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Is America a civilized nation?

Yes. We have no doubt. Still is. Nevertheless…

  1. This is a country obsessed with firearms, where there are more guns than citizens. With severe mental health problems, it is a nation fascinated by violence and with a political system under the control of the destruction industry and its related businesses, such as the prison management and the manufacture of weapons.
  1. It is the country where more than a million people lost their lives due to Covid. More than any other in the world, despite its status as a developed nation. Its public and private health system – perhaps the most advanced in scientific terms – was already rotten before the pandemic.

If the 20th century was clearly the American Century, with the 21st it began -let’s say on September 11, 2021–, a clear acceleration of its imperial decline. Followed by two absurd and very expensive wars (Iraq and Afghanistan) that greatly contributed to the severe deterioration of its basic infrastructure and, shortly after, the global collapse of financial markets. And then Trump arrived.

Last week’s massacre in a town of 15,000 souls located in Uvalde, Tx, between Piedras Negras, Coahuila, and San Antonio, Texas, left 19 children and two teachers dead. The very fact that it was an 18-year-old boy who entered with a high-powered rifle to indiscriminately murder as many children as he could at the Robb Elementary School -on the U.S. side of the border-, is in itself a symptom of the magnitude of the problem.

Above all, because we all know what comes after: the duel, of course, especially in its media version. The recriminations and extreme political polarization. And then the spin doctors of the National Rifle Association will use the pulpits to explain to us, for example, that Texas has a murder rate four times lower than Mexico’s, or that maybe if some other kid had come into the room with a .45 caliber in his backpack “only for his protection”, the tragedy would have been avoided.

It is in this context that we must consider the Trump factor. Regardless of his blunders in handling the pandemic, this is a good time to recognize him in his double capacity as both a cause and a symptom of these interesting times we must deal with.

The former president and unofficial candidate for 2024 is an opportunist who knew how to read his audiences. Peculiar character from the world of entertainment he had the talent to see politics for what it is nowadays: part of the show business industry. Brilliantly provoked, he has known how to take advantage of the racism and ignorance of millions of people as fertile ground for the growth of the extremist right in his country. The uncivilized face of America.

Between this massacre of 21 human beings who in the eyes of American society are almost all “Mexicans”, and the famous speech with which Donald Trump launched his first presidential campaign accusing Mexicans living in his country of being “rapists” and “criminals”, there is no substantive difference. Only of degree.

Certainly, verbal violence is not the same as the execution of so many elementary school children and their teachers, but in today’s United States it is clear that a person’s national identity does not depend on the color of their passport or their immigration status, but on the color of their skin and economic condition. In this case, the victims are Mexicans, precisely from the generation that when they reach adulthood will represent a third of the entire population of the United States.

So I think the question of this headline is a valid one (although unpolite). There are still many arguments to recognize this country as civilized one: there still are many millions who believe that the law, respect for others and tolerance are the way forward.

Without denying the profound wisdom of “the evil of many, consolation of plugs”, it is necessary to recognize that the return of the same winds of hatred and populism that paved the way for Mussolini and Hitler a little over 100 years ago are not an exclusive phenomenon. from the United States. Today they blow from the United Kingdom and its Brexit to Moscow and its warlike delusions. And beyond…

We live in a troubled world. Islamic fundamentalism and Christian fundamentalism are growing stronger. Economic inequality as well. In many places the times of the caudillos have returned.

In this context, the half of American society that did study and continues to believe in the values of a civilized world (more delimited by where they live than by their Republican or Democratic identity) faces the enormous challenge of containing the rage and outbursts of the other half, the one that loves its assault rifles, are still clinging to the age of coal, oil and rapacious consumerism.

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