Take Turns! Don’t Fight! The Advice America Needs Right Now

Trump is not taking turns. What do you think happens next?

If you don’t have peaceful transfers of power, you get violent ones. Parliament during Sri Lanka’s 2018 coup attempt.

I always tell my children, take turns, don’t fight. People really underestimate what the alternative to taking turns is. It’s fighting. Adults are not immune to this. The only difference is that we don’t have parents. There’s no telling where our fights will end.

Democracy is taking turns for adults

Journalist Max Fisher said “I once asked a political scientist whether there was a litmus test for democracy, and they said yes: the power of elections to remove incumbents. If that’s gone, it’s not a democracy. It’s just not.”

This is basic. Basic basic basic. It’s the lowest level of democracy, choosing your king or queen. This year Americans had fascism on the ballot, and when it lost, fascism just said fuck ballots. And Republicans are going along with this. They are stopping the peaceful transfer of power for the first time in America’s history.

What is happening in America is a coup. I have lived through a coup and being stupid is no barrier. You need to understand. A coup is an attack on legitimate power. The President-Elect is a legitimate power in the dumb American system. It is understood that their turn is next. But now Republicans aren’t taking turns. This is a coup.

You are severely underestimating how bad this is.

Politics is bound by norms, not laws. Politics makes the laws. Once the norm of taking turns is violated, it is broken. You need to fix it or it doesn’t work anymore. Breaking the rules become the new rules. Stupid fascism becomes smart fascism. You quickly go from regular elections to a forever disputed election to no elections at all.

You must understand the existential threat your young* democracy is in. The Republican Party is no longer running against the Democrats. They’re running against democracy. Americans fail to see this for the existential threat it is. YOU ARE NOT TAKING TURNS. If you know children, then you know how it ends.

When this happens in my household, grabbing and screaming inevitably comes next. Thankfully, my children are not so heavily armed. They only have little child arms. Americans have AR-15s.

This is why it’s so terrifying to see adults not taking turns.

The swindle and the damage done

Republicans know they lost the election. They just don’t give a fuck. They want to win power more than elections. This is what’s so dangerous. Once you violate this norm, then what do you need elections for?

Calling this an attack against democracy seems emotive, but in my experience people give few shits about democracy in the abstract. It’s part of the American mythology more than most, but still not as much as AMERICA FUCK YEAH.

What should be emotive, however, is what any parent understands. Or anyone that’s stood in a line. Or anyone that’s played fucking ping-pong.

If people stop taking turns chaos ensues. There is a deep sense of unfairness at someone cutting in line, or cheating at a game. We all feel and understand this, and that is precisely what’s going on here. It’s the same thing as one child running away with the iPad, except it’s nukes. Literally, the person in charge of the nuclear arsenal has been removed as part of Trump’s coup. This is fucking bad yo. Y’all sleeping.

Rules are the only thing that keep playing from being fighting. It’s what separates sports from just beating each other up. It’s what separates democracies from war.

American government is crippled now

People do not understand this but Joe Biden’s incoming administration is already crippled. In Sri Lanka we beat the coup, but the government that returned was effectively dead. Then we were dead for reals. Without a functioning government, terrorists hit hotels and churches on Easter Sunday 2019, killing 269 of us. Again, without leadership racist mobs hit innocent Muslims in reprisals. I’ve been there and you don’t understand. Your incoming government is already crippled.

The Trump coup has set up at least 20% of the population and most of their legislators to treat the incoming regime as illegitimate. Without the consent of the governed there is no governing. Without governance people die.

This makes basic things like communicating public health impossible, so people will absolutely die. You already have the equivalent of our Easter Attacks every six hours from COVID-19. It will get worse, and violence is a-brewing somewhere, I promise you.

Political violence and assassinations are very likely now. Your greatest threat has been white terrorism for years and now they’re openly walking around with guns and plotting to kidnap governors. It’s coming. There are many dangerous forces that elections keep at bay but those have all been let out of the box now. Mere chaos has been loosed upon the world. “What rough beast, its hour come round at last, Slouches towards Bethlehem [Pennsylvania] to be born?”

This is my great worry about America’s election. That it’s not over. The catharsis of a peaceful transition of power hasn’t happened. This means that all the forces of conflict and violence held down by these rules have been unleashed, and you do not know where they will go.

When adults stop taking turns, where does it end? With children it ends in tears. With adults, in violence, dictatorship, and war.

Read More: I Lived Through A Coup. America Is Having One Now

*56 countries had universal suffrage before America, you owe black people your status as a democracy, not your racist-ass founders. At founding only 6% of the population could vote.