A towel, [The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy] says, is about the most massively useful thing ; wrap it round your head to ward off noxious fumes or avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (such a mind-boggingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can’t see it, it can’t see you); you can wave your towel in emergencies as a distress signal, and of course dry yourself off with it if it still seems to be clean enough.” If only it was that funny…or simple.
A day or so after Trump won, I read Autocracy: Six Rules for Survival. Practical suggestions shared by Russian/American journalist and LGBTQ activist Masha Gessen, someone familiar with the tactics of Trump’s buddy, Putin.
Now, about 2 months later, with Donald John Trump (no denying it, or hiding from it) about to be sworn in as the 45th President of the USA, it’s an additional jolt to re-read the six rules … it can happen here.
Here are rules #1 and #3 of Gessen’s six Rules for Survival:
Rule #1: Believe the autocrat. He means what he says. Whenever you find yourself thinking, or hear others claiming, that he is exaggerating, that is our innate tendency to reach for a rationalization.
Rule #3: Institutions will not save you. It took Putin a year to take over the Russian media and four years to dismantle its electoral system.
Of course, the United States has much stronger institutions […] The problem, however, is that many of these institutions are enshrined in political culture rather than in law, and all of them — including the ones enshrined in law — depend on the good faith of all actors to fulfill their purpose and uphold the Constitution.
The national press is likely to be among the first institutional victims of Trumpism.
One thing for certain: we’re headed into an unknown and wild four years (or more), so any tool at all could prove useful to survive Trump the autocratic Bugblatter.