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False Prophets

Beware the pundit class. Wealthy and/or influential folks, usually white men but not always, whose job it is (they think) to advise us on the moments and movements of culture and society. The columnists, critics, talking heads, predictors, reporters. Formerly comfortable people who have been deeply surprised and are now deeply uncomfortable, which is understandable, but who have reactions to recent events that benefit themselves more than those who are now most vulnerable.

Beware those calls for “an open mind” and “understanding the other side”. Sure, understanding is good, and demonizing people is bad. But “stop calling all Trump supporters racist” is a straw man argument. Few are doing that. Most are saying that Trump supporters voted for a racist administration (and that’s being proved more and more right with each passing day) and that vote is the same as a racist vote in the end. The pundit class doesn’t care about that argument — they are more than likely trying to soothe their guilt and shame. Guilt that they have ignored the situation in rural America for so long, and shame that they, so wise and uniquely qualified to tell us about our own country, so deeply misread the situation and were so wrong about how this election and its aftermath would play out. Not just Trump’s victory, but the assembly of the most white-supremacist administration in decades, putting to rest the theory that “he’s not going to actually do any of this stuff”. The pundit class is dying to redeem itself, to prove that it is still necessary, by desperately clawing for some piece of information or idea overlooked by the masses, some thing that we simple consumers have missed. Only, we haven’t missed a damn thing. This is just as bad as it looks, and it’s going to get worse, and all these calls to unify are the wrong thing at the wrong time for the wrong reasons.

We need to condemn racism, bigotry, xenophobia, corruption, and misogyny. We need to continue our push to organize resistance to these hateful ideologies; to push these evil ideas to the margins and ultimately eradicate them. We need to protect people who have been made more vulnerable by the victory of Trump and the events he has set in motion. Those are the tasks right now. Don’t fall into the trap of prioritizing the needs of discredited authors of public opinion, who speak only for themselves more often than they realize. For those people, here’s a little Hotspur:

And shall it in more shame be further spoken,
That you are fool’d, discarded and shook off
By him for whom these shames ye underwent?
No; yet time serves wherein you may redeem
Your banish’d honours and restore yourselves
Into the good thoughts of the world again,
Revenge the jeering and disdain’d contempt
Of this proud king, who studies day and night
To answer all the debt he owes to you
Even with the bloody payment of your deaths