It means “disclosure” or the “revelation of great knowledge.” Of course we’ve twisted the ancient Greek word for two millennia and layered new usages on it so it now means some kind of desolation, a wastescape. Some look forward to it, convinced it will benefit them (and deliberately harm or condemn their enemies), others view it primarily through the lens of media and pop culture usuage.
Trump’s presidency ends in mere hours when I’m typing theis and for all the harm and damage I believe it caused – which we will spend a long time repairing, from our pandemic response, to wealth inequality, to our national standing in the wider world – I do give it enormous credit for something important: it revealed.
It revealed the racism and misogyny still rooted deep in American history and institutions, and how insidious offshoots manifest everywhere.
It revealed the motives of extremists of all stripes. It promoted or sheltered ideologies by forgoing dog whistles in favor outright declarations.
It revealed how much of our government relies on honor and shame as preventatives – which both should bring some degree of comfort considering who has come before and what they have decided not to do, and should serve as testament how manifestly inadequate they are as guardrails in the
It revealed the collaboration between populism and plutocracy. It laid bare how specific audiences are whipped up to identity-based furor to claim power, before turning around using that power to benefit a very different audience entirely.
It revealed the difference between popularity and power. Both have limits and uses and taking the advice of Machiavelli to heart, the one that chooses power is likeliest to take the necessary steps to hold onto it even at the expense of popularity – or representing a majority of the people.
It revealed a cultural spirit of spite that I found genuinely breathtaking in its malice and breadth.
It revealed the fissures of race, class, and other identity markers and how
It revealed (or certainly reiterated) just how the tattered threads of our so-called safety net truly are, and therefore how fragile our overall systems are in the face of shock.
And finally, it was a powerful revelation to many, many groups of people that democracy requires and demands participation. And the administration provoked response and organization in truly unprecedented ways.
My greatest worry now is that with the intersecting challenges we face as a world and country, too many people will see a new administration as a chance to go back to complacency. Almost none of the circumstances which enabled this man and his people to come to power are resolved. Meaning, as exhausted as we all are and, it could happen again if we aren’t careful. My fear is that Americans tend to have short memories.