We are at a moment in history where local politics and national sovereignty are becoming more and more irrelevant as international influence and interference become the norm. It may be impossible for local political entities (whether states, provinces, nation-states, or nations) to govern their internal affairs and politics with sovereignty and without censorship in a world where Russia can run troll farms to disrupt American elections and K-Pop fans around the world can use their influence to reduce attendance at a Trump rally. We may be witnessing the arrival of an opportune moment for nations to become nation-states in a truly global community of international politics in which people and communities from across the globe are able to exert influence worldwide to create universal governance (whether explicit or implicit) for the purpose of meaningful change. The only question at this juncture is will this change be made for good (the equitable treatment of all and elimination of racism, sexism, and discrimination of all kinds) or for ill (the perpetuation of fascist, totalitarian control).
What will the human race decide to do?
That is the question that was on my mind as I woke up this morning.
After nearly four years of being traumatized by an insensitive, caustic, divisive president who has made the last four months terrifying with his absolute incompetent mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic, last week I actually started to see a glimmer of hope. Three SCOTUS decisions that none of us could have anticipated were handed down (DACA, LGBTQ protections, abortion rights upheld) hinting that perhaps the long arc of history does bend toward social justice. Most of us anticipated that the conservatively-stacked SCOTUS would mean completely different decisions than those delivered last month. Many of us were pleasantly surprised by the outcome in those cases.
What changed that allowed such a conservative SCOTUS to deliver what many would consider liberal rulings? Why didn’t the president get his way with the SCOTUS he so carefully attempted to stack in his favor? Could it be that justice truly is blind? Doubtful, but we can hope.
More likely is the fact that his bungling of the pandemic, complicated by the collective anger and protests resulting from George Floyd’s murder by a white police officer by asphyxiation, the subsequent escalation in racist rhetoric from the president, followed by the recent revelation that Russia has been paying bounties to the Taliban to kill American soldiers, have all caused Americans of a broad spectrum of political persuasions (with the notable exception of the staunchest of the president’s supporters) to finally be convinced that the president is actively working against his own people and country for no particular purpose beyond simply dividing our nation and disseminating chaos. At this point, no one in the public eye with a goal of re-election or preserving their reputation as true public servants seems willing to toe the Republican party line if it means supporting the man in the White House.
Additionally, his domestic and international policies have had such sweepingly negative effects around the globe that it’s not just American progressives and liberals who cry out against his dangerous dogma. World leaders and governments, and private citizens worldwide, speak openly about the American president being the most dangerous man in the world. Just recently his own niece published a book calling him just that. In my lifetime I don’t have any memory or historical knowledge of the entire world ganging up on an American president in the way the world has ganged up on Donald Trump.
All of this came together in my mind this morning and coalesced into this thought: perhaps this is how the world comes together in unity to behave as a truly global community.
As an avid sci-fi fan, this idea engenders in me both enthusiasm and terror. There are equal numbers of utopian and dystopian books and movies on the topic of one-world government, my favorite utopian example being that of Star Trek. But Star Trek has never provided us with a believable thesis on the inception of the one-world government. The idea that our knowledge that we are not alone in the universe, but are in fact just one species in a rather crowded cosmos of intelligent life, has never satisfied me as a viable explanation. However, the idea that one individual leader could be so dangerous to the entire planet that all of the citizens and governments of the world come together to quash the threat is believable to me.
We may have arrived at that moment. We could be on the precipice of “a new world order.”
If so, what kind of world will we make it?
There are still dangers and injustices to be overcome. There are still totalitarian governments (some of them disguised as democracies) to be overcome. What if they become the dominant force in the re-creation of our world? What will the rest of us do to prevent that from happening?
I have no answers here; just one compelling question: is this the defining moment of human history? Until the current presidential administration, the world seemed to be mostly in agreement that the future of the human race depended on our response to climate change. That may still be true, but it may be more important to sort out our social contracts first to make sure that we have the moral and ethical sensibility to prevent despots from rising to the highest ranks. Once that threat has been dealt with then we can move on to issues like climate change.
Regardless, we are running out of time. We may be past the point of no return on climate change. Our tolerance of the current inhabitant of the White House and his reckless disregard for our democracy may have made it impossible for us to meet the environmental deadline that could ensure human survival.
Again, I pose the question: what will the human race do? Because it’s not just an American problem we’re dealing with here. The American problem is currently the whole world’s problem and we have a responsibility to solve it. Will we solve it as a nation, or will the rest of the world solve it for us? My money is on the American people right now, and I think our nation will do the right thing in November.
Once we have, we should not delay in answering the other question that is hanging out there: Is this the moment in human history when we come together as one around the world? It will be interesting to find out where we go from here.