Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Progressive Perspectives on the Election of Donald Trump as President of the United States

Above: President Obama shakes hands with President-elect Donald Trump, November 10, 2016 (Win McNamee/Getty Images). For an insightful article about the moving of the Norman Rockwell painting in the Oval Office so that it would hang over Mr. Trump’s shoulder, click here.

I don't know about you but I'm still trying to get my head around events of last week.

I'm referring not only to the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States but also to what this says about the U.S. and its people and what it bodes for the future of this country and the planet. I'm also struggling with the related news that less than fifty percent of registered voters actually bothered to vote and that there has been a disturbing spike in reported hate crimes and incidences following Trump's election.

Much has been written about all of these events and developments, and following is a compilation of excerpts from some of the more erudite and insightful articles and commentaries I've come across in the last week. For me, and perhaps for you, these excerpts offer words of insight, challenge and, in the case of both Charles Eisenstein and Junot Díaz, much-needed hope.


From Barack Obama, the first African-American president, the pendulum has ominously swung to the Ku Klux Klan’s choice, Donald Trump. Just elected the 45th president of the United States, Trump opened his campaign calling Mexicans “rapists,” and promised to build a wall along the border with Mexico (and to make Mexico pay for it). He vowed to ban Muslims from entering the country, insulted people with disabilities, bragged about committing sexual assault, denied climate change and said he would jail his opponent, Hillary Clinton. It is important to note that Clinton won the popular vote, but Donald Trump prevailed in the Electoral College. Ironically, on election night 2012, Trump tweeted, “The electoral college is a disaster for a democracy.” Trump will assume the most powerful position in the world, the presidency of the United States, with the House of Representatives and the Senate remaining in Republican control. His power could be almost entirely unchecked.

Amy Goodman and Denis Moynihan
Excerpted from "Trumped: When the Loser Wins"
Democracy Now!
November 10, 2016

The election of Donald Trump to the Presidency is nothing less than a tragedy for the American republic, a tragedy for the Constitution, and a triumph for the forces, at home and abroad, of nativism, authoritarianism, misogyny, and racism. Trump’s shocking victory, his ascension to the Presidency, is a sickening event in the history of the United States and liberal democracy. On January 20, 2017, we will bid farewell to the first African-American President – a man of integrity, dignity, and generous spirit – and witness the inauguration of a con who did little to spurn endorsement by forces of xenophobia and white supremacy. It is impossible to react to this moment with anything less than revulsion and profound anxiety.

David Remnick
Excerpted from "An American Tragedy"
The New Yorker
November 9, 2016

Who do we blame?

The Democrats, who picked a flawed candidate in Hillary Clinton?

The Clintons, who have acted like the White House is their birthright?

The Republican party, which lost control of its base?

The media, which created a false equivalence between a former secretary of state and a reality TV star?

Wall Street, which comprehensively screwed ordinary Americans out of their homes and their jobs?

Political leaders, who have failed to manage the negative impacts of [corporate-led] globalisation and the “new economy”?

James Comey, the FBI director who intervened in a most dramatic fashion in the election campaign?

The Russians, for hacking and releasing the Democratic party’s emails?

Donald Trump, who lied, insulted and bullied his way into office?

The millions of Americans who let fear and hate trump optimism?

Frankly, all of the above.

Kristina Keneally
Excerpted from "Who’s to Blame for America’s
First Megalomaniac, Celebrity President?
The Guardian
November 9, 2016

[Trump's win] speaks to deep and persistent strains of misogyny and white supremacy in American society.

But we can recognize all this yet still reject the idea that all women who reach as high as Mrs. Clinton will meet the same fate. Yes, she had a gold-plated résumé that more than qualified her to be president. But that overlooks an important fact: Virtually everything about Mrs. Clinton’s biography made her uniquely unsuited to draw blood where Mr. Trump was most vulnerable.

This election needed a Democrat who could call out, again and again, the myriad hypocrisies and absurdities of Mr. Trump’s claim to be a hero for the downtrodden working class. In the debates, Mrs. Clinton landed points when she exposed Mr. Trump’s history of outsourcing and tax dodging. But by then Mr. Trump had already spent the summer mocking his opponent for her private parties with oligarchs, painting her own lifestyle as profoundly out of touch with ordinary Americans (which it is).

In short, she landed on many of the right messages, but she was the wrong messenger.

