Essentialism, This Damned Election, And The F*cking News
Credit: Wikimedia Commons
May 27, 2016

Here's a reminder of what really is actually at stake, via our friends at The F*cking News, veterans from The Daily Show and Countdown with Keith Olbermann.

Not just what's at stake, but the part each of us plays and has played in bringing fascism to America. On this Memorial Day weekend, it's a good way to start it.

So here we are.

We’re almost done with the national project of normalizing utterance of the sentence, “Donald Trump is the 2016 Republican presidential nominee.” We have physically mutilated our very synapses into a shape capable of acccepting a reality in which the party whose first presidential nominee went to war to liberate slaves will now nominate a man who went on TV to fire apprentices.

We’re already moving beyond that. Polls show that approximately half of the country wants to hand the levers of economic power, the nuclear codes, and the keys to our future over to Trump rather than to a former secretary of state or a sitting U.S. senator whose political weakness is his embrace of the same political ideology that has made Scandinavia the envy of the world.

How did we get here? This is not solely the death throes of a confused, angry, anxious, white, male, Christian hegemony. In choosing Trump we have simply made explicit what has been implicit in a million fucking choices made by right and left alike for decades.

Yes, there are racists in Trump’s ranks. But there have always been racists. And he could not win on racism alone. And his racist/sexist statements have always been caveated enough to enable the coming pivot.

Trump said what he had to in order to win the nomination…is what he will say in order to win the election.

And the left will focus on which of those two he really means. Because that’s what the left does. That’s what we all do. That’s how we got here.

We are obsessed, like children, with essentialism. What do they really think? Are they racist? Who are they…really? Because we think that tells us something about how people will act in the future.

We find ourselves asking these questions about Republican nominee Donald Trump because we ever started asking those stupid questions in the first place.

Essentialism is the stuff of children. Which we now are.

The counter-culture of the sixties did a vast amount of good…but also hurt us with the exaltation of feelings and emotions. Conservatives once took pride in the idea that they were the intellectual ones, scoffing at the emotionalism of the left, at the primacy the left gave to people’s feelings, for fuck’s sake.

The conservatives lost. Feelings won. Impulse won. Essentialism won. If it felt good, we did it.

So we traded a thoughtful president for a thoughtless one. We traded reluctant warriors for war-loving warriors. Rocky for Rambo.

The left dealt with the right, and vice versa, in absolutist, essentialist terms because it was easy, and that’s how we felt. The way children do things.

People love Trump because he appeals to this childlike laziness. We don’t want to do the work of evaluating policy, of thinking before we speak about people of color, of figuring out who to vote for in the mid-terms, let alone in state elections, let alone in local elections.

We grew up with the left preaching “Think Globally, Act Locally.” As if there was some reason we couldn’t think and act globally and locally. And so we acted locally, and while we were thinking globally, we lost the globe to climate change and Wall Street Unbound. And acting globally, it turned out, didn’t mean showing up at local elections, let alone volunteering or donating. It meant ordering locally grown, non-GMO produce for our kale salads at the artisanal bistro while our statehouses became the trendy spot for organic, free-range lobbyists raised on an exclusive diet consisting of our future.

Read on...

Food for thought.

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