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Farewell, America


#1

Farewell, America

Neal Gabler

America died on Nov. 8, 2016, not with a bang or a whimper, but at its own hand via electoral suicide. We the people chose a man who has shredded our values, our morals, our compassion, our tolerance, our decency, our sense of common purpose, our very identity — all the things that, however tenuously, made a nation out of a country.


#2

Yeah. Blame it on the electorate. Never blame it on the Oligarchs that initiated this mess. They got who they wanted in the White House, there is no doubt. Our election system is corrupt and the wants and needs of the people had very little to do with this. We were presented with1 excellent candidate and 2 horrendous ones during this presidental election. The preferred excellent candidate was thrown out due to obvious and documented election fraud and we were left with the crap candidates who assured that turnout would not be huge and therefore, the results more easily skewed in the direction that was decided by the powers that be. It seemed that choice was the Clintons up to the very last minute. I wonder what they did that made them fall out of favor in the 11th hour? Or was it that the coup by the angry intellegence community was successful?


#3

"...a man who has shredded our values, our morals, our compassion, our tolerance, our decency, our sense of common purpose, our very identity..."

No, another segment of the population has simply come to notice this. That shredding began by the mid-1980s. The consequences have most strikingly been seen in our war on the poor, and the liberal (implicit?) advocacy of the neoliberal economic agenda/philosophy. The greatest embrace was in the 1990s, by the Clinton Democrats. Our better off just never noticed the consequences, economically or socially.


#4

Something I wrote a few days before the election. A lot of angry people need to read this because they just don’t get what happened:

The problem is not Donald Trump.
Donald Trump is a response to the problem. A terrible response, to be sure, but a response nevertheless.
Bernie Sanders was a much better response to the problem. But wholesale cheating by a corrupt Democratic Party prevented his nomination.
The problem is the neoliberal neocons who dominate both parties in Washington.
The problem is business as usual along the Washington-Wall Street axis.
That is the problem.
Hillary Clinton is the epitome of business as usual.
Clinton is a criminally-corrupt, reflexively dishonest politician.
Clinton is a hardcore neoliberal and a neocon war hawk.

If you're going to vote for Clinton, don't you dare call yourself a progressive.
If you're voting for Clinton, you are a neoliberal neocon. Proof of that is your support for a candidate who will push hard to advance the neoliberal economic agenda and to further the neocon drive for global hegemonic power.

Donald Trump is many things, most of them bad. But he is not the fascist bogeyman depicted by the mass media arms of the Washington establishment. Nor is he some nutcase who is liable to launch a bunch of nuclear missiles in a fit of pique.
The mass media arms of the Washington establishment want to make you so afraid of Trump that you will hold your nose and vote for Clinton.
Don't pay any attention to them. Don't let the mass media mold your thinking.
CNN, PBS, and all the other networks are promoters of business as usual in Washington. That is why they advocate for Clinton.

I am adamantly opposed to the goals of the neoliberals and the goals of the neocons. Both represent a profound assault on democracy, the demise of our civil liberties, and the end of the middle class.
And that is why I pay no attention to the mass media's "news" coverage.
That is why I will vote for Trump. I’m ready to vote for ANY candidate running against those goals.

I've yet to encounter a supporter of Hillary Clinton who will acknowledge that she is a hardcore neoliberal and a hardcore neocon.
Most don't even seem to know what those words mean.
Those people are supporting Clinton because they allow the mainstream media to tell them what they think. And the mainstream media wants them to vote for Clinton.


#5

For you to dismiss the absolute extreme move to the right this represents, is quite telling of today's "left". My fucking God.

And yes, I get the oligarch thing, as I've been raging against that since the DLC spawned Bill Clinton.


