I’ve written a good deal about the death of America’s soul as the essential cause of the emergence of such a hateful, odious liar as Donald Trump as POTUS (an acronym that has become onomatopoetic). But just what does it mean for a nation to lose its soul?
Leading voices of the status quo are still writing treacle such a this, which passes for insight and originality:
“My suggestion this morning that, whatever your beliefs, you also find ways to nourish your political soul during the current period…go searching for tradeoffs and uncertainty. Above all, consider changing your mind about something.”
Only a person well adapted to and benefiting from the disorder and disparity in America would advocate “nourishing your political soul.” This is the kind of tripe that the mainstream media thinks is substance, offering it as an adequate response to the dangerous zeitgeist in the United States.
Another commentator comes closer to the truth, but still misses the mark, when he says the cause of Trumpism is “fear of falling down the socioeconomic ladder, the fear of an irremediable loss of status, authority and prestige — and the desperate need to be rescued from this fate.” What fate has befallen us?
The idea that certain segments and sectors of the United States elected Donald Trump is comforting, but the truth is that America as whole made him president.
So what does the death of a nation’s soul actually mean?
It pertains to the unaddressed internal reality of darkness and deadness, which far outweighs external manifestations and projections. It pertains to the essential intactness of the people, to the “mystic chords of memory” of which Lincoln spoke.
There’s a willful obtuseness in the corporate media, evidenced by statements like, “the country may well be saved from some of Trump’s most draconian impulses by some of Trump’s most pronounced flaws: his lack of seriousness, his aversion to tedium and his gnat-like attention span.”
This is not just a failure of moral imagination; it’s an obstinate refusal to face the fact of evil, even when its main channeler has his twisted mouth in your face.
For decades people asked, how could a country that produced Goethe, Beethoven and Einstein give rise to Hitler? Now, for any with eyes to see, it’s clear: in the same way that the American commentariat refuses to see, and keeps avoiding and minimizing what is happening with the evil that is Trumpism.
They continue to pour forth claptrap such as, “Trump was simply a megaphone for the primal screams of Barack Obama-Hillary Clinton haters flipping out over the cultural anxiety accompanying the ascension of women and minorities.”
The use of the past tense in repeating these self-comforting half-truths is revealing, because it allows them to evade the real and present danger Trump poses, not just to he republic, but to humanity.
It isn’t just that our president “lies the way other people breathe;” it’s that lying and lameness—human tendencies since the beginning of man—became the social currency of the land long before Trump rode a wave of hate and apathy to the most powerful office in the world.
Barack Obama elicited hope and promised change. When, due to his basic mediocrity, he practiced the same old politics as usual as president, many of the same people who voted for him turned against him. People wanted change, and if they couldn’t have it through a decent man, they’d disrupt the entire system with an ugly man.
I knew Obama would win when my mother, now deceased, approvingly asked months before he was nominated what I thought of him. I grew up hearing openly racist remarks, and don’t mark my entry into manhood until I stood up to my father every time he made an egregious utterance.
So when my mother voiced support for Barack, I knew he’d won over enough whites to win. But he governed completely from the head. His devotion to reason blinded him to the truth that he was elected by Americans voting from what was left of their hearts after the horrors of Bush-Cheney.
Barack Obama devotees say, “Trump is a cold shadow of the president Obama was,” but the truth is that President Obama was a cold shadow of what Barack the campaigner was.
Hillary never had a chance. The more she played the woman’s card, the more women and men saw her as a Clinton. Misogyny played a part in her defeat, but it wasn’t determinative, as pigheaded progressives continue to insist.
OJ is back in the news this week. We’ve come full circle. The spiritual is political. Darkness still rules the land, but it can be dispelled.