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In the Time of Trump, All We Have Is Each Other


#1

In the Time of Trump, All We Have Is Each Other

Chris Hedges

This Christmas I mourn the long, slow death of our democracy that led to the political ascendancy of Donald Trump. I fear the euphoria of those who have embraced the atavistic lust for violence and bigotry stoked by him. These nativist forces, part of the continuum of white vigilante violence directed against people of color and radical dissidents throughout American history, are once again being groomed as instruments of mass intimidation and perhaps terror.


#2

Accurate portrayal, all in all.

In keeping with Toynbee's "A Study of History", and more recently, Joseph Tainter's "The Collapse of Complex Civilizations".

I think the United Nations, and its evolution, is the next logical, and emotional step forward.


#3

I wait for the courage of a person of great integrity and courage to say words similar to Joseph Welch to McCarthy: "Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?" Honest and inspiring words exposing the man wearing no clothes, having no integrity or honor, leading to his downfall, and perhaps the destruction of the Republican Party as a force as well.

I want to add that some people trashed Bernie Sanders integrity and honor, failing to give support when it may have made a difference, regardless that Sanders may not have been the "perfect" candidate in their opinion. Sanders without question would have been a universe away from the depraved trump & co and would have made a beginning to secure the coalition needed to achieve radical reforms (including destruction of the Democratic Party establishment) and a sustainable future. What the future holds now we must hold our breath for..................


#4

I watched Hedge's interview with Ellen Schrecker the other night on RT. While I pretty much understood what has been happening in academia these past few decades, it was a very interesting interview in that so many details were filled in and the whole picture, with nuance, came into better focus. I find myself to be quite curious as to whether the Trump Presidency will slowly seek to damage and discredit most everything I care about, or will we be gobsmacked by an onslaught of horror? On just a couple of points, will Obamacare be thrust into turmoil for millions almost immediately and will Trump's ability to levy tariffs against foreign nations give us an immediate trade war that disrupts a lot of corporate interests and their intertwined supply chains? The only thing we know for sure is that rolling turmoil will be the hallmark of the next few years. BTW, I see the right wing is already very busy pointing out the fake news from the MSM.


#5

On the up side, this candidate elect is the naked embodiment Rep. agenda (and unfortunately the Dem. agenda, as well) so the country at large has something to fight against.
He will eventually be exposed, like McCarthy, to be fraudulent, monotoned, and utterly deja vu. The arms race proposal, the scapegoating of the vulnerable, the lack of any intellectual structure are exemplars.
It was hard to protest President Obama at first because of his skills, race, and charm.
We can see now where this mediocraty lead, and more precisely where the President elect is now...his inability
to solve civil problems will become very obvious over time. And the only solution for him is to divert attention from his craven outlook. McCarthy is a great comparison.
We can get our teeth into this devil.


#6

First, a little venting:
-I hope Lewis Powell is paying for his earthly sins in some appropriate fashion, out there beyond the veil of our earthly limits in whatever realm(s) awaits us, and I hope he feels it;
-I also hope that Roy Kohn, Joe McCarthy, Ronald Reagan, George Wallace, et al, are also reaping in their own measure whatever they sowed here on earth. Despite the lack of "Christian/Christmas" charity in that expression, I had to say it and at least be up front with my true feelings.
And in response to this piece, Chris has hit it once again out of the ballpark, citing very good people such as Ellen Schrecker, who really tell it as it is.
I too fear the coming dark days of the new Reich and the new Trump-ista version of McCarthyism.
I hope and pray my son, his wife, and their soon to be born daughter will be safe from the outrage which is certain to begin pouring out once the sadly misguided masses realize how badly they've been taken by this master manipulator Trump, and his dark army.


#7

When the McCarthy era took place there was a strong radical movement that had propelled the labor movement to it’s greatest influence and membership. It is a well known fact that communists, socialists and anarchists were the most active union members. By going after communists they were also attacking the labor movement as well as closing the door on the social reforms of the Roosevelt era. The class war by the rich is always with us and the counterrevolution actually started with the House Un-American Activities Committee created in 1938.

I cannot foresee a reign of terror by Trump as there are not any powerful left wing groups as there were in the 1940’s and 50’s. The labor movement is almost nonexistent and there are very few politicians that are not neoliberals, So who would they round up? Old people and all the young unemployed? I suppose though they will go after immigrants and minorities as they always do. The class war was won in the 1990’s and there simply is no need for a reign of terror as the government, the economy, the news and information media, education and even the churches are in the complete control of the elite, Should they go after independent news media what they shut down will soon be reopened under different names and such, But if the internet does not remain free and has gatekeepers than there would, in effect, be very little independent news. Remember that those who take the time to search for independent news are in a small minority and will remain so, As far as blacklisting goes it’s already here as Hedges very well knows.

