An American Tragedy

Courtesy of The New Yorker:

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…

The commentators, in their attempt to normalize this tragedy, will also find ways to discount the bumbling and destructive behavior of the F.B.I., the malign interference of Russian intelligence, the free pass—the hours of uninterrupted, unmediated coverage of his rallies—provided to Trump by cable television, particularly in the early months of his campaign. We will be asked to count on the stability of American institutions, the tendency of even the most radical politicians to rein themselves in when admitted to office. Liberals will be admonished as smug, disconnected from suffering, as if so many Democratic voters were unacquainted with poverty, struggle, and misfortune. There is no reason to believe this palaver. There is no reason to believe that Trump and his band of associates—Chris Christie, Rudolph Giuliani, Mike Pence, and, yes, Paul Ryan—are in any mood to govern as Republicans within the traditional boundaries of decency. Trump was not elected on a platform of decency, fairness, moderation, compromise, and the rule of law; he was elected, in the main, on a platform of resentment. Fascism is not our future—it cannot be; we cannot allow it to be so—but this is surely the way fascism can begin.

That’s all I’ve got at the moment.

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9 Responses to An American Tragedy

  1. 40Watt says:

    This may seem to be OT, but for some reason there are two experiences playing over and over in my mind.

    During the Soviet era, when academic colleagues visited from Russia, there was always a KGB agent with them. He could be identified at a glance. It was almost a joke. Invariably, he was a fat, socially awkward fellow, the sort of character who might be in a Carry On comedy about cold war spies.

    After Perestroika, visiting Russians arrived unaccompanied. The first time we were entertaining a group of unencumbered Russian doctors in our home, I said to one of them, “at least we don’t have our friendly KGB guy with us.” The man I was talking to stared hard into my eyes, said very quietly, “we don’t need him” and slid his eyes over to one of his colleagues.

    The “informant” was one of their own. It was chilling.

    I’ll tell the next story a bit later. Enough for now.

  2. uberduck says:

    We’ve seen how good DT is at keeping promises – just ask the contractors who have worked for him and found themselves unpaid or underpaid in the end. I’m thinking we’re going to start seeing something similar with his campaign promises. And those promises that are just impossible or unconstitutional he’ll blame his failure to come through on others. It’s going to be a weird ride.

    I feel so bad for the Obamas today – the idea of that couple moving into the White House gives me the creeps. Do you suppose they’ll remodel and cover everything in gold?

  3. Julian Smith says:

    I just cannot get my head around the fact that nearly half the country (46.9%) couldn’t be bothered voting. I don’t understand their apathy or apparent indifference about what happens to their country.
    I think about Madame Melania trying to step into the shoes of that incredible elegant FLOTUS you are losing and I just want to go and kick the cat.

  4. irishgirl999 says:

    Don’t kick the cat.

    • Good advice about the poor kitty. I am finding myself in an odd predicament. Me, a newsie, am suddenly not interested in reading the news. Me,a person actively involved in protesting an LNG facility in my community, am feeling very apathetic about caring about what Trump is doing or proposing. I’m not feeling like I want to give this any of my energy or emotion – – i.e. I’ll just ignore it. In many ways this feels pretty darn good after being caught up in it all for months and months. In other ways, it seems a cop out and somewhat irresponsible. As a middle child, I can’t handle being irresponsible either.

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