Naomi Klein
Excerpted from "Trump Defeated Clinton, Not Women"
The New York Times
November 16, 2016

Donald Trump tapped into the anger of a declining middle class that is sick and tired of establishment economics, establishment politics and the establishment media. People are tired of working longer hours for lower wages, of seeing decent paying jobs go to China and other low-wage countries, of billionaires not paying any federal income taxes and of not being able to afford a college education for their kids – all while the very rich become much richer.

Kathy Cramer’s book [The Politics of Resentment] offers an important way to think about politics in the era of Trump. Many have pointed out that American politics have become increasingly tribal; Cramer takes that idea a step further, showing how these tribal identities shape our perspectives on reality. It will not be enough, in the coming months, to say that Trump voters were simply angry. Cramer shows that there are nuances to political rage. To understand Trump's success, she argues, we have to understand how he tapped into people's sense of self.

Jeff Guo
Excerpted from "A New Theory for Why Trump Voters
Are So Angry – That Actually Makes Sense
The Washington Post
November 8, 2016

What I was hearing [when researching for my book The Politics of Resentment] was this general sense of being on the short end of the stick. Rural people felt like they not getting their fair share.

That feeling is primarily composed of three things. First, people felt that they were not getting their fair share of decision-making power. For example, people would say: . . . Nobody’s paying attention, nobody’s coming out here and asking us what we think. Decisions are made in the cities, and we have to abide by them.

Second, people would complain that they weren’t getting their fair share of stuff, that they weren’t getting their fair share of public resources. That often came up in perceptions of taxation. People had this sense that all the money is sucked in by [the big urban centers], but never spent on places like theirs.

And third, people felt that they weren’t getting respect. They would say: The real kicker is that people in the city don’t understand us. They don’t understand what rural life is like, what’s important to us and what challenges that we’re facing. They think we’re a bunch of redneck racists.

So it’s all three of these things – the power, the money, the respect. People are feeling like they’re not getting their fair share of any of that.

. . . Look at all the graphs showing how economic inequality has been increasing for decades. Many of the stories that people would tell about the trajectories of their own lives map onto those graphs, which show that since the mid-'70s, something has increasingly been going wrong.

It’s just been harder and harder for the vast majority of people to make ends meet. So I think that’s part of this story. It’s been this slow burn.

Resentment is like that. It builds and builds and builds until something happens. Some confluence of things makes people notice: I am so pissed off. I am really the victim of injustice here.

Kathy Cramer
Quoted in Jeff Guo's article, "A New Theory for Why
Trump Voters Are So Angry – That Actually Makes Sense
The Washington Post
November 8, 2016

Trump’s election is going to be the biggest “fuck you” ever recorded in human history – and it will feel good. . . . Whether Trump means it or not is kind of irrelevant because he’s saying the things to people who are hurting, and that’s why every beaten-down, nameless, forgotten working stiff who used to be part of what was called the middle class loves Trump. He is the human Molotov cocktail that they’ve been waiting for, the human hand grenade that they can legally throw into the system that stole their lives from them.

Michael Moore
via Facebook
November 9, 2016

They will blame James Comey and the FBI. They will blame voter suppression and racism. They will blame Bernie or bust and misogyny. They will blame third parties and independent candidates. They will blame the corporate media for giving him the platform, social media for being a bullhorn, and WikiLeaks for airing the laundry.

But this leaves out the force most responsible for creating the nightmare in which we now find ourselves wide awake: neoliberalism. That worldview – fully embodied by Hillary Clinton and her machine – is no match for Trump-style extremism. The decision to run one against the other is what sealed our fate. If we learn nothing else, can we please learn from that mistake?

Here is what we need to understand: a hell of a lot of people are in pain. Under neoliberal policies of deregulation, privatisation, austerity and corporate trade, their living standards have declined precipitously. They have lost jobs. They have lost pensions. They have lost much of the safety net that used to make these losses less frightening. They see a future for their kids even worse than their precarious present.

At the same time, they have witnessed the rise of the Davos class, a hyper-connected network of banking and tech billionaires, elected leaders who are awfully cosy with those interests, and Hollywood celebrities who make the whole thing seem unbearably glamorous. Success is a party to which they were not invited, and they know in their hearts that this rising wealth and power is somehow directly connected to their growing debts and powerlessness.

For the people who saw security and status as their birthright – and that means white men most of all – these losses are unbearable.

Donald Trump speaks directly to that pain. The Brexit campaign spoke to that pain. So do all of the rising far-right parties in Europe. They answer it with nostalgic nationalism and anger at remote economic bureaucracies – whether Washington, the North American Free Trade Agreement, the World Trade Organisation or the EU. And of course, they answer it by bashing immigrants and people of colour, vilifying Muslims, and degrading women. Elite neoliberalism has nothing to offer that pain, because neoliberalism unleashed the Davos class. People such as Hillary and Bill Clinton are the toast of the Davos party. In truth, they threw the party.

