Print Friendly, PDF & Email

{Posted by Ryan S Bonnett, with permission to republish}

I haven’t posted much about politics recently, and there’s a reason. Under the previous administration, it was easy to address egregious points as they came up, which was seemingly on a daily basis. But now? I’m not going to say it’s worse, because it isn’t. But now the issue is larger, more systemic issues, that are far more difficult to address than pushing back against the parade of specific hot button topics. Where once we were exhausted by the constancy, now it’s just overwhelming in its scope. Both sides of the aisle have fractured, and I don’t know where the pieces will land. That being said, there are two things on my mind.

The first is Tucker Carlson. As much as it pains me to need to talk about him, the reality is that he’s an excellent barometer of the right. He also largely dictates their conversation and talking points. So when I found out what was going on this week, my stomach turned. He’s broadcasting from Hungary, and attending a far-right conference. It gets worse when you take into account that the president of Hungary bought his way onto Carlson’s show a couple of years ago.

I completely understand if you don’t follow eastern European politics. But the short version is that Poland has shifted heavily to the right, and Hungary is leaning into full authoritarian territory. And their PM, Orbán, has been open about his intentions for years.

And this is who Carlson is supporting. He previously, regarding Hungary, evoked replacement theory and antisemitic conspiracy theories on his show. These are the messages he’s bringing to his millions of regular viewers. The right-wing base is sliding further into authoritarian thought, but no one in the mainstream seems to be ringing the alarm bells like they were the previous four years. And I don’t know what can be done about it, even as his talking points become more inescapable.

That brings me to my other point, which is Biden himself. I had no illusions about him being a true reformer. That being said, the level to which he’s out of touch is alarming. I’ll be the first to give him credit on his accomplishments, and there have been several. But he’s out of touch.

Bringing in celebrities to encourage vaccinations, as if that’s what would overcome hesitancy, is laughable. Biden is being squeezed by two sides: not understanding (and therefore not attempting to address) the rise of right-wing populism on one hand, and not grasping the demands of the coalition that got him elected on the other. He strikes me as someone who is proceeding on the assumption that Americans want a return to the status quo he’s so comfortable with, not realizing that the status quo is dead. This, despite an electoral mandate, and overwhelming public support for topics like government-funded healthcare (63% according to Pew), and marijuana legalization (60%, which goes to over 90% for medical use), he isn’t acting. He’s insisting on building bipartisan cooperation in an era where that’s dead. His outdated way of thinking is going to have disastrous consequences, and all we can do is watch.

I wish I had something more positive to end this with, but I don’t. The confirmation is sinking in that the 2020 election was only a speed bump. We’re still heading in the same direction and picking up speed. And no one seems interested in tapping the brakes.