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'There Will Be Hell to Pay': Writing History in the Trump Era


#1

'There Will Be Hell to Pay': Writing History in the Trump Era

Andrew Bacevich

Forgive me for complaining, but recent decades have not been easy ones for my peeps. I am from birth a member of the WHAM tribe, that once proud, but now embattled conglomeration of white, heterosexual American males. We have long been -- there’s no denying it -- a privileged group. When the blessings of American freedom get parceled out, WHAMs are accustomed to standing at the head of the line. Those not enjoying the trifecta of being white, heterosexual, and male get what’s left.


#2

Seeing how Trump's campaign (and now presidency) is based on lies that even most of those who voted for him have always agreed are lies, don't count on WHAMs support for Trump waning anytime soon. GOP fans in general and especially Trump supporters don't care if their candidates and electeds lie, they just want them to get away with those lies.
Their rationale (if it can be called a rationale) is that getting away with serial lies equates to getting back at "liberals" and institutions that enabled women, minorities and other non-WHAMs to cut in front of them in line.


#3

. . . and, as Trump promised and with no critique from establishment Democrats or Republicans, the US is back in the business of Torture:


#4

100 % !


#5

Sorry, but this whole article seemed like an upperclassman's attempt to massage his professor's ego with a final paper that went the required length and spouted the prof's favorite phrases and dropped the names of the prof's favorite sources.

Did it illuminate exactly where we are today or how we got here? Not really. Did it account for Trump's trumping of all previous norms? Not really. Did it point at or even hint at a path out of this morass? Not that I could see.

C+.


#6

Owing his election in large part to my fellow WHAMs, Donald Trump is now expected to repay that support by putting things right.

For some WHAMs, yes, but I personally know several that voted for Trump for him to "sake things up" in Washington and that he has certainly done. For them, "putting things right" was secondary or not even a consideration. Trump has met or exceeded their ecxpectations. They'll only withdraw their support when Trump starts behaving like just another Washington politician.

Overall, Bacevich's "hell to pay" predication with this group is overblown. He, like many progressive authors, is guilty of assuming all of these these Trump WHAMs are as issue-based, informed and concerned with facts as he is. Some of the moderates in this group may be, but a sizable percentage are not. In this, Bacevich is functioning as this own historian, too. He should attend a Trump rally if he wants a true picture of these particular Trump supporters.


#7

I've always found Historiogaphy fascinating and appreciate Mr. Bacevich's interest in the subject. I find his use of WHAMs a creative take on what was common usage when I was in school---WASPs, or white anglo saxon protestants.


#8

My understanding is that Prof. Bacevich is a Republican.
If so, I look forward to an article in which he renounces his affiliation.


#9

And protect themselves from the blood filling the streets ...


#10

This interesting essay fails because, while discussing relationships among "tribes" in the U.S., he fails to talk about how the development of capitalism interacts with all of this.


#11

When the WHAMs said "Whee!" and took us all for a ride! Did a tribe of like minded Everymans vote for the Trump of their dreams or were they victims of the same collective disinterest and lack of familiarity with the complexities of our increasingly difficult modern world as were shown by Trump himself. Trump's prideful anti-intellectualism and his boastful (and proud) rejection of science are mirror reflections of that same lack of engagement in a world that is so very unfamiliar to WHAMs the older they get! Older WHAMs the ones who have little real idea of what their phones are capable of doing and are satisfied that they can at least make phones calls (plus their phones function like a Rolodex too!) and don't worry about it!

The thing is that the WHAM tribe didn't elect Trump. They elected an old fashioned view of America that made sense to them when they were in their prime. "Make America great again!" Said Trump. If a WHAM had been asked as to what Trump intended to do, the WHAM would shrug and say "Who knows but I want that!" They didn't need that much engagement with the Trump agenda at least not enough to actually try to learn what that agenda actually entailed. The WHAMs didn't really need to know specifics. They were voting for the way things were when once they had better understood the world. They voted for the word "again" in the phrase "Make America great again". They didn't need nor want to know anything new, they were voting for everything old back when things seemed simple to them. They voted for an America and the world that they understood and they saw that Trump was just like them (except for the money of course)!

The WHAMs voted for whatever Trump wanted to do albeit without actually knowing what he would do. They didn't need to know. Trump knew how to handle things! Trump knew how to reject science. Trump knew how to build a wall! Trump was everything that the Everyman tribe felt towards a runaway modernity that had already left them behind.

And Trump was a billionaire which made him seem like the most successful Everyman of them all. Trump was going to be their Reagan and then these (you know who) people would see what was what!

They voted for a past that never was and never would be. Trump represented that outmoded viewpoint fo them. They sensed that Trump was no smarter than they were about the world.

They sensed that Trump was one of them...

...except for the money, of course.

There lies the rub. There was a kind of intellectual distance between Trump and the WHAMs that voted for him.

The money! That is why so many are shocked when they see that their WHAM champion is taking away their Medicaid and health care plus all the rest in the "killer budget". Trump was on their side. Trump wanted the glory days of an earlier time just like they did. Trump was their champion. Trump was their Reagan!

Trump was just like they were...they told each other! And it was true...

...except, of course, for the most important thing...

... the money!


#12

The Ruling Class Observer:

THE HUMAN ANOMALY

June 22, 2017 · by regensordo · in politics ·
The human individual is certainly an anomaly in this animal world, perhaps even a rare occurrence in the whole universe. What other being creates a monster called the ruling class that tears apart the very ecosystems — social and natural — which sustains it? What else but the human ruling class can alter the flow of the natural world and divert its processes to suit a few and their superfluous needs at the expense of the natural world and the masses?

The power to destroy is the power to create, for the power to create hell on Earth is proof that this collection of human individuals can create paradise on Earth. Do your wise men say this? But to create an Earthly paradise is to have a healthy, even distribution of power, whereas a ruling class requires an accumulation and concentration of power which creates hell on Earth.

Hell on Earth is not compatible with nature. It is a human concoction meant to Justify the side effects of ruling class society. Therefore the emergent ruling class must overturn nature’s hegemony and replace it with its own establishment.


#13

I love how you keep putting these post up from this site.

I finally went to it. Pretty glad I did. Interesting take.

Thanks


#14

God knows Americans today do not lack for information or opinion.

Opinion yes but information certainly not.

The most remarkable feature of American news is that it provides citizens with next to no detail about any major issue, past or present. Try to answer these questions by watching mainstream news. How many people (foreign and domestic) were killed in Vietnam or the first war in Iraq? At what income level are payroll taxes capped and how does that cap impact Social Security's solvency? How many Americans die each year because they lack access to timely, high-quality health care? What is the specific content of NAFTA or any other single free trade agreement?

Unless and until citizens arm themselves with real and better information, today's historians and opinion leaders will continue to peddle nonsense and deceive their audiences, wasting everyone's time and vote.


#15

Looking at the background and publications of Mr. Bacevich, I read him with interest, expecting a new perspective on a painful subject, the election of Trump and the Republicans' willingness to use him, and for him to allow himself to be happily used if his ego is massaged often and well enough. Every day another horror comes to fruition, agendum after agendum, of pain to the poor, minorities, Muslims (for now, but Jews may be next), the weak, the sick ... all will suffer with the agenda of the Republicans and that's not even thinking about the world we will come to know as a result of the U.S.'s rejection of the Paris Accords, not an answer in and of itself, but at least with the U.S. participation, a beginning.

Bacevich refers to failed policies of many past presidents in helping out the Everyman. I would ask him who blocked the door to any policies that would assist that population. The Democrats? Rebecca Solnit in response to a comment by someone that said there was no difference between the parties hit the nail on the head: "You are undoubtedly a white male---someone who will not be affected by the difference."

The Everyman that Bacevich refers to seems to me to be no more, no less, than the Everyman of the Third Reich---hateful, self-righteous, damning of anyone who doesn't look them them, and ready to take action if necessary and if allowed to intimidate, subrogate, and in their wildest dream, quarantine or deport The Other. And it is that population that Bacevich is encouraging me to understand, to set aside hostility, to accommodate perhaps and allow in to my equation of values of justice and equality?