The American presidential election reveals the true nature of the first world power: its armed, violent, divided people, its fragile democracy, its archaic institutions. The American dream is turning into a nightmare.
These American elections take us back to the 18th and 19th centuries among the bounty hunters and lawless cowherds during the conquest of the West. A few weeks before the ballot to elect the 46th president of the United States, in a particularly anxious context fueled by the sinister President Donald Trump, Americans bought guns. More than 16 million guns were purchased between March and September 2020 according to France Info. That is 91% more than the previous year. This brings to 400 million the number of guns in circulation in this country of 328 million people. No wonder that, from time to time, an excited person shoots in the heap.
What’s the point of buying a gun to vote? Because affluent Americans fear post-election excesses. Because we are in America, in the land of the cowboys, where the one who shoots the fastest is often right. Because violence is consubstantial with democracy, in this country where four presidents have been assassinated: Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) killed by a Southern sympathizer. James Garfield (1831-1881), murdered by a raving lunatic. William McKinley (1843 -1901) shot twice by an anarchist, John Kennedy (1917-1963), killed by in Dallas in his presidential car. That’s a lot.
Because in this America of the 21st century, the gap is growing wider and wider between the conservatives of the center and the south and the progressives of the big metropolises, between the rich and even very rich and the ever-increasing poor. Because American society is gangrenous with racism. Because it is deeply divided between the nerds of the big cities or the technos of Silicon Valley and the stupid, snarling ignoramuses of the great plains of the West and the Middle West. Because the divide is now so wide that chaos threatens. And frightening.
It is in this very particular context that the presidential election took place. Outgoing President Donald Trump and his challenger, Joe Biden, faced each other in a deleterious atmosphere of fear and even hatred against the backdrop of the Covid health crisis. A campaign in which pro and anti are provoking each other as their forefathers would have done in the past. This is evidenced by the surreal images on television on October 30, 2020, where Trump supporters, flags and banners unfurled on cars, surround Joe Biden’s campaign bus on a highway. It’s like the good old days of stagecoaches. Luckily, no one has pulled out his colt.
Since November 3, election day, the votes have been counted and recounted. Very quickly, feeling that victory was slipping away from him, Donald Trump declared himself the winner by shouting, without proof, of massive electoral fraud. His supporters followed him in this anti-democratic delirium.
The risk of an explosion of violence is such that everywhere from New York to Philadelphia to Washington, businesses and public institutions are barricading themselves. It is as if a hurricane is about to hit. As if savage hordes were going to plunder everything. Everyone knows that Donald Trump has asked the “Proud Boys,” those paramilitary units that want to “defend the values (!) of the West” with guns in their hands, to be ready. To what? To fight. These supremacist militias are ready and have made it known.
The time of the cowboys has returned.