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Spiritual blackout in America: Election 2016


Spiritual blackout in America: Election 2016

Cornel West

The most frightening feature of the civic melancholia in present-day America is the relative collapse of integrity, honesty, and decency — an undeniable spiritual blackout of grand proportions. The sad spectacle of the presidential election is no surprise. Rather, the neofascist catastrophe called Donald Trump and the neoliberal disaster named Hillary Clinton are predictable symbols of our spiritual blackout.


Is it appropriate to take Pepto-Bismol before or after voting?
Or both?


A profound explanation of our malaise. But I part ways when West says she "will be smart, even brilliant in office." He must mean in a Machiavellian sense, yet she has not shown even that depth of understanding. She is, as I read elsewhere, "intellectually shallow" -- not that different from her doppelganger Trump.


Clinton has been coached to appear smart and her campaign has been structured to support that perception among voters..."ready on day one" for example. For those of us who know what awaits us on "day one" that phrase is the most scary phrase we have heard in a long time.

From the first year of the Dubya Regime onward I have frequently admonished CD readers to keep a stock of Maalox when reading about anything related to corporations and the DC politicians they own.

The upcoming Clinton or Trump administration will require we be well stocked with at least Omeprazole and whatever works best for each reader to deal with depression.


I have yet to find a historian or student of rhetoric who does not believe that Hitler was "smart, even brilliant in office".

"Smart" and devious are a dangerous combination for the 99%.


Meaning cunning, I think. Quite different from the “brilliance” based on empathy and goodwill for all, especially the impoverished working class.


Spiritual Blackout in a Nation that ranks Atheism as the only non-starter when considering someone for Public Office, blind to the fact that Religion and Spirituality are two separate entities.


Thank you for this offering. I fully agree we are equally sad over the lack of integrity, honesty and decency in our political structure. Bernie Sanders approached these same words when he spoke of the loss of morality. These qualities are the heart of a good candidate for the people.
Some candidates have given the impression they were in possession of at least some of them. Obama came across like he was one. But alas, we found he lied.
After Obama there was no more hope for change, no hope for the qualities we look for in an elected official in the two party system. It has weakened our county and our reputation in the world.
For these reasons Jill Stein is a perfect candidate. I voted for her, I hope you will too.


Certainly nothing in her tenure as Secretary of State suggests she is smart or particularly astute when it comes to doing what is in the best interests of the United States, e.g., pushing the Obama administration to intervene in Libya (according to Gates' memoirs and others her support was the deciding factor), promoting a right wing coup in Honduras, orchestrating the overthrow of the government in Ukraine, which has led to conflict with Russia in eastern Ukraine and over Crimea, pushing for a NFZ in Syria, likely to happen when she becomes president. And that's without even getting into the whole private server scandal and pay to play corruption via the Clinton Foundation. It is simply extraordinary that supporters tout her experience as secretary of state in support of her candidacy. For this President Obama is originally to blame, since he caved in to Democratic party elites' pressure in 2008 and named her to the position to set her up to succeed him. a tragic mistake of the first order.

Every Hillary supporter I know mentions only the fact that she has secretary of state on her resume, without ever discussing her alleged achievements as such. There's a reason for that!


re: Dr. West's statement that Hillary Clinton is smart...

Trump: Just because I'm not sane doesn't mean I'm not stupid.

Clinton: Just because I'm not stupid doesn't mean I'm not evil.


On a related note, Professor West displayed tremendous courage and intellectual integrity by fighting a hopeless battle to inject into the Democratic Party platform recognition of the rights and suffering of Palestinians under Israeli occupation, all of which efforts were rebuffed by Clinton's apparatchiks on the platform committee. The party's refusal to acknowledge the illegality under international law and immorality of the occupation, continued settlements, and denial of Palestinian self-determination is a disgrace. No progressive, indeed no well-meaning American, should be anything but outraged.


Thanks for sharing. And being a man of integrity, and one who truly believes in peace and justice, Professor West did the right thing by supporting Jill Stein for President.


"The founder of Western philosophy, Plato, foresaw this scenario. In “The Republic” — history’s most profound critique democratic regimes — Plato argues that democracies produce citizens of unruly passion and pervasive ignorance, manipulated by greedy elites and mendacious politicians."

But Plato's student Aristotle favored democracy. Plato was in favor of a philosopher king. I'll go with Aristotle on this one.


HRC is insanely ambitious which makes her quite insane especially when it comes to foreign policy:


Thanks for the link. I had read the interview, but watching his thoughtful delivery adds immeasurably to the content of the words.

By the way, for those who have not read or seen it, he categorically denies that the Russians are behind the Clinton email leaks.


"The Russians" in election 2016 context are contrived by the DNC to:

1) distract us from election skullduggery, and

2) to repeat the success of the mushroom cloud propaganda used in the 1964 election and used in the run up to the 2003 Iraq invasion, and

3) to restart the cold war with Russia to restore the revenue that the military industrial media infotainment complex (MIMIC) enjoyed when the cold war was in progress from 1945-1991.


This is a disappointing article by Cornell West. Are we really seeing the failure of democracy in the U.S. for reasons Plato outlined? Isn't it rather the sabotage of whatever little democracy remains by "the billionaires" and their minions? I would have thought this was obvious in the Sanders campaign, the debates, the "strip and flip"ping, the blackout of Stein, the pay to play, etc etc. No one is flocking to either candidate for their demagoguery as brother Cornell suggests. Both are totally unpopular according to all the surveys.


Applause to Dr. West for another fine essay, but the problem is not Hillary Clinton's IQ; the problem is that she is playing the other side of the board. On some level she must surely be foolish to wreak such violence, but there is nothing unique about that, and we shall have plenty of time time to wish she were not so clever.

By the way, why should this not read "The neofascist catastrophe called Hillary Clinton and the neoliberal disaster named Donald Trump. . . "? They are not the same, but their relation to those ideologies can hardly be the difference. There is nothing particularly antifascist about neoliberalism. It has become way too facile to associate Trump uniquely to fascism because of his racism and rhetorical style. But these are not closely related.

One more thought. I am not so comfortable with "Our spiritual blackout," though I am not certain that I care to disagree in any literal sense. I may be reading something unintended into Dr. West's words, but I suspect that he may be writing around the intentional propaganda of the ruling classes. Surely it is good that people understand and rise against these people and institutions, but this seems to conflate a spiritual blackout with ignorance and disinformation. I would be interested in reading Dr. West's thoughts thereon, but surely that would take another piece.

I suspect that it may not be coincidental that Common Dreams must take in a certain amount of money on exactly the day before the election to continue its work. Take care, all.


Hi Tom?,
Because I'm a newbie Common Dreams limited my postings to the "dangerous myths about trump" article to only three... which i instantly used up... in fact, was not able to upload "part 2" of B. Sidney Smith's essay. I'm so glad you felt similarly to me about it.
If you would't mind, there were a few others who also commented about how excellent his essay was, but alas... I can't respond to them because of the "newbie" limitations. So, if you receive this, would you mind posting/pasting this, in that trump-myth article under your name, as my response to them (the ones who bothered to read the essay) explaining I was not able to upload "part 2", and letting them know that I really appreciate that they actually bothered to be open-minded enough to take the time to read it.


"Plato argues that democracies produce citizens of unruly passion and pervasive ignorance, manipulated by greedy elites and mendacious politicians. "

Change "democracies" to "representative governments" and Cornell and Plato will be on the money.

Direct Democracy