American progressives refuse to see and call out evil as evil. That moral failure attests to their complicity in the darkness that has enveloped this country.
Making the Donald's narcissism the focus, much less the cause of what ails America gives progressives cover for their own collusion in the election of this barely constrained tyrant.
A good example of the prevailing narrative on the left is a mainstream pundit's facile falsehood that the Trump Administration's "Affordable Health Care sabotage is best seen not as a strategy, but as a tantrum."
That's not even half a diagnosis for the sickness that has befallen this country, and it offers no prescription at all.
Once again, the election of Donald Trump is a manifestation of underlying willful blindness and neglect that cuts across and below the political spectrum.
Trump is not just the result, even the sum of the regurgence of white supremacy, of Republican lies and malfeasance in recent years, of the egregious disparity of wealth between the rich and the middle and lower class, or of Russian interference in American democracy.
Yes, racism has reared its ugly head. If Puerto Ricans were white and spoke English rather than Spanish, they would not be suffering and dying in the aftermath of hurricane Maria as they are now.
Yes, if a majority of Republicans were facing terminal cancer, as John McCain is, perhaps they would rediscover their consciences, as he has.
And yes, if Trump and the Republicans gave a damn about the middle class, they would be writing a simplified tax code that actually benefits the middle class, and gives a hand up without a handout to the poverty-stricken, rather than giving another boon for the rich.
Regarding Russian interference, it's true that if Zuckerberg weren't the smug young man that he is, there would have been oversight and systems in place on Facebook to prevent the cyber version of Soviet-style disinformation campaign.
While all of these things and more may have been necessary to bring about the undoing of America, none of them, or even all of them together is sufficient to bring us to this pass.
What then is the cause of Trumpism? It is a manifestation of America's willfully neglected darkness, an effect that has become cause and catalyst, the intentionality of the darkness flowing through Trump and his supporters, turning everything to crap.
An accurate diagnosis begins with seeing things as they are, not sugarcoating how sick the body politic is. Instead of the euphemism of the "tyranny of the minority," we need to call it what it is---mob rule.
There is a perversely comforting narrative that is taken hold on the left. It goes like this:
"America is now two countries, eyeing each other across a chasm of distrust and contempt. One is urban, diverse and outward-looking. This is the America that's growing. The other is white, provincial and culturally revanchist. This is the America that's in charge."
That too is a lie, an even deeper lie than the obvious falsehoods and contradictions that the Donald tells every day. It is a lie because America as a whole gave rise to Trump, not just "white provincial and culturally revanchist" America.
Have you ever heard an ordinary person use the word "revanchist" by the way? It comes from the French word revanche, "revenge," and refers to "the political manifestation of the will to reverse territorial losses incurred by a country." To speak of "cultural revanchist America" misses the mark entirely.
First because the right is right in saying the culture has gone completely to hell, though not because of immigrants, gays, liberals, or any other of their scapegoats.
Second because America has yet to come to terms with the evildoing of the Bush-Cheney Administration, with its utterly destabilizing invasion of Iraq and subsequent self-fulfilling prophecy of the "global war on terror."
Third because word "revanchist" drips with condescension from the very people who were so certain Hillary would win, who told themselves in their echo chambers that there was no way this country could every stoop so low as to elect such a cretin, a man who so blatantly and brazenly appealing to the worst in the American people.
I don't find progressives any less inwardly dead than Trump supporters. Indeed, they may be more so, because they are so certain, comfortable and superior in their views.
Instead of whining ad nauseum about how Hillary won the popular vote by nearly 3 million votes, we need to ask, how did such an ugly, vicious man carry 30 of 50 states?
The rise of fascism is not the product of a portion of a people, but extrudes from an existential emptiness at the core of a people.
The present zeitgeist is first a spiritual crisis of the American people, not a political problem confined to or arising from a third of the people.
Martin LeFevre is a contemplative, and non-academic religious and political philosopher. He welcomes dialogue. firstname.lastname@example.org
Published with permission of the author. All copyright remains with the author.
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