The film? Well, there's this train, its a runaway, it's moving really fast and it's heavy. Pretty straightforward stuff. It's Hollywood after all. Now, the train while runaway is not lost like a runaway child. Everybody knows where it is going:it's going to crash somewhere and whatever/whoever it hits is going to be devastated. That's the movie.
The moral? Well, we cannot stop the train from crashing. Its going to crash. It has to crash. The train and film were built for this. Call it fate. Destiny even. For those off the train, all we can try to do is minimize the damage done wherever it hits by trying to send it in a direction that will do the least amount of damage.
Strangely, I think that this is where Americans find themselves at the moment. Trump is Jon Voight - tough, hard-headed, ready to rumble and little idea of the technicalities involved with his journey. Trump's son might be Eric Roberts: earnest but a little naive, a bit more polished, a bit more sympathetic, likely to inherit what is left by Voight. The train is the US government and the executive is driving the train.
Who are the rest of us? Well, we are simultaneously the people potentially in harms way and we are the people in the booth frantically trying to figure out what could be done do diminish damage.
Thus far nothing is working. The American populous tried to protest. Still rolling. They tried the courts. Still rolling. An investigation was called (kind of). Still rolling. There was some media scrutiny. But with fake news and a distrust of facts, thats not going to do it. Still rolling. Ridicule and parody. Still rolling.
How does one establish acceptability in a democratic system when the leader ignores the cues set forth within a democracy and several have failed already? Well there are some interesting options.
1) Double down and engage in more effective efforts among those strategies already applied.
2) Try something new: mobilize the population that did not vote and prepare them for the next electoral contest (i.e., inform them about the issues, the candidates, the process and illustrate the train). Looking at the Archigos data, there are some other options:
Leaders can lose office in 1) a regular manner, according to the prevailing rules, provisions, conventions and norms of the country, 2) an irregular manner, 3) through direct removal by another state, and 4) as a result of a natural death, under which we include illness or suicide. Examples of a regular loss of office include voluntary retirement, term limits and defeat in elections. A loss of office is considered irregular when the leader was removed in contravention of explicit rules and established conventions. Most irregular removals from office are the result of the threat or use of force as exemplified in coups, (popular) revolts and assassinations (more on this below) and occur at the hands of domestic opponents. Assassinations may or may not have a clear political motivation; we prefer to make no judgments about the “real” intention behind assassi- nations. In a few cases, it may be disputed whether a leader dies of natural causes or is assassinated. We clarify our judgments in the case descriptions. As in the case of entry into office, we restrict removal by another state to direct interventions, as in the case of a successful invasion. We do not code cases where another country is perceived or known to have orchestrated the removal of a leader through a coup carried out by domestic forces (for example, Allende in Chile or Mossadeq in Iran) as foreign removal, but simply as an irregular loss of office.
We are on/watching the train and we have some idea of what is coming. All that remains is who is going to do what, what the president is going to do in response or proactively as well as where the train ends up. One thing that we can be sure of: this one is not going to be pretty.