Trump’s message was: “All is hell.” Clinton answered: “All is well.” But it’s not well – far from it.

Naomi Klein
Excerpted from "It Was the Democrats'
Embrace of Neoliberalism That Won It for Trump

The Guardian
November 9, 2016

The neoliberal era in the United States ended with a neofascist bang. The political triumph of Donald Trump shattered the establishments in the Democratic and Republican parties – both wedded to the rule of Big Money and to the reign of meretricious politicians.

The Bush and Clinton dynasties were destroyed by the media-saturated lure of the pseudo-populist billionaire with narcissist sensibilities and ugly, fascist proclivities. The monumental election of Trump was a desperate and xenophobic cry of human hearts for a way out from under the devastation of a disintegrating neoliberal order – a nostalgic return to an imaginary past of greatness.

White working- and middle-class fellow citizens – out of anger and anguish – rejected the economic neglect of neoliberal policies and the self-righteous arrogance of elites. Yet these same citizens also supported a candidate who appeared to blame their social misery on minorities, and who alienated Mexican immigrants, Muslims, black people, Jews, gay people, women and China in the process.

This lethal fusion of economic insecurity and cultural scapegoating brought neoliberalism to its knees. In short, the abysmal failure of the Democratic party to speak to the arrested mobility and escalating poverty of working people unleashed a hate-filled populism and protectionism that threaten to tear apart the fragile fiber of what is left of US democracy.

Cornel West
Excerpted from "Goodbye, American Neoliberalism.
A New Era is Here

The Guardian
November 9, 2016

If ever there was a repudiation of "The Establishment," this was it.

The most patently unqualified, the most offensive, personally odious presidential candidate in American history has just been elected president. The Groper in Chief.

This is not so much an embrace of Donald Trump – his negatives were even higher than Hillary Clinton's – as it is a repudiation of everything Establishment for the past two decades, especially Clinton, the living embodiment of Everything Establishment.

. . . Racism. Nationalism. Misogyny. Anti-Intellectualism. Authoritarianism. Those are Trump's unapologetic stocks in trade. The only thing we know is that we have experienced a tectonic shift of Rooseveltian proportions, only this time to the right, rather than to the left.

We’ve seen two of those in the past century. One was in 1933, in Germany, which is to say, Hitler. The other was in 1980 in the U.S., which is to say Reagan. We honestly don’t know enough about Trump to know which he will be, or whether he will be something entirely different. Only time will tell.

Robert Freeman
Excerpted from "President Donald Trump
and the Great Repudiation
Common Dreams
November 9, 2016

The media played a critical role in creating President-elect Donald Trump. The Tyndall Report, which tracks how much airtime different issues and candidates receive on the major news networks, summarized media coverage of the candidates in 2015. Donald Trump received 327 minutes, or close to one-third of all the campaign coverage, at a time when he had 16 Republican challengers. ABC World News Tonight aired 81 minutes of reports on Donald Trump, compared with just 20 seconds for Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, according to Tyndall. On March 15, 2016, after the primary day dubbed “Super Tuesday 3,” the networks played all the candidates’ speeches, except for the speech by Sanders. The networks actually spent more time showing Trump’s empty podium, filling the time until he spoke, than playing any words of Sanders’, who addressed the largest crowd that night.

Earlier this year, CBS CEO Les Moonves told a Morgan Stanley-hosted media-industry conference, speaking about the volume of political advertising that the “circus” of Trump’s campaign was attracting: “It may not be good for America, but it’s damn good for CBS. . . . The money’s rolling in.” As world-renowned linguist and political dissident Noam Chomsky says, “The media manufacture consent.”

Amy Goodman and Denis Moynihan
Excerpted from "Trumped: When the Loser Wins"
Democracy Now!
November 10, 2016

Decades from now, when the election of 2016 is distilled to its essence, what will that essence be? Many hoped the central lesson would be a shattered glass ceiling and a continuation of the Obama legacy. An expansion of rights and tolerance.

Instead, a razor-thin electoral majority chose a candidate who openly embraced a platform of bigotry, who slurred war heroes and the disabled, who was accused of sexual assault, who said he'd roll back the protections of a free press, who was cheered on by white supremacists, who said he'd upend our alliances and the world's long-overdue climate deal, and who seemed ignorant and cavalier about the basics of safeguarding a nuclear arsenal.