#6

Mr. Gabler says Trump will be re-elected in 2020 and will be popular---no matter what he does? I don't think so. And I don't believe democracy or our republic, is so fundamentally weak and flawed that we can't upend this weirdo, and take him out of the office after 1 term. Just what wonderful progress would he make in 4 years, for most people--a majority of states' electors, at least--remember, as MM says: "SHE GOT THE POPULAR VOTE." Bring unemployment down to 0? Raise the minimum wage to a living wage? Tax the corporations and take away corporate person hood? Bring back GM, Ford, etc., and U.S.Steel, etc. to their former glory? Again, I don't think so. All this pontificatory verbiage and doom and blame coming form writers and "bloviators" does us no good.


#10

The underlying premise of this article is the ideology that America is (was) great, and will no longer be such. It does not seem to me very different from the Trump ideology. They both are founded on the notion of an exceptional country.

Not only his analysis is entirely wrong (see Naomi Klein or Greenwald for good answers), but he is also factually not quiet correct, and his language is peppered with a supremacy syndrome. "We will now be a pariah country" - how about "we already are a pariah country to those people who get assassinated by us while going to weddings", and to "the black youth that experience death for nothing" and to the native populations that we have exterminated, and to the invaded and the colonized populations, and on and on.


#11

"No more can we pretend that we are exceptional or good or progressive or united. We are none of those things."

Why is it a bad thing, that we can no longer "pretend" to be what we're not? Hordes of people on the outside, and quite a few on the inside, already KNOW what we REALLY are, and it is all to the good that the rest of us find out. Perhaps one day we WILL become "exceptional" (in a good sense) and "progressive", but certainly not until we accept that we're nowhere near that at present. It's people "pretending" that HRC et. al were "progressive" that added fuel to this continuing disaster, and perhaps now more of us will wake up and start recognizing and addressing the desperate needs of people all around us.


#12

The United States of America under Donald Trump is the same as it ever was.

I am not sure of what "values" have been lost.


#13

Indeed. But we certainly won't gain any "values" under such a president.


#14

Neal Gabler (who did such a much better job reviewing movies with Jeffrey Lyons back in the 80's on PBS) epitomizes the arrogance of an elitist media that thinks it knows better than those whom they expect read or listen to their drivel about what's best for the US.
Now that they and their failed agenda have been stunningly rejected (Sorry Hillary but you have to have more than feminine gender to be fit for the presidency!) they lash out at the electorate instead of realizing just how out of touch their condescending arrogance was and is with a growing segment of the US citizenry (and they do show up to vote when pushed long enough and hard enough).
The first person that a liar has to get to believe his (or her) lies is themselves. In this the elitist media (and their paymasters) have succeeded. So intense was (and is) their resentment that the US citizenry was willing to elect an individual so obviously unfit for the office he proposed to fill as Donald Trump.
Make that President elect (and soon to be President) Trump. Start practicing for the next 4 years (or perhaps 8 years--remember that geriatric piece of political silly putty named Ronald Reagan?!!) Now, say it over ten times "President Trump". There now, see that wasn't so difficult after all.


#15

Well, there is a very good article that explains how short sighted and self delusional your reasoning is. If you voted for Trump, you voted for all of his policies and rhetoric, including the ugliest of all: foaming-at-the-mouth racism. Join your KKK brothers in NC this weekend to dance and cheer, why don't you.
http://whatever.scalzi.com/2016/11/10/the-cinemax-theory-of-racism/


#16

What exactly does that mean?


#17

Finally an article that gets it right.

Maybe the commenters here at CD don't know what the "alt-right" is. Perhaps they're just really, really out of touch.

This is absolutely right. So many Trumpsters talked about the 50 million Mexicans and Muslims that would flood into the US as soon as Hillary was elected. The people on this site seem to think that this was about trade. Some of the pieces analyzing this election seem to think it was abotu trade. No Trumpster I talked to this election cycle, and I talked to a lot of them, talked about trade much at all. They talked about blacks on welfare, "illegal Mexicans" on welfare and voting illegally and how Hillary was going to take their guns.

And women, of course. They really hate women, all of whom are "feminazis" if they dare to have an opinion.

