Obviously, a question of this type requires a direct answer: The American Dream collapsed 30 years ago. Right on April 19, 1993, shortly after noon, as that is the exact date that an explosion followed by a horrific fire killed 76 people at Mount Carmel Ranch in Waco, Texas.
Let me explain: many years ago I heard a true expert in understanding that historical experiment called the United States say that the main strength of that country lay in something superior to its military apparatus or its mega economy; I was in a kind of social consensus around the idea that they are the good people, chosen by God to embody the best moral values of humanity. That is, its formidable propaganda machinery capable of giving a shared course to just over 300 million individuals.
It seems to me that this is the case that Waco — along with its brutal sequel two years later, on the very same date — could not overcome. That kind of shared identity is exactly what was broken 30 years and months ago, when agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with military backing, “injected” tear gas for several hours to try to force David Koresh, leader of a small Christian cult who , along with a hundred of his heavily armed followers, had spent 51 days trying to prevent the implementation of an arrest warrant inside the farm, located in the middle of nowhere, where they lived.
Whether due to the bureaucratic stupidity of the federal government, or due to Koresh’s suicidal and criminal will, the event marked the United States.
Religious extremism, a peculiar cult of firearms, and a more or less primitive idea of individual freedom from their authorities have been, so to speak, part of the American DNA since its inception as a nation. Which, it must be said, did not prevent that country from rising for a couple of centuries as the main economic and military power on the planet and also the nation most open to diversity. In fact, in many ways, they were the main mold of the capitalist system that currently prevails throughout the world.
The contradictions, then, have always been there. What is special about the case of the Davidian sect — technically Seventh-day Adventist Christians, convinced of the imminence of the Apocalypse — lies in the inability of society itself to reconcile narratives based on the idealization of firearms and biblical teachings. , with almost any social model that can be recognized as “modern” or “civilized”.
Born in 1959 in an environment of misery, mental health problems and family violence under the name of Vernon Wayne (which he would later change to David Koresh), this character was a “prophet” –that’s how he presented himself– which illustrates quite well the context of the dark side of American society.
Waco, the events themselves and the aftermath of outrages that surround them –religious fanaticism, pedophilia, police arrogance– could pale in contrast to the almost daily series of massacres that occur in schools, hospitals, churches and shopping malls in that country.
But this is not the case, especially if we remember what happened on April 19, 1995, precisely at 9:02 in the morning, when another peculiar character who two years earlier appeared as an “observer” at the “siege of Mount Carmel”: That morning, at the federal building in Oklahoma City, Timothy McVeigh, along with another member of the so-called “militias”, Terry Nichols exploded a car bomb that killed 168 people and injured 680 more.
This is how extremist Christianity turned into criminal violence and the cult of firearms expressed as domestic terrorism managed to collapse the “American Dream.” Although it must also be said, it was not the first time. Something similar happened a century before with the racist lynchings of the Ku-Klux-Klan: In its aftermath, Waco diminished the membership of extremist Christianity and Oklahoma City diminished the Armed Militias.
Although Trump, the hatred from the “blessed networks”, the “fake news” and everything else would be present and would rise again shortly after.