There is no way to sugarcoat it. This election is a brutal affront to women, people of color, Jews and Muslims, and all who value kindness and tolerance. Paranoia and divisiveness have won the day. If we feared that the lesson of the Trump campaign would give white nationalists and other political predators a road map for a lasting presence as a disruptive opposition, we have instead handed them the keys to the Oval Office, and the nuclear codes.

In these last horrible months, there were moments we all crossed our fingers and hoped the Trump campaign's ability to inflame bigotry might, ultimately, improve the health of the body politic. Maybe he represented a high fever that, once broken, would leave us more immune to old hatreds. Maybe, just as videos of police shootings shoved the most heinous forms of structural racism into the feeds of white America, so would the actions of Trump and his most virulent supporters cast a light on an ugliness that needed to be confronted to be overcome.

Except, it seems it was also far, far more pervasive than we could let ourselves imagine.

Clara Jeffrey
Excerpted from "Don't Mourn, Fight Like Hell"
Mother Jones
November 9, 2016

And so, the so-called “unthinkable” has happened. Donald Trump, the racist, sexist, xenophobic candidate of the Republican alt-right, has been elected President of the United States.

Across social media, white anti-Trumpers are expressing shock and disbelief, unable to recognize the America they thought they knew.

Well, wake up. This is the America people of color have always known. This is the America that has always existed.

. . . The election of Donald Trump is painfully consistent with how America historically has reacted to the racial tide turning in the past. From the 13th Amendment, the seeds of mass incarceration were sewn. The hope of Reconstruction gave way to Jim Crow. The first black president has given way to Donald Trump. . . . It’s been so easy for white liberals to turn a blind eye to the deep-seated nature of racism in the past  especially after eight years of being able to cling to their vote for a black president. But Tuesday was a wake up call, a stark reminder that there is more for you to do. It will be the job of those Americans who do not agree with Trump and his surrogates, now more than ever, to combat the deluge of bigotry that’s been left in the wake of his ridiculous campaign trail. There are no more excuses.

Zeba Blay
Excerpted from "Don’t Be Surprised.
This is the America You Have Always Lived In
The Huffington Post
November 9, 2016

To insist Trump’s backers are good people is to treat their inner lives with more weight than the actual lives on the line under a Trump administration. At best, it’s myopic and solipsistic. At worst, it’s morally grotesque.

Between 1882 and 1964, nearly 3,500 black Americans were lynched. At the peak of this era, from 1890 to 1910, hundreds were killed in huge public spectacles of violence. The men who organized lynchings – who gathered conspirators, who made arrangements with law enforcement, who purchased rope, who found the right spot – weren’t ghouls or monsters. They were ordinary. The Forsyth County, Georgia, sheriff who looked the other way while mobs lynched Rob Edwards, a young man scapegoated for a crime he did not commit, was a well-liked and popular figure of authority, as described by Patrick Phillips in his book Blood at the Root: A Racial Cleansing in America.

And the people who watched these events, who brought their families to gawk and smile, were the very model of decent, law-abiding Americana. Hate and racism have always been the province of 'good people.' To treat Trump voters as presumptively innocent – even as they hand power to a demagogic movement of ignorance and racism – is to clear them of moral responsibility for whatever happens next, even if it’s violence against communities of color. Even if, despite the patina of law, it is essentially criminal. It is to absolve Trump’s supporters of any blame or any fault. Yes, they put a white nationalist in power. But the consequences? Well, it’s not what they wanted.

Jamelle Bouie
Excerpted from "There’s No Such Thing
as a Good Trump Voter
November 15, 2016

Between Barack Obama’s 2008 election and 2016, America has transformed from being a majority white Christian nation (54 percent) to a minority white Christian nation (43 percent).

But on Election Day, paradoxically, this anxious minority swarmed to the polls to elect as president the candidate who promised to “make America great again” and warned that he was its “last chance” to turn back the tide of cultural and economic change.

One clue to the power of this racial and religious identity can be seen in the striking similarity of a map of white Christian population density by state to the red and blue election night map. While the similarity of those maps in Kentucky and West Virginia might not be a surprise, the same similarity in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania goes a long way to explaining why Hillary Clinton’s Midwestern firewall did not hold on election night.

The choice before the country was starkly clear. Donald J. Trump’s Republican Party looked back wistfully to a monochromatic vision of 1950s America, while the major party fronting the first female presidential candidate celebrated the pluralistic future of 2050, when the Census Bureau first projected the United States would become a majority nonwhite nation.

