescinded another key benefit of Obamacare, the requirement that companies provide health insurance that guarantees birth control for their employees, a future in which fertile young women are enslaved as reproductive vessels seems less outlandish.
Yet, here in the most powerful and wealthiest nation on Earth, here in the land of incredible technology, of Nobel laureates and first-rate universities, of a constitutional democracy revered the world over, we do nothing to combat this strange malady.
We are a nation at war with itself, cleaved in two by racial, ethnic and cultural differences, each side convinced of its own righteousness. These tumultuous times cry out for a leader of wisdom and maturity, patience and moderation, vision and moral clarity.
But Alabama is a deep crimson state, a place where the call of tribalism has only grown stronger in the era of President Donald J. Trump. The Republican Party has spent decades pandering to the fears and resentments of conservative whites who are uncomfortable with cultural change, and they in turn have deserted the Democratic Party. So it doesn’t matter if one Republican candidate is crazy and the other is corrupt. One of them will likely end up winning the December election.
Among true believers on the right, there is no sturdier fiction — no fairy tale more popular — than the one that insists American elections are plagued by voter fraud. “Election integrity” is the hallmark of GOP activists, and stories that purport to show voter fraud are a staple in the right-wing media-sphere.
Though the president has promised to treat the Dreamers “with heart,” his xenophobic impulses have kept the waters roiled, making a grand bargain on immigration reform nigh impossible. Even as a political mirage, Trump’s wall is a formidable barrier to the American Dream for our undocumented neighbors.
As if he had not already dumped enough fuel on a raging inferno, President Donald Trump has now taken up common cause with the Lost Cause: the historically inaccurate, myth-driven campaign to sanctify the Confederacy. The president was apparently not satisfied with merely showing his sympathy for white supremacists, insisting that their ranks include some “very fine people.”
You’d never know the man is in trouble by witnessing a race in Alabama for the GOP nomination to the U.S. Senate, where the leading candidates are vying to see who can most tightly tie himself to Trump’s ankle.
Trump was clearly pandering to those white Americans who were unhappy with the cultural changes of the last half-century, including the shifting demographics that are weakening their political and social influence. Trump’s election was, in large measure, a backlash against the first black president.
Even if Sessions knew what sort of president Trump would be, though, he probably would have still endorsed him, just as so many other Republicans did later on. Conventional Republicans — the establishment, if you will — have an agenda, and they need a Republican president in order to carry it out.