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Dhaka Tribune

The ‘Bald Eagle’ is falling

America’s moral decay seen around the world

Update : 22 Jan 2024, 10:02 AM

The rot of America’s core has recently reached such a stunningly putrid state, where not only is the stench fouling up the world, but it is also eroding the morale of those who hoped that there was, at least, one place in the world where a democratic way of life was possible. Soon, it appears, that hope might be lost forever.

In less than a decade, an astounding amount of deadly, destructive and utterly immoral events were initiated, undertaken and executed by the US government headed by Donald Trump -- both at home and abroad, and a lot of similar acts have been committed by the newly emerged and dangerously-armed ultra-conservative Trump supporters with deadly weapons, relentless actions and vile words. And these actions have abruptly eroded the hope for a world where one could live a decent life without having to conform to any particular ideology, religion, values, etc.

In less than five years, all three branches of the US federal government -- the executive, the legislative and the judicial branches -- have become embroiled in bitter political fights and bickering, and in the process, lost the confidence of the vast majority of the US population, along with the respect of the rest of the world.

The executive clown

For the first time in the history of the US quadrennial presidential elections, a sitting president, Donald Trump (elected in 2016) who lost his re-election bid four years later in 2020 decided that he didn’t want to give up power. And, half of the nation thought that to be ok.

The ex-President began fraudulent claims and lawsuits, violently trying to change the election results, resorting to destruction while half of the country cheered him on. The world watched the events of  January 6, 2020, with utter disbelief and horror thinking: “So, this is what America has come to …”  

A violent mob of thousands of Trump supporters descended upon the Capitol grounds, stormed its hitherto hallowed halls and chambers chanting and looking for Vice President Pence to hang him, searched the premises to find Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, wanting to kill her, and ultimately to stop the certification of the election results, in the process, to overthrow the government. The United States fell into the category of nations it had been calling until recently the “nations of thugs and criminals.”

The legislative circus

Then, the circus that is the legislative branch began to be revealed. The immorality of trying to steal someone else’s victory notwithstanding, the hypocrisy of the Trump-supporting ultra-conservative Republican congressmen, the lies they perpetrated, endorsed and supported, the sycophancy they demonstrated is unheard of. The American “exceptionalism” now took a sinister meaning. For the “outsider,” it felt as though hell’s gates had just been let open, and flaming, rabid imbeciles had taken over the Garden of Eden.

The immoral judiciary

And, most recently, the judicial branch -- the bedrock of American morality -- the absolute grounds where “no corruption can take place, no favouritism can be observed and where the moral high-ground and spotless ethics are the only prism through which things are done, where no one is above the law,” was exposed to be the den of a few dark, greedy, fat rats who themselves committed the crimes for which they’d send an ordinary citizen to jail for decades. And, when light was shown, some members of even the Supreme Court turned out to be just like any other transgressor that the White America has always been reviled as a “louse, a thief and a criminal.”

Flipping the switch

So, what happened to America? There seems to have been a major cultural shift. The United States of the twentieth-century -- the beacon of freedom, liberty and prosperity -- seems to have been lost. The country seems to have now lost its moral compass.

The first two decades of this century was the specter of a superpower gradually falling apart: In 2001, Al-Qaeda brings down the Twin-Towers in New York City; in 2002 the stock market crashes, the US attacks Afghanistan; from 2003-4 an economic recession deepens; in 2007, the housing market crashes and it takes the world down in spiral of economic depression.

By the time Donald Trump won the presidency in 2016, the country had essentially become a place where the majority of the formerly “peace-loving” Americans suddenly turned anti-immigrant, anti-abortion, anti-social welfare.

There are massive gun-shootings and killings; the police are choking, maiming and shooting to kill black Americans; historical facts and events unfavourable to the “white cultural narrative” are being deleted from the school textbooks. The revisionist times have arrived.   

Like all great civilizations of the past, this one, too, has apparently reached its ceiling, and is now instead of growing and expanding, including and inviting, inventing and discovering, it is now instead stagnating and deflating, excluding and detaching, destroying and bragging.

It’ll be the actions of the leaders of this nation, especially, of the winners of this coming election in November of 2024 that will decide the fate and future of this once great nation. But more importantly, those actions will also decide the future of nothing less than democracy itself as a way of life around the world.

Dr. Halimur R Khan is a university professor and can be reached at [email protected] .

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