Situational Assessment 2017: Trump Edition
Jordan Hall

I’ve read a lot on the current upheavals under way from various points of view and had many discussions with Trump voters (I wasn’t one). I have a mixed reaction to this article. I agree with many of your important, basic points: 1) That it’s likely we’re seeing a fundamental, unpredictable evolution underway globally that’s not just a political “oops” that’s going to “correct itself” back to the old order Establishment, though it will hopefully integrate or transform further in more a positive way. 2) That because it is, in fact, a fundamental structural and power shift, it has the potential to be a really dangerous transition. 3) that “the Blue church” is being discredited as a major Establishment structure, in many respects for good reasons, even though it holds some crucially essential values, like respect for women and those outside the “tribe”, whether the tribe’s religious, ethnic, national, etc.

What I disagree with is, at least at this stage, attributing too much more than what I’d call the “power of No” to the Trump insurgency and the nationalist movements in Europe and elsewhere. They are too unformed as of yet. Metaphorical or literal torches and pitchforks sometimes perform the necessary task of bringing down regimes that otherwise, as you describe, are too in-grown and structurally defended to dislodge through “normal channels”, at least in a time-frame that works for the level of public frustration with them. In this case, torches and pitchforks can and likely will change the world and alter the course of globalism unknowable ways. But they aren’t tools that are useful in an on-going way in creating a thoughtful, respectful, sustainable, caring society at any level — from local to planetary. Many of the writers I’ve read applauding the current upheaval seem as short on actual future working social visions as the Republicans are short on actual replacements for their hated Obamacare. As you suggest, that can be the nature of a collective conscious/unconscious change, especially at the start.

Yet, it’s also important to relate to then move beyond the high level abstractions in your article and also relate to the specifics of what the various insurgent movements actually want to do as a governing/guiding plan for society here and elsewhere. There’s a headiness to shouting “No!” to the Establishment, winning an election, gaining power. Creating a just, functional society in an over-populated, astoundingly diverse world is hugely tougher, even if it’s more focused around national units instead of neoliberal globalization. If I look at the specifics of the Trump insurgency, the Right Wing Establishment people Trump has put in place, the disarray and destructiveness of his climate policy, the chaos of false promises and misinformation in his health, immigration, environmental and other policies, I don’t yet see a great collective intelligence in the life-impacting specifics of this insurgency. I only see Trump riding the insurgency, but putting in place the other head of the Two Headed Establishment Cyclops, in collaboration with, yes, the hugely well-funded Establishment Republican party-of-the-rich, which is now rolling out its long-time radical Right-wing agenda in waiting under the banner of a populist insurrection they fought so hard against in the primaries.

The world’s a very complicated place. Let’s call fake news fake news, whether it comes from the NY Times, CNN, Breitbart or Zerohedge. Let’s call bad policy bad policy, or a lie a lie, whether it comes out of Hillary Clinton’s mouth or Trump’s mouth. Thinking for yourself, dealing with specifics, and thinking of solutions rather than complaints seems more important now than ever. For example, it seems very likely to me that Trump is involved in a not-so-secret collaboration with Russia that’s not beneficial for me or the people of the US (or world) based on the development of fossil fuel interests by very rich people like Trump, Rex Tillerson and Putin, who really don’t give a shit about the fact the global warming is already beginning to disrupt our world in serious ways right now. If the secret collusion is true, Trump should be booted out of office as a traitor not just to the US, but to humanity. Somehow, the revolution can and will carry on without him. I’m still focused on the solution of moving as rapidly as possible away from fossil fuels — and spoke at our town council last night urging them to pay an extra few bucks a year for our town infrastructure to buy all renewable energy. I think they will. A spade needs to be called a spade and a pussy-grabbing jerk a jerk while at the same time understanding Trump represents a larger, inevitable force of change that needs to be engaged, befriended, and fought, all at the same time.