The ascendancy of Donald Trump is surprising, but it is not surprising. How could this have happened? How could it not! We are not a society of little angels. The toxins that Trump peddles have been spred across America for a long time.
For decades the Republican Party has stoked this fire with increasing recklessness, callousness, and relentlessness until finally it turned into the devastating blaze. There was never anything “unimaginable” about the nasty anti-modern furies that carried this revolting manipulator to the White House; more precisely, liberals appear to have suffered yet again from a failure of recognizing the obvious. If our commitment to the ethics of impartiality, fairness and acceptance leaves us shocked at the tenaciousness of our counterparts, then our idealism is narrow-minded and childlike.
This is a country of wildly different fortunes, and the belief in equality does not make people equal: The unparalleled pace of change, the daze of the technological acceleration in which we live, produces a sensation of insecurity, an uncontrollable volatility, which often results in fear. Trump fed off of that working-class panic and white panic. He excels at the politics of fear and panic. He is certainly not the first: There is a tradition of such politics in America. In the wake of his victory, we must learn from, and adapt to its causes. Why all this American panic? Come on, man! Wake up!
It is inexcusable not to know one’s own country. Yet the development of our understanding does not forgive us of the responsibility for judgment. To understand is not to forgive. We have to study the roots of populism and contemplate the nature of ethno-nationalism, learn how it lives, study it’ in its natural habitat so that we can effectively combat it. The current leadership in the Democratic Party simply has not done that, nor sent the necessary tie and effort to counterview the Republican poison that has been spreading at the local, state and federal levels.
We must also preserve our disgust at the distasteful and destructive politics that have just succeeded and spend every possible minute finding a way to better reach the disenfranchised white middle clas that we have lost to the propaganda machines employed by the conservatives.
There is no economic analysis that can excuse bigotry. The scapegoating of others by unhappy people cannot be justified by their misery. Resentment, even when it has a basis in reality, is one of the foulest political emotions, and it has been the source of horrors throughout history. Trump’s road to power was distinctly a foul road, even though it was supported by millions of people. Wisdom is never to be found in the size of crowds. Trump’s success attests only for his strategy. It says nothing about his correctness much less his decency. Those Americans who are ashamed that we have elected as our president a man teeming with biases and lies are right. Their shame is what makes America great, not some stupid ball cap. But Democrat wasted so much time fighting amongst themselves, as usual, that the conservatives beat s at every turn.
Bernie and Clinton should have found a way to work against the common enemy before, not after the primaries. We should have concentrated on finding a way to connect with the middle class, including the blue collar voters whose livelihoods have slipped away due to technology, not trade deals. With Bernie against trade deals he missed the mark. With Clinton for TPP, an EXCEPTIONALLY BAD trade deal she missed the mark. How the hell did we think we could win fighting against one another and a Party that will lie, cheat and steal? If Progressives don’t start developing a cogent, simple and concise winning strategy for 2018 and implementing it NOW we could be lost forever.
How ironic. The champion of anger now says that we should rise above anger. Having employed divisiveness as his main instrument, the president-elect now implores us to put an end to our divisions. In the name of post-electoral mutual benefit, we are supposed to forget what we know, what he said, how he said it, how disgustingly he acted. Well I say bullshit Cheeto Man.
You don’t get to use those weapons against anyone and everyone who opposed you then suddenly cry foul because we don’t acquiesce to your wishes. It is important to encourage the reality, and the inevitability, even the nobility of our differences. They are based on fundamental distinctions of viewpoint, on conflicting conceptions of the individual and society, on irreconcilable ethical perspectives, on irresoluble views of America and its responsibilities in the world.
Bullshit sermons about working together — one of President Obama’s specialties, and we see how well that worked out — only confuse the situation. Where we can work together, sure, maybe we will work together — who the hell is against shoring up our crumbling infrastructure? And it would be great to rehabilitate the art of compromise in a system of government designed for compromise. But Republican methods of governing never practice what they preach. It is impossible for them to bring back the jobs lost to technology with tariffs and tax cuts. We should pound them every day that t doesn’t work. We should force broadcast media to cover it through any means possible.