Oh, and do I really need to mention that they don't like Jews, either? That should just be a given, though I suppose it's important to point out because while the Trumpsters would talk about globalism, it doesn't mean the same thing to them as it does to people here (most of the people here, I hope, anyway). To them, it's the same as "international banker." or, as they'd put it (((international banker))). For those who don't get it, it's a dog whistle for Jews.

I talked about these people before the election. @Lrx talked about them. No one wanted to hear it. Even now, people here refuse to believe that racism is the main factor in Trump's election. Some are even giddy that he won, which is sick-making.

At least CD published one piece that gets it right.


#19

It should have read "more than feminine gender"=--I have corrected the original--thanks for noticing.


#20

"America died on Nov. 8, 2016,"

Hyperbolic nonsense.

"This generally has been called the “hate election” because everyone professed to hate both candidates. It turned out to be the hate election because, and let’s not mince words, of the hatefulness of the electorate."

Most of all, hatred of the status quo.

"Who knew that so many tens of millions of white Americans were thinking unconscionable things about their fellow Americans?"

Rejection of Hillary does not automatically translate into endorsement of everything Trump says. And you can't have it both ways. You can't impose political correctness, police what people say, and shame them for saying things you don't like and then be stupefied when you discover they don't say what they really think around you.

"Who knew that after years of seeming progress on race and gender, tens of millions of white Americans lived in seething resentment, waiting for a demagogue to arrive who would legitimize their worst selves and channel them into political power? Perhaps we had been living in a fool’s paradise. Now we aren’t."

If that's really what the situation is here, then let's have it all out in the open, instead of wallpapering over the dry rot. If the "seeming progress" was an illusion, we are better off without it.

"we won’t survive unscathed. We know too much about each other to heal."

There is no channel of meaningful communication and no path toward reconciling our differences without first finding out who our fellow citizens are and how they really feel. And if we are discovering that some of our fellow citizens were not what we thought, then there was no prospect for healing anyway. You can't return a relationship to health if it was never healthy.

"No more can we pretend that we are exceptional or good or progressive or united."

As if it is a bad thing to be disabused of delusions.

"Nor can we pretend that democracy works"

The idea that democracy can work is a hypothesis or theory, not a pretense. The pretense was that we ever had a democracy. We can't tell whether real democracy works until we actually run that experiment.

"Democracy only functions when its participants abide by certain conventions, certain codes of conduct and a respect for the process."

Of course, those same ingredients are also found in profoundly anti-democratic systems.

"The virus that kills democracy is extremism"

We don't have real democracy, and what we do have has been systematically corrupted over a long period. It has gotten bad enough that some are responding to that with extremism. They may not have the right solution, but the emotional response is not without justification.

"Democracy can’t cope with extremism."

Extremism is a threat to the status quo, whatever it may be, and our status quo isn't democracy.

"Though Trump is an extremist, I have a feeling that he will be a very popular president"

That could have happened under a real democracy too. Democracy only operates to give the people what they want. It doesn't ensure that the people will always choose wisely.

"So long as Trump vented their grievances, his all-white supporters didn’t care about anything else."

My neighbor is a black evangelical Christian Trump supporter. And I know of some blacks who could not support Hillary after what she did to Gaddaffi. Ask Louis Farrakhan how he felt about that.

"Just as Trump has shredded our values, our nation and our democracy, he has shredded the media."

The media shredded their own integrity when they became lapdogs, stenographers, and got into bed with politicians like Hillary. Trump's relationship with media has largely been adversarial and even hostile. That can only be a good thing.

"With Trump’s election, I think that the ideal of an objective, truthful journalism is dead, never to be revived."

The ideal of truthful journalism never died, but mainstream media abandoned pursuit of that ideal many years ago.

"Trump can lie constantly only because white America has accepted an Orwellian sense of truth — the truth pulled inside out."

It was a foregone conclusion that we were going to elect a chronic liar.