. . . The waning numbers of white Christians in the country today may not have time on their side, but as the sun is slowly setting on the cultural world of white Christian America, they’ve managed, at least in this election, to rage against the dying of the light.

Robert P. Jones
Excerpted from "The Rage of White, Christian America"
The New York Times
November 10, 2016

Low-information voters have given us a low-information president. Trump’s lack of sophistication and his apparent disinterest in doing the hard work it takes to understand the complexities of economics, international relations and military strategy is the most alarming aspect of his looming presidency. His character flaws and reactionary tendencies are hardly insignificant, but his willful ignorance of vital knowledge is what may make him the world’s most dangerous man.

David Horsey
Excerpted from "Trump’s Careless Ignorance
Could Make Him the World’s Most Dangerous Man
The Los Angeles Times
November 10, 2016

Donald Trump said so many things in so many different ways during the course of his 17-month campaign for the presidency – about building walls, banning Muslims, tearing up the Iran nuclear deal, abandoning climate agreements, and scrapping the Trans-Pacific Partnership – that it is easy to imagine that he might take the country in any of a number of difficult directions.

But that is the same nonsense that has allowed Trump to get this far. We know enough about Trump and the party he leads.

Make no mistake, Trump now leads the Republican Party. And that party has in recent years developed an approach to power. When it does not control the executive branch, the GOP obstructs the Democrat who is in charge. When it has the executive and legislative branches in its grip, the GOP acts. Quickly.

Despite the whining of “Never Trump” conservatives that the Republican nominee was politically impure, Trump accepted the nomination of a socially and economically conservative party that spelled out its agenda in a platform that People for the American Way’s Right-Wing Watch recognized as a more extreme version of the party’s previous programs: “a far-right fever dream, a compilation of pouting, posturing, and policies to meet just about every demand from the overlapping Religious Right, Tea Party, corporate, and neo-conservative wings of the GOP.”

. . .  Trump will stumble quickly. He will not deliver on the promises that he should keep, and he will keep the promises that should be abandoned. Americans will come to realize his election as a profound error of judgement, just as the voters of Great Britain quickly recognized the folly of this year’s Brexit vote.

Trump has secured an Electoral College majority. But he was not the choice of the majority of Americans who cast ballots for the presidency. And the popular vote, which should elect presidents, will ultimately favor Clinton. This is the place of beginning. Donald Trump has won the presidency. But he has no great mandate. Indeed, the great mandate is with those who can and must oppose not just a Trump presidency but the cruel hoax that is Trumpism.

John Nichols
Excerpted from "It Really Is That Bad"
The Nation
November 9, 2016

Donald Trump and his surrogates have declared that the country has given them a mandate. But when you lose the popular vote by more than 200,000, it's pretty hard to claim that the public has given you its blessing.

Ironically enough, back on Election Day in 2012, Donald Trump tweeted: "The electoral college is a disaster for a democracy."

For once, he and I agree.

Yet it's amazing how fast such criticisms went away after Trump eked out his Electoral College victory.

Instead, we heard nonsense claims about a "popular wave," which, sadly enough, the news media immediately embraced. This is not much of a surprise, considering that that same media has often embraced the Trump lexicon – e.g., inserting the word "temporary" in front of Trump's proposed Muslim ban, even though it was not at all temporary in nature; using the tepid-sounding "locker-room talk" as opposed to "boasts about sexual assault"; never using terms such as "bigot" or "white nationalist," which would've accurately characterized Trump and his surrogates; or, as Mike Pesca has frequently pointed out, employing the term "pivot" when they should've been saying "lie" or "contradiction."

Now our language is once again being subjected to the same sort of Orwellian torture, stretching the term "mandate" so that it somehow means what it doesn't actually mean.

Can you imagine if this situation were reversed – if Hillary Clinton had clawed out an Electoral College victory while losing the popular vote?

We know from his debate response to Chris Wallace that Trump himself likely would've refused to concede, but what about other Republicans?

Do you think they would agree that she had a mandate for her proposals?

Somehow, I doubt it. They'd be screaming bloody murder about the Electoral College and the "rigged" system.

Ross Rosenfeld
Excerpted from "Let's Not Pretend
There's a Trump Mandate
The Hill
November 10, 2016

What is happening in America right now is not normal.

It is not normal that a presidential candidate with no prior government or military experience, who unambiguously and repeatedly vowed to violate the Constitution should he be elected president, will soon become commander in chief of the nation’s armed forces.

It is not normal that an individual helming a vast family business empire with holdings domestic and international will soon be in a position to use the instruments of the world’s most powerful government to enrich himself and his kin.