What Trump will go after are the social programs and regulations that restrict business in any way. I do not fear Trump and I believe that the elite don’t wan’t anyone to start a reign of terror that would unnecessarily upset the status quo. Trump is one of the elite but he is only one and should he step too far out of line he would be destroyed. But the Trump years will not be a cakewalk and we’ll be lucky if medicaid, medicare and social security survive,

As far as only having each other well that’s the way it’s been for me
in capitalist America. There will come a time of upheaval down the line but we need not fear dictators just yet. It is still a time to learn, connect, organize and prepare for the coming upheaval in the falling empire and crumbling capitalism that has reached a dead end.

It would be one thing if Trump had, like Hitler, come to the power with his own party and people elected along with him from his own party, But Trump is no Hitler he is just another opportunist that will enrich himself while in office and will bend to the Republican Party not to mention his fellow one percenters of the permanent shadow government,

I don’t expect anything from capitalists no matter want they are called. I expect nothing from the capitalist system except its continuing failure and collapse. I will continue my life’s work of furthering the socialist cause in any way I can. In the meantime what few years I have left I will continue to be fascinated by the spectacle and the special time in history this is.


#8

"All You Need Is Love"

Love, love, love
Love, love, love
Love, love, love
There's nothing you can do that can't be done
Nothing you can sing that can't be sung
Nothing you can say but you can learn how to play the game
It's easy
Nothing you can make that can't be made
No one you can save that can't be saved
Nothing you can do but you can learn how to be you in time
It's easy
All you need is love
All you need is love
All you need is love, love
Love is all you need
Love, love, love
Love, love, love
Love, love, love
All you need is love
All you need is love
All you need is love, love
Love is all you need
Nothing you can know that isn't known
Nothing you can see that isn't shown
Nowhere you can be that isn't where you're meant to be
It's easy
All you need is love
All you need is love
All you need is love, love
Love is all you need
All you need is love (All together, now!)
All you need is love (Everybody!)
All you need is love, love
Love is all you need
Love is all you need (Love is all you need)
Love is all you need (Love is all you need)
Love is all you need (Love is all you need)
Love is all you need (Love is all you need)
Love is all you need (Love is all you need)
Love is all you need (Love is all you need)
Love is all you need (Love is all you need)
Love is all you need (Love is all you need)
Love is all you need (Love is all you need)
Love is all you need (Love is all you need)
Love is all you need (Love is all you need)
Yee-hai! (Love is all you need)
Love is all you need (Love is all you need)
Yesterday (Love is all you need)
Love is all you need (Love is all you need)
Love is all you need (Love is all you need)
Love is all you need (Love is all you need)
Oh yeah! (Love is all you need)
She loves you, yeah yeah yeah (Love is all you need)
She loves you, yeah yeah yeah (Love is all you need)

Or for those a little older...

Keep Your Sunny Side Up

There's one thing to think of when you're blue,
There are others around much worse off than you!
If a load of troubles should arrive,
Laugh and say, "It's great to be alive!";

And keep your sunny side up, up,
Hide the side that gets blue.
If you have nine sons in a row,
Baseball teams make money, you know!

Keep your funny side up, up,
Let your laughter come through, do!
Stand up on your legs,
Be like two fried eggs,
Keep your sunny side up!

Life can be a pleasure or a pain,
Good or bad, successful or in vain;
Happiness is just a point of view,
If you have it here's the thing to do;

Keep your sunny side up, up,
Drown a frown with a smile.
If you think it's raining for you,
Just remember, others are blue.

Always look for the bright side,
Start the day on the right side;
You'll find life worthwhile,
Learn to wear a smile,
Keep your sunny side up!


#9

Thank you for your balanced perspective. I love Hedges, but sometimes tire of his dystopian-prophet tone.


#10

Oh, goodness, I so agree with you on Hedge's "tone." I can only take just so much. For some reason, his recent RT interview with Ellen seemed far different. It was simply an intelligent conversation between the two with Ellen providing most of the info and at the end of 30 minutes I felt like I learned some things instead of merely feeling depressed.


