Oh, quit crying. That’s what I told myself this morning so I could get out of bed. Instead of being shocked that the nation just elected a mentally unstable white supremacist demagogue as president, why am I not viewing this as an inevitability and an opportunity?
Look at the real issues. Life itself on the planet is at imminent risk. And Bernie was right. Capitalistic materialism not only can’t fix what’s wrong. It is what’s wrong.
A global explosion of human misery is exerting a powerful corrosive effect on national borders. It’s dishonest to portray so-called immigration as only the movement of the brave and worthy toward opportunity. If not yet today, then by tomorrow the lion’s share of global population shift will be driven by fear, flight and sheer survival instinct.
It may sound like a stupid thing to say on the first day of the coming Trump regime, but white centrism is not going to survive these pressures. The competition for survival is about to level its own playing field, and in that tough new world there won’t be any more driving Miss Daisy. Miss Daisy better get a bike.
So how was any of this ever going to be easy? For one thing, white people were never going to go gentle into that bad night. It’s not just this country. Look at Brexit. Look at Poland. Across Europe and North America, white people are bricking up their plague fortresses.
Not that it will work. David Duke's middle class suburban sympathizers are about to rush out of their McMansion closets, thronging to Trump’s knee. The roar of their voices will overwhelm the old man with orgiastic joy. But the things that make them roar are walls against foreigners and an abandonment of communitarian social programs.
Trump’s reactionary ideas – his supporters’ ideas — mixed as we know they must be with lurid corruption, will only make the plight of the nation’s own excluded citizens even more bitter and desperate. That means the left-behind populations will have to herded and fenced somehow. Trump will have to build more internal walls than border walls if he is to keep his followers happy.
Forget immigration. The herding, fencing and social abandonment within the country is where the first explosions will take place. Trump will react to unrest with force. Force will breed fury. Nothing in this picture offers stability.
Why do I think we should have seen this moment as inevitable? It’s the size of it. The moral, social and economic model that rules the Western world today is a prescription for global suicide, but the Western world was never going to simply vote its way out of this. Some violent push was always going to be needed to bring the world to shove, to break open the walls and deprive us of our hiding place.
Trump will do lasting damage, beginning with appointments to the Supreme Court. We can’t comfort ourselves that we will be able to vote our way out of this four years from now.
In fact the true core of our dilemma – long before Trump, larger than our own nation alone – is that our dilemma has always been beyond the reach of mere voting, always far beyond the capacity of even Hillary’s very best ameliorating efforts. Amelioration was a daydream, maybe a lazy one at that, maybe even cowardly.
But the moment is not now, not yet. It's four years from now. Meanwhile let’s hope I’m wrong about everything. If it’s any comfort, I often am.
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Let’s hope Trump can muddle along, more fool than tyrant, happy with the graft, steered and contained by some Cheneyesque regent appointed by Wall Street. Then at least the nation may muddle along as well, for better or for worse, for a while longer anyway.
But what if history does not grant us a dispensation? What if the divisions within the nation four years from now have become a violent threat to the survival of the state and the nation’s position in the world has become truly dangerous? Then the choice will be even more clear. To turn the ship at that point will take something bigger than Bernie.
Of course. What were we even talking about, really? We’re talking about a whole new sense of human identity, a new purpose for life, a new vision of happiness. How did we think we were going to get there with yesterday’s election?
Tough day. I have to admit that even getting out of bed this morning required a certain resolve. Now I’m working on my resolve not to go back to bed. For four years.