It is not normal that the preferred candidate of conspiracy theorists like radio host Alex Jones will soon have access to the nation’s top secrets. Eight years ago, the only presidential candidate willing to talk to Jones was Ron Paul, whose wacky and paranoid newsletters now seem quaint considering that America just elected as president a man who claimed that his predecessor is not a natural-born U.S. citizen and “founded” ISIS.

And yet here we are being told to act like all of this is normal. That the voters who willed this unmitigated disaster into being have legitimate grievances and that their collective decision must be respected. While the democratic expression of the American people should of course be respected, that does not make it respectable. To use an analogy to which our insult-strewing president-elect can relate: I refuse to put lipstick on this pig.

James Kirchick
Excerpted from "Nothing About President-Elect
Donald Trump’s America is Normal
The Daily Beast
November 14, 2016

America died on Nov. 8, 2016, not with a bang or a whimper, but at its own hand via electoral suicide. We the people chose a man who has shredded our values, our morals, our compassion, our tolerance, our decency, our sense of common purpose, our very identity — all the things that, however tenuously, made a nation out of a country.

Whatever place we now live in is not the same place it was on Nov. 7. No matter how the rest of the world looked at us on Nov. 7, they will now look at us differently. We are likely to be a pariah country. And we are lost for it. As I surveyed the ruin of that country this gray Wednesday morning, I found weary consolation in W.H. Auden’s poem, September 1, 1939, which concludes:

Defenseless under the night
Our world in stupor lies;
Yet, dotted everywhere,
Ironic points of light
Flash out wherever the Just
Exchange their messages:
May I, composed like them
Of Eros and of dust,
Beleaguered by the same
Negation and despair,
Show an affirming flame.

I hunt for that affirming flame.

This generally has been called the “hate election” because everyone professed to hate both candidates. It turned out to be the hate election because, and let’s not mince words, of the hatefulness of the electorate. In the years to come, we will brace for the violence, the anger, the racism, the misogyny, the xenophobia, the nativism, the white sense of grievance that will undoubtedly be unleashed now that we have destroyed the values that have bound us.

We all knew these hatreds lurked under the thinnest veneer of civility. That civility finally is gone. In its absence, we may realize just how imperative that politesse was. It is the way we managed to coexist.

. . . Many years from now, future generations will need to know what happened to us and how it happened. They will need to know how disgruntled white Americans, full of self-righteous indignation, found a way to take back a country they felt they were entitled to and which they believed had been lost. They will need to know about the ugliness and evil that destroyed us as a nation after great men like Lincoln and Roosevelt guided us through previous crises and kept our values intact. They will need to know, and they will need a vigorous, engaged, moral media to tell them. They will also need us.

We are not living for ourselves anymore in this country. Now we are living for history.

Neal Gabler
Excerpted from "Farewell, America"
November 10, 2016

We are exiting an old story that explained to us the way of the world and our place in it. Some may cling to it all the more desperately as it dissolves, looking perhaps to Donald Trump to restore it, but their savior has not the power to bring back the dead. Neither would Clinton have been able to preserve America as we’d known it for too much longer. We as a society are entering a space between stories, in which everything that had seemed so real, true, right, and permanent comes into doubt. For a while, segments of society have remained insulated from this breakdown (whether by fortune, talent, or privilege), living in a bubble as the containing economic and ecological systems deteriorate. But not for much longer. Not even the elites are immune to this doubt. They grasp at straws of past glories and obsolete strategies; they create perfunctory and unconvincing shibboleths (Putin!), wandering aimlessly from “doctrine” to “doctrine” – and they have no idea what to do. Their haplessness and half-heartedness was plain to see in this election, their disbelief in their own propaganda, their cynicism. When even the custodians of the story no longer believe the story, you know its days are numbered. It is a shell with no engine, running on habit and momentum.

We are entering a space between stories. After various retrograde versions of a new story rise and fall and we enter a period of true unknowing, an authentic next story will emerge. What would it take for it to embody love, compassion, and interbeing? I see its lineaments in those marginal structures and practices that we call holistic, alternative, regenerative, and restorative. All of them source from empathy, the result of the compassionate inquiry: What is it like to be you?

It is time now to bring this question and the empathy it arouses into our political discourse as a new animating force. If you are appalled at the election outcome and feel the call of hate, perhaps try asking yourself, “What is it like to be a Trump supporter?” Ask it not with a patronizing condescension, but for real, looking underneath the caricature of misogynist and bigot to find the real person.

