Friday, 11 November 2016

Not the best of weeks.

What can I say? Everyone else has weighed in on this week's landslide of misery: Kate prescribes kindness and listening. Others counsel resistance, others rage. Normally I'd be on the side of kindness but it's too early and raw. I thought Hillary was a highly qualified  expression of the machine, and that there are enough sensible Americans to prefer the hawkish but rational status quo to the juggernaut of driverless hatred that Trump represents. I was, clearly, wrong.

It's fine to say that Americans are sick of neoliberalism depressing their wages and hollowing out their towns but it falls apart when you remember that they voted for a man whose entire business encapsulates the practices of decayed neoliberalism: dishonesty, boastfulness, manufactured losses, tax avoidance, financialisation, exporting manufacturing jobs overseas, anti-trades unionism and wage depression…the lot. I recently read Thomas Frank's What's the Matter With Kansas? which is a few years old now but beautifully illustrates the way the Republican Party split between the upper-middle class economic republicans and the working-class ones who were diverted towards cultural politics – guns, abortion, race – by people like the Koch brothers who have no real commitment to such matters but are invested in keeping the workers from noticing that they're being impoverished by their own leaders. Kansas, like much of the mid-west, was militantly radical in the 30s and 40s, but has become a bastion of the paranoid, zero-sum right that sees oppressed groups' gains as their losses. Then there are the evangelicals and women who voted for a thrice-married sex pest without concern, and the Latinos who voted for a man who called Mexicans 'rapists'. At this point you have to abandon private concerns about Hillary and just accept that half of the American population would preferred a boorish bogeyman to any woman at all.

So yes, I have nothing to add and no heartening advice. Global warming will rocket, reproductive rights will once again be at the mercy of angry rich old white men. Trump's thin skin and short attention span will cause wars and he'll appoint a lot of people who share his bitter paranoia while having the work ethic and determination that will enable them to get bad things done: the Gingrich's and his ilk.

And Leonard Cohen's dead. He had something to say about this:

No comments: