As we return to that horrible day of January 6, when former President Donald Trump supporters invaded the Capitol and whacked the foundations of US democracy, we should ask how much of a blow that infamous day was for our democracy in the EU and Finland.
The bad news is that matters in the US will get much worse before they improve. As everyone should know, racism, fear, and political greed by autocrats to the US’ growing diversity is at the heart of the January 6 violence.
Apart from racism, capitalism and the smell of money have enticed the country to flirt with a right-wing dictatorship.
Certainly, exceptionalism and the blindspot to enforce adequate checks and balances is one of the main culprits. It comes in the form of denial and burying your head deep in your colon.
Can the same happen in Europe, in Finland?
Like Hitler, Trump was also considered a joke. Few, during the 2016 presidential primaries, thought he could win the election.
Hitler’s fuel was the unfair Versaille Treaty, anti-Semitism, and racism. Scapegoating the blame on minorities paved the way to Nazi power.
Even if parties like the Perussuomalaiset (PS)* in Finland are using the same xenophobic tactics as the Nazis in Germany to gain power, the fact that traditional parties like the National Coalition Party (Kokoomus) are flirting with the PS should not surprise us.
Enes Bayrakli and Farid Hafez, editors of the European Islamophobia Report 2020, highlight a worrying trend in Europe. Islamophobia has worsened and reached a tipping point, according to the report.
Throughout Europe, especially in France and Austria, centrist politicians have become more extreme to Islamophobia. If French Prime Minister Emmanuel Macron is a prime example of this worrying trend, we are also seeing this play out in Finland with the close relationship of Kokoomus with the PS.
Those who still express surprise about the relationship between Kokoomus and the PS should see that this is a trend in Europe.
The situation would be many more times worse if Finland had a bigger migrant and Muslim population. Up to now, Muslims account for about 2% of the total population or 110,000-120,000 people.
Despite their small numbers, Islam is the second-biggest relation in Finland after the Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Church.
Countries that suffer from civil war do so because an ethnic group, which has controlled power, sees its power and privilege undermined.
Barbara Walter of the University of California San Diego, who is an expert on civil wars, that ethnic entrepreneurs who try to capitalize on a majority group’s lose of power is a spark for civil war. The only way to avert a civil war is to carry out significant political reform to strengthen democracy.
In plain English this means doing relinquishing power to other groups.
We need more debate and vigilance on how to protect our Nordic welfare state institutions.
The first important t step in this direction is acknowledging that our democracy is under threat as well.