"Like Nixon and Sarah Palin before him, Trump ran against the media, boomeranging off the public’s contempt for the press."

That well-earned contempt was there long before there was a candidate Trump.

"he ran on the idea that the press disdained working-class white America."

He tapped into a perception that had some legitimate justification.

"And in any case, like Reagan, he is bulletproof. The media cannot touch him, even if they wanted to."

Their focus should not be on deciding whether to go after Trump or cozy up to him. Their focus should be on doing tough, independent investigative journalism, and telling the truth even when it isn't convenient or profitable.

"if anyone points the way forward, it may be New York Times columnist David Brooks."

Nice guy. Inoffensive, unconfrontational, well-liked by the power elites. But if you want truth exposing the excesses of power, you don't want someone nice and inoffensive. You want someone more like Glenn Greenwald, a bomb thrower.

"We have lost the country,"

You've lost nothing but some complacent delusions.

"we need a national conversation on values. The media could help start it."

Such a conversation could be useful and productive, but media has no role but to report on it, if it should occur. And you've already made up your mind that Trump was elected on the basis of the hidden hatefulness of white males, so you would only be an obstacle to such a dialog.

"But the disempowered media may have one more role to fill: They must bear witness."

To bear witness truthfully and objectively should have been their overriding mission all along. If they hadn't abandoned that role, maybe they wouldn't have disempowered themselves.

"Many years from now, future generations will need to know what happened to us and how it happened. They will need to know how disgruntled white Americans, full of self-righteous indignation, found a way to take back a country they felt they were entitled to and which they believed had been lost. They will need to know about the ugliness and evil that destroyed us as a nation"

Way to be objective. [eye roll]


#21

I think it means Poet sounds like a sexist.


#22

What is experience as an attorney, first wife with a real agenda, a senator, and a secretary of state? Compare our pres elect, 70 year old with no political experience.


#23

And that, along with all the other votes, explains why I am more ashamed of being a US citizen now, much moreso than at any other time in my adult life.

"Donald Trump is many things, most of them bad. But he is not the fascist
bogeyman depicted by the mass media arms of the Washington
establishment. Nor is he some nutcase who is liable to launch a bunch of
nuclear missiles in a fit of pique."

Do you have any proof to back up any of these statements? There is plenty of proof that he is a cruel fucking human being, if that counts for anything.


#24

The dividing line between those who want to think, and those who do not, strikes across all social and cultural or educational differences. In this respect, the total moral collapse of respectable society during the Hitler regime may teach us that under such circumstances those who cherish values and hold fast to moral norms and standards are not reliable: we now know that moral norms and standards can be changed overnight, and that all then that will be left is the mere habit of holding fast to something. Much more reliable will be the doubters and skeptics, not because skepticism is good or doubting wholesome, but because they are used to examine things and to make up their own minds. Best of all will be those who know only one thing for certain: that whatever else happens, as long as we live we shall have to live together with ourselves.

and again:

[N]onthinking, which seems so recommendable a state for political and moral affairs, also has its dangers. By shielding people against the dangers of examination, it teaches them to hold fast to whatever the prescribed rules of conduct may be at a given time in a given society. What people then get used to is not so much the content of the rules... they get used to never making up their minds. If someone then should show up who, for whatever reasons and purposes, wishes to abolish the old 'values' or virtues, he will find it easy enough provided he offers a new code, and he will need no force and no persuasion-- no proof that the new values are better than the old ones-- to establish it. The faster men hold to the old code, the more eager they will be to assimilate themselves to the new one; the ease with which such reversals can take place under certain circumstances suggests indeed that everybody is asleep when they occur. This century has offered us some experience in such matters: How easy it was for the totalitarian rulers to reverse such basic commandments of Western morality-- "Thou shalt not kill" in the case of Hitler's Germany, "Thou shalt not bear false testimony against thy neighbor" in the case of Stalin's Russia.

~ Hannah Arendt