i’m honestly astounded by again theprescience um that you wrote becausepart of the crisis in handmaid’s talestarted with an attack on on congressand and the the you know the falloutfrom that i mean here all these decadeslater in 2021we had an attack on congress and thereare many who believe that thefundamental democracy of the unitedstates is under threat so what doestotalitarianism look like in the u.sor couldwhen when it arrivesuh well it’ll have a lot of god in itum and a lot of things will be done inthe name of of said worduh that if you actually uh believe insome form of god and in the in the uhlatter part of that book uh you wouldthink that such a god would notindulge in these practices i’m beingvery circumlocations hereum yeah so it would have a lot of godand it would have a lot of americanflags in itand it would have a lot of let’s getback to the old days in itwhen were those old days and what wasgoing on in themso you can’t separate anything thathappens in the united states fromuh its history of uh slaveryand umso-called reconstruction and and jimcrow laws and segregation that’s allvery recentsoi think the totalitarianisms of the leftlead through hopeso things are going to get much betterexcept we have to get rid of thosepeopleand those of the right to lead throughfearunless you follow me and do what i sayterrible things will happenand there’s a list of terrible thingswhich are specific to eachcircumstance but i wouldn’t say that’show it goesdon’t you think well it’s fascinatingagain i mean just reallyjust watching all of this unfold thingsthat i personally never dreamed couldhappen uh an attack on americandemocracy of all places rolling backquote unquote the woman question umwhich we see right now and again goes tothe very heart of the handmaid’s taleand that of course i don’t need to tellyou the texas abortion law themississippi uh abortiondecisions that are about to come up theidea that roe versus weighed may beoverturned either in whole or in parthow well i mean you obviously areconcerned did you ever imagine thoughthat when you wrote the handmaid’s talethis amount of reality would shape up somany decades laterokay i’ve never believed inexceptionalismi’ve never believed it can’t happen here[Music][Music]you
To picture a near-future United States that is a Christian theocracy with open, systematic, and brutal oppression of women, you have to picture some unbelievable changes occurring very quickly: repealing women’s right to vote; a re-acceptance of slavery; widespread Christian acceptance of government-mandated extramarital sexual intercourse; total repeal of the First Amendment; total bans on any other religious beliefs (there are references to “Baptist rebels”). Perhaps most absurdly, almost all men have accepted a regime where the only sexual outlet of any kind is government-monitored breeding with the fertile “handmaids,” reserved for the most powerful
Do you picture lots of American men signing on for asystem that denies them the freedom to have sex with women? You really have to have your “all men have fascist impulses just under their skin” blinders on tohear that and nod, “Oh, yeah, that could totally happen.”
But Margaret Atwood could have set her tale in other places and made it practically a modern-day documentary: say, Saudi Arabia. Or any corner ofTaliban-controlled Afghanistan.
.. Married women may not obtain a passport or travel outside the country without the written permission of their husbands.
.. The UN Children’s Rights Committee reported in March that the age of marriage for girls is 13, that sexual intercourse with girls as young as nine lunar years was not criminalized, and that judges had discretion torelease some perpetrators of so-called honor killings without any punishment. Child marriage—though not the norm—continues, as the law allows girls to marry at 13 and boys at age 15, as well as at younger ages if authorized by a judge. Authorities continue to prevent girls and women from attending certain sporting events, including men’s soccer and volleyball matches.
.. The world has plenty of awful places that can be fairly compared to Atwood’s fictional dystopian regime of Gilead. They’re just mostly Muslim.
Does This Administration Know What It Doesn’t Know?
.. Take a look at President Trump’s inner circle: Vice President Mike Pence, Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, Senior Counselor Steve Bannon, First Daughter Ivanka, First Son-in-Law Jared Kushner, Chief Economic Adviser Gary Cohn, and Counselor Kellyanne Conway…
Only Pence has spent any significant time dealing with the federal government from the inside as aCongressman. Most of those figures have been around politics, but haven’t necessarily been around government. And obviously, Trump himself has never worked in government.
.. That’s my best explanation about how the administration could spend weeks trying to figure out how to fund and pass a massive infrastructure bill, while at the same time, at least $20 billion worth of big energy-infrastructure projects — 15 of them in 14 states, all 100 percent privately funded and all holding the potential to create thousands of new construction jobs — are sitting in front of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, awaiting approval. FERC can’t give approval until it has a quorum, which it has lacked since the beginning of February.
The blame can’t be put on the Senate for taking too long with the nominees; the administration hasn’t nominated anyone yet.
.. The administration has a big, public promise — rebuild America’s infrastructure! — and an easy way to get toit, by staffing up FERC and getting those projects approved. But they’re simply not getting around to it because… they’re just not on top of things.
.. So Trump said his assessment of NATO’s obsolescence was based on not knowing much about it, and now he knows more and feels NATO is improving.