The Impossible Has Become Possible
Well. We are a little over a week after the election and it happened. The unthinkable is now reality and everyone is running around yelling don’t accept this! The fact of the matter is this is now the reality. Trump doesn’t even need to have taken office to act as a stamp of approval for all the “deplorables”.
I don’t know what is going to happen going forward but it seems evident that with Breitbart becoming 21st century version of a state propaganda machine, minting new “Nationalists” by the minute, that there is a new growing menace that lives within western democracies. It crosses national borders and claims to be true democracy. From brexit, to neo-nazi groups in greece, to Trump/Bannon white nationalists, there is a movement going on that is far more of an existential threat than the red scare ever was.
This has been a rising tide for a while of course. Nothing comes out of nowhere. There is a whole group of people disenfranchised by extractive policies of the 1% that are misapplying that unrest toward the easiest thing to see, the “other” that live around them. Of course, ironically, these people share the same hopes and dreams as they do. Indeed we all were those people at one time and not too long ago in America.
But more fundamentally there is a cognitive dissonance between people’s feelings and what they are told the world is. People feel like the world is changing into something that they don’t like. They feel as if their status is no longer quite as high as it used to be. They feel as if the culture has turned on them and taken their birthright. All of these feelings though are being bundled up together and linked in a way that makes it impossible to have a conversation about what are the real issues at hand. My opinion on that is:
- Yes, the elite in this and many countries have actively destroyed our middle classes for their own profit.
- Yes, there still is racism. Gasp.
- Yes, there can be racism against white people in particular situations.
- No, given the historical, and present, institutional racism that exists, a slight against a black person is not the same thing, even if the words are the same, as a slight against a white person.
- No, immigrants are not the problem. Muslims are not a real problem. Not compared to the raping of the middle class that the rich have done over the past 50 years. And, worst of all, the denial of a coming climate calamity the likes of which will be worse than a 1,000 9/11s.
- Yes, there are real comparisons between trump and hitler. It is not even the racial aspect of the conversation but rather that what hitler really ran on was as similar platform of wanting germany to be great again. After ww1 germans felt they were a laughing stock who were being taken advantage of by global bankers. Race was tied into it to connect the feelings of loss of power with in-groups and out-groups.
Finally, a large part of this comes down to patriarchy. The belief that “appearing strong” means that one is strong. The belief that masculinity is the metric of accomplishment that everyone needs to measure up to. We all exist in this social construct and no one can escape it. The thoughtful approach when people are afraid is so often denigrated. My summation on that is that, again, people feel there is an existential threat. When those feelings are not mirrored in their leadership it seems, that leadership is seen as disingenuous.