There is no way in hell to unite the view that one should deport the children of undocumented immigrants with the view that one should not deport the children of undocumented immigrants. This is what Martin Luther King Jr. meant when he condemned “the luxury of cooling off.” If the presidency of Donald Trump inspires anything, it should be a brutal spirit of opposition. We cannot cool off, we must heat up…and set the media ablaze with the atrocities that the coming administration will surely bring.
But Trump’s victory, we are told, was owed mainly to the hatred of Washington, which is plainly dysfunctional. It is undeniably tough to say a kind word about Congress, which could not even find a way to act against the Zika virus when it mattered most.
But this, too, is just pure bullshit. Republicans contributed overwhelmingly to the breaking of the system, and then they bluster to the country that, “Look, look how the system is broken!” They refuse to govern, and then they criticize government. They confuse governing with having their way.
The same question must be asked of the anti-elitism upon which Trump based his campaign. Never mind the bad joke of the billionaire from Fifth Avenue and Palm Beach pretending to be an outsider, a man of the people. The real issue is the relationship of social status to decency. There is no relationship!
Is it not elitist to disrespect Muslims, Mexicans, African Americans, women, immigrants, and Jews, then assume a blue collar is a moral pass? A college education is not a requirement for, nor a guarantee of, a moral compass: There are educated members of the American elite who spectacularly lack a moral compass…such as the man who was elected president Tuesday.
And there are “poorly educated” Americans who profusely express kindness and harmony for Americans unlike themselves. Neither the elites nor the masses have a monopoly on qualities of character. But Trump’s American vision despises people at the top and people at the bottom. It is nothing if not an inclusive vision. All one requires to curry Trump’s favor is to say something nice about him.
The demons that have haunted our society for decades and even centuries, the abhorrent bigotry that currently disgraces other governments in the West, will now inhabit the White House for gosh sakes. Difficult times are giving way to dark times, and dark times require a special clarity and a special attentiveness and a special ferociousness about principle.
We must not lose our faith in moral progress and in social progress. We have to be ever more mindful that moral progress and social progress are not linear nor inevitable. There will always be reversals and setbacks, because change rattles the world that preceded it. If you demand justice, prepare for instability, and for the exploitation of instability by political reactionaries who weaken the wounded with wistfulness and fantasies about the “good ole days” of exclusiveness and segregation.
The struggle for reform is often succeeded by the struggle to repeal reform. Trumpism, insofar as it is rationally about anything, is some great promise of repealing everything that has been accomplished to this point in inclusivity and justice. If Trump and Republicans succeed in this repeal, then the fight for stop the repeal must begin in earnest, ferocity, and with newfound vigor that has been sadly lacking. It is one of the abiding conditions of a functioning democracy comprised of conflicting ideals…The fight is never over.
The normalization of Donald Trump has already begun. When a crushed Hillary Clinton graciously asked that Trump be given “a chance to succeed,” I will be the first to admit…I feel no such graciousness. And progressives must make noise. So much noise that they cannot be ignored. Time after time, Trump surrogates would interrupt, obfuscate, and instill fear of impending doom. Democrats must quit talking about Republicans and talk about solutions. Radical solutions. Simple sounding solutions. We HAVE to love the poorly educated because they VOTE!
I don’t give a rat’s ass if that makes me feel small to adopt less polite tactics. Because if Trump and his pet conservatives succeed, America fails; and it is America, its values and its interests, whose success matters most to me.
We’ve played nicely for too long. The political liberty that we cherish in this republic is most virtuously and exhilaratingly experienced as the liberty to oppose that which we see as unfair and we must make and keep people mad at the Republicans for the next four years, non-stop or the war is lost forever.
Play to win damn it; better, quit playing at all. It’s time to fight, to bleed if necessary. Utilize media experts, not just politicians. There is too much at stake not to give it our all. Fight smart. UNIFY YOUR VOICES! Take no prisoners. Offer no quarter. It’s all there if you use it effectively. Get people in front of the cameras who know what they’re doing. Your kids are depending on you and so are your families, neighbors, and country.