#11

Trump is different from other presidents in that he came into this office without a mandate, without support of the Republican establishment and certainly without approval from the majority in this country. He is too ego driven and not a party guy. Already there is in-fighting in the Republican party with many refusing to put their own careers on the line for his radical followers.
Ryan's plan to go after Social Security and Medicare is drawing much heat as many understand this is a third rail even among Republican voters.
Trump is frightening, no doubt, but he isn't all powerful and I still don't believe he will make it two years. The midterms will make him a lame duck if people get out and vote these idiots out of the house and senate.
He thrives on attention and all this musing about how powerful he will be is music to his ears. Rather than lend him our energy we should be starving him of it, trivializing as much as possible, and making fun of him.
We have the power in numbers and he's walking a thin line of legality, let's see how far he gets with this crazy plan of his.


#12

The ONLY reason the GOP establishment did not support Trump during the election cycle because they were afraid that he would cost the GOP down ticket votes. When just the opposite happened on November 8, they embraced him tighter than any GOP president elect has ever been embraced by the GOP establishment. Just as the GOP played Brer Rabbit so well in letting Congressional Democrats vote in and take heat for bankster bailouts and the GOP's corporate welfare program rebranded as Obamacare, the GOP establishment is playing and will continue to play Brer Rabbit in their relationship with Trump.

On November 8 we witnessed a media that for the previous six months serially characterized the GOP as "more fractured than ever", suddenly do an about face and all but pin the "more fractured than ever" label on the Democrats.

We deny or ignore the dangerous combination of full GOP establishment backing and Trump delegating key responsibilities to right wing extremists (even more than Saint Ron and Dubya did) at our own peril.


#13

I highly recommend poet David Whyte's thoughts on the election, the nation and what is needed now as a balance to Hedges' column here: http://www.davidwhyte.com/#letter-from-the-house. He focuses in part on what I feel is the most critical thing we need to do, and which so few (except most consistently Bernie Sanders) are saying, that "This is a crucial threshold that requires all of us to be in the conversation, all of us to be just half a shade braver, half a shade more willing to meet the ‘other’ in our societies, including a previously middle American society that now itself feels marginalized; half a shade more willing to speak from emerging uncertainties into public forums, rather within our familiar communities of locked-in demands and dogma." The conditions that led so many to vote for Trump are only partially (to my mind, minimally) about hatred and racism, and much more about a large portion of the population feeling and being ignored, ridiculed and marginalized. We cannot fight the worst of what Trump might do without reaching these people and finding our common ground, starting with economic inequality. I'm sure many of those who voted for Trump in the belief he would help them get jobs are disillusioned by his Cabinet choices. If they are not to become only angrier, and therefore potentially destructive in the ways Hedges envisions, we need to engage them in the kind of real, deep conversations Whyte is speaking of.


#14

I think the Democratic Party is more fractured. The unifying one sentence explanation of the Republican Party is, " get big government off our backs, out of our businesses and schools and let the germane private sectors involved, drive our economic future ".
What is the Democratic Party's answer to this? What one unifying sentence explains their core message to the people?
As Keith Ellison was explaining what he'd do as DNC Chairman, to a crowd of party faithful in Minneapolis, he used the analogy of " overhauling " the oldish family car. A listener, after hearing all this list of fixes responded to Ellison's question of, " what do you think? " this way. " I'd buy a new car ".:wink: That is the issue facing the 54% of Americans who didn't vote for Trump & His Gallery of Rogues. ( Not to mention about 40-50 million people who didn't even bother ). Do you build a more modern and better Progressive/Social Democratic/Green Party coalition? Or, stay with the older, repaired/updated model of the family minivan?
At this point I think overhauling the ride, using the same old mechanics and reconditioned parts, is a non-starter. We do need a new vision and a new harder-edged message which can be easily explained; basically, in a sentence or two. Which must summarize the coalition's pro-woman, pro-environment and pro-equality inclusive goals and stances. Our economic/political policies should more closely resemble those of Sweden, and not Poland, as well.
Hedges dystopian message here really doesn't get to these issues but at some point he'll need a real vehicle, too. Happy motoring.


#15

Taking the old car analogy one step further...note that RESTORED cars and trucks from the New Deal era (1935-1975) are worth as much or more than most new cars and trucks, and worth way more than cars and trucks built during the subsequent period that the Democratic Party has been in steady decline. Ditto with older cars and trucks where appearance has been altered rather than restored. The only exception might be VWs converted to all electric and similar mechanical modifications.

Rebuilding the Democratic Party is a viable option ONLY if phase one is complete restoration of New Deal regulations and programs, with phase 2 being the enhancement and updating of those regulations and programs.