Even if the person you face IS a misogynist or bigot, ask, “Is this who they are, really?” Ask what confluence of circumstances, social, economic, and biographical, may have brought them there. You may still not know how to engage them, but at least you will not be on the warpath automatically. We hate what we fear, and we fear what we do not know. So let’s stop making our opponents invisible behind a caricature of evil.

We’ve got to stop acting out hate. I see no less of it in the liberal media than I do in the right-wing. It is just better disguised, hiding beneath pseudo-psychological epithets and dehumanizing ideological labels. Exercising it, we create more of it. What is beneath the hate? My acupuncturist Sarah Fields wrote to me, “Hate is just a bodyguard for grief. When people lose the hate, they are forced to deal with the pain beneath.”

I think the pain beneath is fundamentally the same pain that animates misogyny and racism – hate in a different form. Please stop thinking you are better than these people! We are all victims of the same world-dominating machine, suffering different mutations of the same wound of separation. Something hurts in there. We live in a civilization that has robbed nearly all of us of deep community, intimate connection with nature, unconditional love, freedom to explore the kingdom of childhood, and so much more. The acute trauma endured by the incarcerated, the abused, the raped, the trafficked, the starved, the murdered, and the dispossessed does not exempt the perpetrators. They feel it in mirror image, adding damage to their souls atop the damage that compels them to violence. Thus it is that suicide is the leading cause of death in the U.S. military. Thus it is that addiction is rampant among the police. Thus it is that depression is epidemic in the upper middle class. We are all in this together.

Something hurts in there. Can you feel it? We are all in this together. One earth, one tribe, one people.

Charles Eisenstein
Excerpted from "The Election:
Of Hate, Grief, and a New Story
November 10, 2016

So what now? Well, first and foremost, we need to feel. We need to connect courageously with the rejection, the fear, the vulnerability that Trump’s victory has inflicted on us, without turning away or numbing ourselves or lapsing into cynicism. We need to bear witness to what we have lost: our safety, our sense of belonging, our vision of our country. We need to mourn all these injuries fully, so that they do not drag us into despair, so repair will be possible.

And while we’re doing the hard, necessary work of mourning, we should avail ourselves of the old formations that have seen us through darkness. We organize. We form solidarities. And, yes: we fight. To be heard. To be safe. To be free.

For those of us who have been in the fight, the prospect of more fighting, after so cruel a setback, will seem impossible. At moments like these, it is easy for even a matatana to feel that she can’t go on. But I believe that, once the shock settles, faith and energy will return. Because let’s be real: we always knew this shit wasn’t going to be easy. Colonial power, patriarchal power, capitalist power must always and everywhere be battled, because they never, ever quit. We have to keep fighting, because otherwise there will be no future – all will be consumed. Those of us whose ancestors were owned and bred like animals know that future all too well, because it is, in part, our past. And we know that by fighting, against all odds, we who had nothing, not even our real names, transformed the universe. Our ancestors did this with very little, and we who have more must do the same. This is the joyous destiny of our people – to bury the arc of the moral universe so deep in justice that it will never be undone.

But all the fighting in the world will not help us if we do not also hope. What I’m trying to cultivate is not blind optimism but what the philosopher Jonathan Lear calls radical hope. “What makes this hope radical,” Lear writes, “is that it is directed toward a future goodness that transcends the current ability to understand what it is.” Radical hope is not so much something you have but something you practice; it demands flexibility, openness, and what Lear describes as “imaginative excellence.” Radical hope is our best weapon against despair, even when despair seems justifiable; it makes the survival of the end of your world possible. Only radical hope could have imagined people like us into existence. And I believe that it will help us create a better, more loving future.

