As the world looks on with dread, the American commentariat continues to deny the underlying causes of why a “petulant egomaniac” has been elected to the most powerful office in the world.
The liberal-conservative divide, with its “culture war” narrative, is completely inadequate to explaining the second eruption of evil in America in the 21st century. Indeed, such superficial explanations contribute to the darkness and deadness ruling this land, which is spreading throughout the world.
Arrogant ‘thought leaders’ use their perches of power and privilege to make pronouncements like: “Donald Trump will become president next week because a sufficient number of Americans have had it with the confining, tiptoeing, politically correct form of speech and interaction favored by liberal elites on the coasts who believe they hold a monopoly on wisdom and the only key to progress.”
This from a member in good standing of the liberal elite, although one that has leaned ever more agonistically toward hawkish and traditionally conservative views reminiscent of the Cold War.
While it is true, as he says, that “it’s the culture, stupid,” rather than the economy, his analysis extends no further than facile, insipid pronouncements such as: “Getting America out of its mess begins with the acknowledgment that New York and California do not have a stranglehold on truth, any more than Kansas and Missouri do.”
The issue is not America at all. The US imploded at the same time the USSR exploded. The issue is the human prospect, and whether an adequate response by a sufficient number of global citizens can emerge, both inwardly and politically, to fill the vacuum of leadership the imminent death of Pax Americana opens up.
As has been pointed out many times, the divisions, conflict and fragmentation wrought by ‘higher thought’ cannot be resolved by science, technology and the market, since they are products, for better but increasingly for worse, of thought.
Power, which has been the basis of political organization since the beginning of civilization, is now chaotically disbursed. ‘The sole remaining superpower’ has been running on fumes since the end of the Cold War. Donald Trump represents a pathological desire to take America back to the post-World War II zenith of American so-called greatness.
The truth that Americans still refuse to face is that this country collapsed morally and socially at the same time the Soviet Union collapsed economically and politically.
Yet, in a perverse attempt to be fair-minded, media mouthpieces are saying ludicrous things like, “there are plenty of smart upstanding Americans out there in God-fearing gun country.”
Drawing an equivalence between the left’s misguided motivations, driven by a “moral panic about racial, gender and sexual identity,” and the manipulated hatred of Trump’s supporters, is beyond brainless. It’s inextricably part of the same underlying denial that gave rise to a sick narcissist about to have his finger on thousands of nuclear warheads.
President Obama, as exemplified by his sophomoric and soporific farewell speech, was a placeholder between the lesser evil of Bush-Cheney (who would have ever thought the phrase ‘lesser evil’ would be applied to Bush and Cheney?) and the greater evil of Donald Trump and his sycophants.
Trump continues to be underestimated, and the threat he poses avoided (not just to American democracy and the vaunted international order, but humanity itself) because the intelligentsia does not have a clue about the nature and operation of evil.
They cling to the wishful thinking that “with time, more Americans will side with Meryl Streep,” even as they contradict themselves by saying, “this Meryl Streep speech is why Trump won.”
Wherever people fall on the political spectrum in America, the vast majority is infected with the idea that they can have things both ways. That’s human nature to some degree, but Americans have pushed it to the hilt, and it’s about to bring the nuclear sword out if its sheath.
The mainstream American media is having an existential crisis over the question of truth. Yet they still refuse to examine the dominant underlying premise shared by people on both the left and the right that has brought things to this pass. That is, as someone said to me recently, the solipsistic notion that “the truth is in the eye of the beholder.”
We can, as individuals and groups, see things as they are (the truth with small ‘t’). It isn’t ‘all a matter of perception.’ The logical end of that mentality is the malignancy of President Trump.
The lenses of our backgrounds, experiences and worldviews inevitably distort perception to one degree or another. However people inside and outside America can take the lenses off and simply question together with the intent to see the real and present danger, and generate the insight to adequately respond to it.
Before the inevitable collapse of the international order occurs, we have the opportunity to move in the direction of a true global order—if a sufficient minority begins pouring the foundation now by questioning and igniting insight together.