Joe Biden, who quit the race in 2016 when he might well have beaten Trump, is trying to close the barn after the horses have left. “We are,” Biden declared, “in the battle for the soul of this nation.” That battle was lost more than a generation ago.
Even the talking heads on cable TV are now deigning to speak out loud what’s been on many people’s minds for two years: Is this who we are, or is this an aberration? As one of the few columnists that predicted Trump would win the nomination and the presidency, that question was asked and answered years ago.
The death of America’s soul is what allowed the evil of Bush-Cheney to burble up, blatantly making America First, and turning us into a tribalistic nation after 9.11. Not to mention starting a self-fulfilling “global war on terror,” most recently erupting horrifically on Easter Sunday in Sri Lanka.
After the illusions of the Obama interregnum, we now have the rule-of-law-destroying presidency of Trump. Yet as rightwing Hugh Hewitt malignantly said:
“Democrats have to campaign on something else besides a great economy, rising values of savings, low unemployment across every demographic, clarity about allies and enemies abroad, and a rebuilding military.” (“Clarity about allies and enemies abroad” reads like bad irony, while “are building military” is a jingoistic abomination in an interconnected world.)
Biden, on the other hand, is running on the wishful thinking ticket: “I believe history will look back on this back on four years of this president and all he embraces as an abhorrent moment in time,” That’s a prescription for four more years stuck in the origins of the orange man.
Trump has been like a caustic acid released in the bloodstream of the body politic; he erodes and corrodes everyone and everything he touches. The Democrats in the House don’t have the spine to impeach him on principle however, because they fear it would backfire on them the way it did when the Republicans impeached Clinton in the ‘90’s.
And they certainly don’t have the votes in the Senate to convict the scoundrel and remove him from office. Besides, who except deranged evangelicals, turning a blind eye to a loathsome fornicator, could stomach Pence as POTUS?
That leaves the election of 2020. As bad as Pence would be if Trump were removed from office, he probably wouldn’t start a regional war. If Trump trails by a significant margin this fall, he’ll provoke a war with Iran or North Korea rather than go down in history as a “loser.”
Democrats, afraid of offending the mob that forms Trump’s base, refer to “minority rule,” and speak of Trump’s “solid 40% base” and his 85% approval rating with xenophobic Republicans.
It’s not minority rule; it’s mob rule, which is proven every time Trump holds a rally! And how could we have mob rule in America if we haven’t already lost our soul as a nation?
For example, Republicans have been able to successfully frame the debate on immigration as a choice between the non-reality of open borders and open racism against Mexicans and Central Americans by Trump and immigrant scapegoating base.
As the perennially behind-the-curve David Brooks correctly said before going completely off the rails again, “We have lost our love for ourselves as a people, a faith in our basic goodness, and this loss of faith has been a shock.” When was the last time Americans could rightly have “faith in our basic goodness?”
Brooks pronounces, “Joe Biden is not an individualist. He is a member. He belongs to his family; his hometown; his Democratic Party; his nation…he adopts a personalistic lens, emphasizing the plight of particular individuals.”
That is contradictory and sentimental claptrap. American individualism produced Trump, its lowest common denominator. The personalistic lens of particular individuals is individualistic. And Brooks’ definition of a “member” means belonging to the tribe of ‘my county,’ which has broken down into the smallest possible unit—me, myself and I.
What we have in Trump is not an aberration; it’s the logical, inevitable result of the so-called values that David Brooks and his ilk have proffered and prospered from for decades. Now that the culture and country have collapsed, they prescribe the disease of group identification and nationalism as a cure.
There can be no “restoration of the values that bind us as a collective,” because our vaunted collective values have divided us into 330 million separate selves of competition and greed.
“If we give Donald Trump eight years in the White House, he will forever and fundamentally alter the character of this nation,” Biden gamely said.
Way too late Joe. You’re a throwback calling for “restoration” at a time when not just a rebirth is needed in America, but the birth of something new for humanity–a nation of human beings.