When the Wind Blows Hard
According to some, the US is facing a political calamity of such magnitude that it is likely to shake the entire world. I’m speaking, of course, of the election of Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States.
While there are many who consider this an unmitigated disaster, I find myself more in the camp of saying “compared to what?”
A Clinton presidency would be a win for different corrupt, destructive forces than those represented by Donald Trump, but it would be a win for those forces nevertheless. Predicting which would have a more calamitous effect on worldwide politics does not seem like it should be attempted by the same people who were utterly unable to conceive of a Trump victory — your mainstream media, your liberal libelers and so on and so forth.
Either way, President-Elect Trump is now a reality. A terrible reality to be sure, but a reality nonetheless. It’s time to look to the future. What does it mean? Where do we go from here?
Like I said, there are many who consider this event to be an unmitigated disaster. Let us see how that plays out.
For the US, this is a moment of truth. For decades, their union has trumped up dictators worldwide to serve their own geopolitical whims. With blatant disregard for other nationalities and ethnicities — or indeed, for human dignity — they have undermined legitimate governments and destroyed social and political progress centuries or millenia in the making. Now their karma has manifested in the most blatant way imaginable — in the election of such a character to the highest office in the land.
In geology, the word “catastrophism” describes the belief that the earth has been shaped at least as much by sudden, catastrophic events as by incremental change.
If this in any way applies in a political situation, President Trump must be it. Certainly for the US, he is a catastrophe it has cultivated with decades of intentionally increasing the gap between the rich and the poor, fanning the flame of populist sentiment that burnt its way through the political fabric of their nation.
As Obama promised change and brought a deepening, worsening of the status quo, Trump is likely deliver on his promise of change — at great cost to many Americans and others worldwide.
If Trump is a catastrophe, he must necessarily be a catalyst for change. Hold on to that thought.
Chaos and Corruption
We are already seeing the beginnings of an administration of white supremacists, corrupt businessmen and deep state warmongers take shape around the president elect — in other words it’s business as usual, but more blatantly than before.
With a GOP majority extending to the Senate and Congress as well, this is going to be a rough four years even without another major war.
As Trump is an agent of disorder, he fundamentally thrives on it. We are seeing this in the continued presence of dissent, whether symbolic or violent, engulfing the US in the wake of the election. Through this unfolding mess, Trump is playing people against each other and capitalizing on distractions to take attention away from some of the decisions he has already made. In other words, he is using the narcissistic toolbox that won him the election to distract from the mass collusion and corruption we are about to see coming out of the White House.
The identity politics crowd and the neoliberal and neocon pundits, eager as ever for a soapbox, are feeding the monster by finding ever new reasons to blame the election results on racists, misogynist etc., as well as exploring new ways to symbolically protest the election without actually doing a damn thing.
Oh shit, look at that, Trump is still the president-elect. How about that?
Conservation of Power
When the wild wind blows hard like it does today, the best thing you can do is to bend like a willow tree. Find your core: those things you absolutely will not compromise on.
If you’re a feminist, abortion or marriage rights are for you — yes there are Christian fundamentalists in this government-to-be, your fundamental rights will be called into question. Now is a good time to drop gender pronouns from the discussion. If you are a person of color, you probably want to fight the racist violence & upsurge of white nationalism. Note that I’m not telling you what to do — I’m just observing that your right to abortion, to divorce and to not be murdered in the street is probably more essential than how many triggering statements you can suppress on The Internet.
Choose your battleground. Commit to it. Let everything else blow in the wind. Be a tree fluttering over firm, deep roots. Protect those roots at all cost.
For keeping your calm, I recommend meditation. But any commitment to a firm cause, any focal point for your energy, will do. Do not spread yourself too thin. Let the outrage and horror drive you towards the things you love, not divide your energies. Shelter what you can.
There’s a storm blowing, and it’s not going to stop any time soon.
And if this all sounds fairly grim, remember one last thing: every empire that ever existed has ended.
This one will, too.