Junot Díaz
Excerpted from "Radical Hope"
The New Yorker
November 21, 2016

Related Off-site Links:
The Nightmare President – Alex Emmons (The Intercept, November 9, 2016).
Why the White Working Class Rebelled: Neoliberalism is Killing Them (Literally) – Juan Cole (TruthDig, November 9, 2016).
Donald Trump is Moving to the White House, and Liberals Put Him There – Thomas Frank (The Guardian, November 9, 2016).
Hillary Clinton’s Celebrity Feminism Was a Failure – Sarah Jones (The New Republic, November 10, 2016).
A Series of Strategic Mistakes Likely Sealed Clinton’s Fate – Abby Phillip, John Wagner and Anne Gearan (The Washington Post, November 12, 2016).
Donald Trump Won on White-Male Resentment – but Don’t Confuse That with the Working Class – Monica Potts (The Nation, November 10, 2016).
White Evangelicals Voted Overwhelmingly for Donald Trump, Exit Polls Show – Sarah Pulliam Bailey (The Washington Post, November 9, 2016).
Trump Voters Will Not Like What Happens Next – Garrison Keillor (The Washington Post, November 9, 2016).
The Hubris of Democratic Elites and the Clinton Campaign Gave Us President Trump – Kevin Gosztola (Common Dreams, November 5, 2016).
Donald Trump's Shock Victory Sparks Protests Across America – Sam Levin, Zach Stafford and Scott Bixby (The Guardian, November 10, 2016).
Will Trump Destroy America? – Jonathan Freedland (The Guardian, November 10, 2016).
As Trump Transitions to Power, "Cabinet of Horrors" Takes Shape – Lauren McCauley (Common Dreams, November 10, 2016).
The Trump Administration Hasn’t Even Started Yet, and It’s Already a Fiasco – Paul Waldman (The Washington Post, November 14, 2016).
Vice-President Mike Pence Will Be the Most Powerful Christian Supremacist in U.S. History – Jeremy Scahill (The Intercept, November 15, 2016).
The Mike Pence (Donald Trump) Assault on LGBTQ Equality is Already Underway – Michelangelo Signorile (HuffPost Queer Voices, November 12, 2016).
Here’s What Mike Pence Said on LGBT Issues Over the Years – Will Drabold (Time, July 15, 2016).
Ethics Authorities Raise Corruption Concerns Over Trump’s Children Running His Businesses and Transition – Zachary Pleat (Media Matters, November 14, 2016).
"The Racist, Fascist Extreme Right is Represented Footsteps from the Oval Office": Republicans Warn of Trump Presidency – Ben Norton (Salon, November 15, 2016).
Bernie Sanders Takes On Trump: "We're Going to Stand Together and Fight" – Matt Wilstein (The Daily Beast, November 14, 2016).
Jill Stein Voters Did Not Deliver Donald Trump the Presidency – Tara Golshan (Vox, November 11, 2016).

UPDATES: Historian Ken Burns: Trump is Using Nazi PlaybookCNN Politics (November 2016).
Trump Isn’t Hitler. But We Should Act Like He Is – Peter Dreier (Common Dreamst, November 18, 2016).
Bernie Sanders Lays Out Best and Worst Scenario of Trump Presidency – Elias Leight (Rolling Stone, November 15, 2016).
Feminists Misunderstood the Presidential Election from Day One – Liza Featherstone (Common Dreams, November 15, 2016).
Looking for Someone to Blame? It's Not Third Parties – Jill Stein (The Guardiant, November 15, 2016).
A Few Thoughts on the Election and What President Trump Means for Indian Country – Gyasi Ross (Indian Country Todayt, November 16, 2016).
Civil Rights Groups Condemn Nomination of Jeff Sessions as Attorney General – Daniel Marans (The Huffington Postt, November 18, 2016).
Donald Trump's Potential Supreme Court Judge Pick Thinks Gay People Should be Jailed for Having Sex – Caroline Mortimer (The Independent, November 17, 2016).
Trump is Stocking His Administration with White Nationalists – Ned Resnikoff (Think Progress, November 18, 2016).
Nuclear Trump: Three Dangers and Three Opportunities – Joseph Cirincione (The Nation, November 16, 2016).
Michael Flynn: An Alarming Pick for National Security Adviser – The Editorial Board (The New York Times, November 18, 2016).
 The Real Reason to Worry About Gen. Michael Flynn – James Carden (The Nation, November 18, 2016).
Bad News: Trump is Not Becoming Any More Presidential – Ruth Marcus (The Washington Post, November 18, 2016).
Bernie Sanders Draws Massive Crowds as Progressives Prepare to Fight Trump – Nika Knight (Common Dreams, November 18, 2016).
An Unstoppable Progressive Movement – Mark Pocan (The Progressive, November 19, 2016).
Why “Bernie Would Have Won” Matters – Noah Baron (The Huffington Post, February 9, 2017).
Fake News, Russia and Comey: All Poor Answers to Why Donald Trump Won – Bhaskar Sunkara (The Guardian, February 10, 2017).
New Data Makes It Clear: Nonvoters Handed Trump the Presidency – Philip Bump (The Washington Post, August 9, 2018).

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Election Eve Thoughts
Quote of the Day – November 9, 2016
In the Wake of Trump's "Catastrophic" Election, Phillip Clark on the Spiritual Truths That Will Carry Us Forward
Carrying It On
Hope, History and Bernie Sanders
Progressive Perspectives on the Rise of Donald Trump

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