#16

I wonder. Nonrhetorical question--why a greater internationalism as opposed to a greater balkanization? Or might these articulate somehow?


#17

Right, I too feel like Chris Hedges tells important tales, but they're all so depressing and "end-of-the-worldish", that I don't know whether to slit my throat or take cyanide after reading some of his stuff. Don;t get me wrong, I agree with his views but he doesn't know how to shall we say inspire people, but only gives us the worst case scenario then sort of says good luck and go get arrested., which he has-but still, c'mon Chris, how about a little hope?


#18

If I may so phrase it, who is we, and in what sense does we have each other?

It might be a good time to consider our respective answers.

I like Hedges. It's a bit out of perspective to deal with the oppression as a uniquely Trumpish phenomenon days after Obama has signed for what amounts to a Ministry of Truth. But Trump's nastiness will not be less dramatic because he has authoritarians running both parties, and Hedges has often shown himself willing to be interesting with respect to each.

Still, who are we, if I may include myself?

Are we partisans who do not care that the Democrats diddled their own election, that Obama presents Trump with a Ministry of Information, that Clinton ran as a paid servant to five Middle Eastern states actively funding ISIS, that our rulers bullbait Russia and China and Iran towards war, that our society moves towards monopoly of water and hydrocarbons and food production?

At some level, surely, we are humans, concerned with the well being of at least certain other humans with whom we enjoy some palpable contact, no?

Can I do that and have that and be a patriot of the American state? I guess that I would still like to, if I could figure that one out. Can I do that and be in my onetime small lower-class way a patron of American consumer goods? I feel like I have had enough petty seduction, frankly, though it is difficult to leave everything behind because there is so much that I do not manufacture.

It should be clear enough that Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, George Soros, Goldman-Sachs, the IMF, the CIA or NSA, Wsstinghouse, Honeywell, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Republican Party, the Democratic Party, and similar entities do not see themselves as being any sort of us or we to which or whom I or probably you are invited to belong. I may register as Democrat, sure, but I may still be dragged from a convention for dissent, as happened to Democrats in Michigan as recently as December 3rd. I may purchase as a consumer, sure, but what I get in a status token is the token and not the status, the whiskey and not the satisfaction, the mortgage and not the house. In the purchase itself I enforce the you and the I.

I am very glad that you-all are here still, Ministry of Information notwithstanding, in whatever form it might take in the apparently upcoming event. But individually we are called to connections that are very different than this.

I like Hedges. I fear that he may be whistling in the dark more than a bit here. I hope that over the course of his contacts and speaking he has himself developed a we. I hear good talk of such things, but mostly still know me's and you's.


#19

People are scared, and they will balkanize - there is no doubt about this in my mind.

Yet a look at history sees a pattern - ever greater numbers in what we can call 'the tribe'.

First, tribes of fifty, or less.

Much later, city states and farmers.

Now - immense nations - with nuclear weapons - with commercial reactors which I doubt we will ever decommission properly.

Next step - a confederation of nations - or people, working on some way to survive in a time of overpopulation on the planet - resource shortages - polluted air, land and sea - soon to be runaway climate change - biodiversity crash - and the futuristic coming of the robots and Artificial Intelligence and pandemic disease.

To expect any nation state, invented to protect their own turf and inevitably encroach on others, is to ask too much.

We need an organization one level higher than the nation state, whose remit is to save mankind from extinction.


#20

Our Constitutional Liberty
written by
Daniel Webster
1752-1852

OTHER misfortunes may be borne, or their effects overcome. If a disastrous war should sweep our commerce from the ocean, another generation may renew it; if it exhaust our treasury, future industry may replenish it; if it desolate and lay waste our fields, still, under a new cultivation they will grow green again, and ripen to future harvests. It were but a trifle if the walls of yonder capitol were to crumble, if its lofty pillars should fall, and its gorgeous decorations be all covered by the dust of the valley; all these might be rebuilt. But who shall reconstruct the fabric of demolished government? Who shall rear again the well proportioned columns of constitutional liberty? Who shall frame together the skillful architecture which unites national sovereignty with State rights, individual security, and public prosperity? No, gentlemen, if these columns fall they will be raised not again. Like the Coliseum and the Parthenon they will be destined to a mournful, a melancholy immortality. Bitterer tears, however, will flow over them than were ever shed over the monuments of Roman or Grecian art; for they will be the remnants of a more glorious edifice than Greece or Rome ever saw, the edifice of constitutional American liberty.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
:-})