POLITICS

The Triumph Of The Serpent

This is an unmitigated political and ethical disaster.

09/11/2016 5:04 PM AEDT | Updated 12/11/2016 12:49 AM AEDT
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Mike Segar / Reuters

Donald Trump called Mexicans killers and rapists. Donald Trump called women “fat” and “ugly” and suggested Megyn Kelly was irritable because she was going through her menstrual period. Donald Trump insulted the parents of a slain Bronze Star Muslim American soldier. Donald Trump mocked a reporter with a congenital disability by garishly imitating his contracted limbs. Donald Trump repeatedly lied and quoted grossly inaccurate statistics. Donald Trump shamelessly slandered Somali and Syrian refugees. Donald Trump said he would block Muslims from immigrating to America. Donald Trump had no plan of even minimal substance be it foreign policy, the economy or climate change. Donald Trump, in fact, does not think climate change is a problem at all.

Donald Trump is going to be the 45th president-elect of the United States of America.

There will be plenty of debate about how this came about. Very profound and insightful etiologies will be constructed for Trump’s ascension. Much intellectual contortion will take place to give this national misfortune some sort of silver lining, some measure of respectability.

Don’t believe any of it. This is an unmitigated political and ethical disaster. And don’t buy any of the nonsense about how the genuine grievances of marginalized working class people led to their wanting to elect an “outsider” to “wipe the slate clean.”

Because this is not the result of “ignoring white working class voters.” That demographic has not been “ignored” or marginalized more than any American minority. This is not a reaction to corruption or economic injustice. You don’t elect a billionaire who has thrived on all the tax and corporate privileges that maintain the status quo to achieve that. This is not the outcome of military adventurism. Hell almost every war in the past fifteen years has kicked off with popular approval. This is the triumph of demagoguery. This is the logical conclusion of a media selling fear and disseminating disinformation for 15 years. This is the culmination of a GOP agenda that was peddling fear and bigotry long before Trump. This not the hunger for change satisfied; this is the demon of hatred possessing.

Don’t buy any of the nonsense about how the genuine grievances of marginalized working class people led to their wanting to elect an 'outsider' to 'wipe the slate clean.'

Fear, hatred and dreams of glory ― apparently that’s all the strategy required to get half of America fired up. Select a few outgroups and identify them as a clear and present danger. Evoke a mythical past flush with riches, glory and moral purity. Lie to the poor and tell them they will have plenty of work and prosper like never before. That is all Trump did and that was all that was necessary.

Here it is then, another lesson in history and human psychology that the world will refuse to learn from. People are not and never will be rational beings. We are driven by feeling, emotion, instinct, impulse. To grab our attention and sway our will, it is the emotive that must be evoked.

The serpent has always lain patiently coiled underneath all that cortical camouflage. It just needs a Fox News and a Trump to unleash the forked tongue, the fangs and the venom.

The task at hand is clear. Progressives must spend the next four years unifying and developing political leadership. Minorities must fight together and recognize that standing up for discrimination against others is no longer a choice, it is a necessity. The only way bigotry can be fought is by fighting it together. And there will be plenty of bigotry to fight, let there be no doubt about that.

This great nation has survived much; it will survive the megalomania and incivility of Donald Trump.

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