At some point over the Thanksgiving holiday, my family and I were sitting around being wounded liberals -- a common pastime these days -- when my brother-in-law (he's an entrepreneur and hails from the side of our clan who knows something about economics -- which is most of us except me) wondered aloud, "Why is it that people keep trying to implement these Republican economic proposals when they don't work, they just don't work?" It is a variant of a question that must have been asked around ten million fireplaces in ten million Clinton-voting homes at least that weekend. Why do they think these things? we ask. Why do they do these things? We have all been trying a great deal these past months to figure out what makes "them" tick. This is the season of quasi-anthropological studies of the red-blooded American conservative, conducted by safely and sagely liberal academics squatting in their midst and trying to discern the arcane mythologies that inform their utterances. This is the year of quasi-Marxist efforts to ferret out the "base" of cold, hard material fact and economic self-interest that is presumed to underlie the staggering eyesore of a "superstructure" with which we are now faced in the form of Trumpist ideology.
Saturday, December 17, 2016
Friday, December 9, 2016
I fear that this blog for the next four to eight years is going to be little more than an account of the constant internal psychic struggle that it will take not to accept the idea of Donald J. Trump as president of the United States as simply one more fact of life, as ordinary as anything else. It is an absorbing pursuit; one that requires constant effort. Any situation, however abysmal, starts to seem normal if it is protracted enough. Even during campaign season last Spring, I would hear floating over the airwaves of NPR phrases like, "Mr. Trump's proposed Muslim ban," and would think -- "oh yeah, that thing." As if that's perfectly normal. As if that's just one more policy idea, among many. (Those on both the left and the right who would urge us to just "give him a chance," meanwhile, are also heard to bid us: "Don't take him so literally when he says stuff like that." That's a new one! If supporters of former presidents were always urging their political opponents to "believe what the President says," and not in some nefarious hidden program; we now have a president of whom we are actively urged by his most loyal apologists not to believe anything he says. Indeed, do conjure up a factitious hidden program, we are told, and place your faith in that!)