From Carolyn Baker, Donald Trump is an integral part of the collapse of the United States of America
The Serpent And The Dove: Wisdom For Navigating The Future
21 November, 2016
At this moment, much of the America and the world finds itself in a profound state of shock and even disbelief as a result of the election of Donald Trump to the Presidency of the United States. Few would conclude that this has been a ‘normal’ election or that Trump is a ‘normal’ President Elect. In fact, ‘normal’ is precisely what Trump abhors and what he was determined to eradicate by running for the office and winning.
As I traveled around the country in advance of the election, I heard stories from so many people. Among them were two white middle-aged men who were avid Trump supporters. They felt that though they had worked hard, they had not prospered the way they expected to. They also saw that their children were having even more difficulty than they were. These men feel betrayed by the “American Dream,” and if you scratch the surface, a bit ashamed that they have not “measured up.” It now seems this shame fueled a blazing anger that is at the heart of Trump’s electoral victory — but the anger is misdirected, and it will become increasingly toxic unless we can find a way to engage in conversation across the political chasm.
This anger and vulnerability is the result of an economy shaped by “trickle-down economics,” which privileges the already wealthy at the expense of those in the middle and at the bottom. These Republican policies betrayed our people. But rather than holding the politicians who passed these policies accountable, or turning their blame to the people who voted these politicians into office, some Americans instead blame the “other” — immigrants, women, people of color, Democrats.
This is a new fascism, or at least near-fascism, and the centre right is dangerously underestimating its potential, exactly as it did 80 years ago. Then, it was conservative anti-communists who believed they could tame and control the extremist fringe. Now, it is mainstream conservatives, facing little electoral challenge from a left in disarray. They fear the drift of their own voters to more muscular, anti-immigrant demagogues on the right. They accordingly espouse the right’s priorities and accommodate its hate speech. They reassure everyone that they have things under control even as the post-Cold War neoliberal order, like the war-damaged bourgeois golden age last century, sinks under them.
The risk, at least for the West, is not a new world war, but merely a poisoned public life, a democracy reduced to the tyranny of tiny majorities who find emotional satisfaction in a violent, resentful rhetoric while their narrowly-elected leaders strip away their rights and persecute their neighbours.
Andrew Harvey and Carolyn Baker are co-authors of the newly released book Return To Joy as well as numerous other titles related to the global crisis.