Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2020/11/11/things-may-get-worse-they-get-better-us
This essay blows me away. I haven’t noticed Walden Bello’s excellence to this degree before (my emphasis):
In fact, Trump is as much a creation of his base as he is creator of that base. What liberal commentators do not understand is that it is not not only a case of Trump whipping up his base for his personal political ends. It is that, but it is much more: that base wants Trump to lie for them and cheat for them and go to hell for them—and if Trump were to stick to the conventions of the transition process, he himself would run the risk of being disowned by them.
It might be a startling insight of Bello’s, to some: Orangeman is a prisoner of his so-called base. They hold his feet to the hellfire. It’s not an instance of unique genius, but a talented spontaneous performer auditioning for and winning the coveted brass ring awarded to Head Hater, Commander-in-Cheat.
I’m reminded of the father in Eugene O’Neil’s Long Day’s Journey Into Night – whose stage-portrayal of The Count of Monte Cristo is so successful, he’s stuck with nothing else for the rest of his miserable life.
Note also that although bankruptcy has been the business model Trump applied and continues to apply to his brick and mortar businesses, by any metric Trump has been far more successful as an entertainer, especially a reality TV entertainer. He has been even more successful applying the reality TV model to his political venture.
Trump’s marks (as Jesse Jackson correctly labels Trump rally attendees that the media label “Trump’s base”) are the same people that enable reality TV to be the multi-billion dollar industry it has become during the past two decades.
My brother’s in-laws, who have become multi-millionaires being reality TV stars assure him that reality TV is 90% BS and 10% reality at best. As Jackson pointed out, Trump’s real “base” are the multi-millionaires and billionaires whose wealth has increased exponentially under the Trump/GOP regime. Many of Trump’s real base also make a bundle on reality TV.
I don’t know. Some of the “base” folks I know seem to twist and turn as Trump does. Seems like they are just happy to make progressives, Democrats, whoever is to the left of them mad.
Me too. Have been a fan of Walden Bello’s thoughtful pieces on CD’s
Right now I can’t see how things will “get better” in the u.s. I’m in agreement with George Monbiot (and others) who stated:
"I think we have to recognise the possibility that US politics might not be fixable. "
It’s hard for me to imagine and believe things will get better with Biden unless something radically shifts with dems.
Based on dems dismissal (if not outright condemnation) of grass roots groups immediately following this election the chances are slim to none that Biden unites the people against the oligarchs and thus (catastrophically) the people will remain divided against each other.
Biden is the opposite of Bernie’s message/ movement of “us, not me”.
Biden represents the “me” of the oligarchy which is like a singular destructive beast.
And much of the focus of the celebration of Biden’s win is all about him as “healer”, “man of steady calm/reason”, “uniter”, “man who will reach across the aisle” and blah, blah, awful blah.
To celebrate an ability of “reaching across an aisle” that leads to a group of individuals who represent oligarchy, plutocracy, neoliberalism . . . whatever you want to call it, is to celebrate reaching into and joining with the maw of death.
From article (h-ttps://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/nov/11/us-trump-biden-president-elect)
"The United States of America is fundamentally divided… It is divided between exploiter and exploited, oppressor and oppressed.
There is no unity to be found with kleptocrats and oligarchs. Any attempt to pretend there is will lead to political failure. It will lead not to healing but to a deflected polarisation. If Americans are not polarised against plutocrats, they will be polarised against each other.
Unless Biden unites the people against the oligarchs who dominate the nation, the people will remain divided against each other."
I don’t believe Biden (et al) can do this. The u.s. lost a shot at this with Bernie who may have been able to pull that off.
OT (but not really as all is interconnected): thoughts on the sculpture of Mary Wollstonecraft? Based on your comments here, I have a hunch about your reaction!
Thanks for letting me know about that (apparently) lovely tribute to one of my chief gurus. As soon as the word “nude” came up, I knew this had to be a British controversy (USA is far too childish for something like this to even momentarily surface). Mary Wollstonecraft’s eternally unique insight cuts to the heart of the family unit: asking why the most intimate aspects of life have become instruments of oppression, of counter-productive male domination. In particular, Wollstonecraft’s emphasis (and Cady Stanton’s) connects political awareness to defending woman’s connection to the precious lives of her children. Way back when, it was feasible to militate for feminism, and to defend helpless children with fierce womanliness, at the same time.
Wollstonecraft was all about “female is beautiful” – To my eye, the sculptor’s nude is just that: plain feminism, as clean as Quaker furniture.
Thank you for your response! As I’ve told you before and I’ll tell you again (and again) I love the way you string words together that convey your thoughts.
This in particular which, if I may, pass along to others?
If my scribblings can spread respect for Wollstonecraft’s wonderful life-story and tale to tell, I’m more than gratified – thanks for your kind words.
I’ve been reviewing state trajectories out at Covidly, because yesterday’s review of state averages from JH turned up some startling increases – now confirmed from another data-source, it seems. One of the most disturbing “hockey stick” trajectories is that of Wisconsin, but I count 33 state-trajectories in the “hockey stick” category.
Trump and his base are the creation of the DLC. The DLC keeps moving right, and LOTE keeps enabling the rightward movement.
The people are desperate and spiraling down. That is what created Trump’s base. A true progressive would have appealed to most of them, but the DLC chose to help the rich become richer instead.
After the DLC squashed Sanders, there was no other help to turn to. It is no wonder that people turned to the only person at least claiming to be on their side.
This hell is a creation of the DLC and LOTE.
Just look at Bello’s photo — he’s one of , “them”!
“This hell is a creation of the DLC and LOTE.”
I agree this was part of the creation, but there were other factors as well, such as the great point brought up by the author, that many white citizens are scared to death that their privilege in society will be lost when people of color out number them in a few years in this country.
No surprise. I am surprised that this did not happen sooner given the combo of insane, ignorant, selfish behaviors we have witnessed in n. Wisconsin.
People are still not taking it seriously. They think it is not a big deal—just like the flu.
Ron Johnson of Wisconsin— brain dead (but somehow still functioning) man said recently:
" As Wisconsin coronavirus surge continues, U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson claims ‘we’ve flattened the curve,’ says virus isn’t a death sentence"
And in the meantime—
EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (AP) — Mayo Clinic Health System says its hospitals in the northwest region of Wisconsin are full to capacity. h-ttps://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/mayo-says-beds-full-in-northwest-region-of-wisconsin/ar-BB1aUSPh
There is racism, and fear of losing privileged status. But that wouldn’t have gotten very far without neoliberal policies. Much of the desperation and rage is fueled by the results of neoliberal policies.
With a government that responds to the needs of people, that attitude would start to die out.
When you read a thoughtful piece that comes right out and says what you think and most fear, you can either go into a complete psychotic break, or warrior up. I, too, have been comparing this election to 1860, and that both white majority fear and caste/class are part of the mix.
When I came out of the longhouse and slave shack to my adoptive family and friends in lily white rural northwestern Ohio, it was similar to pulling the pin on a grenade and throwing it. It was bad enough I was trans and Pagan, but not to be white…I have sat through so many extended family meals where the main topic of conversation was about someone passing, was someone part black. Native Americans were completely beyond the pale. One time, totally fed up with the discussion, I just got up, said, “I’m out of here!” and left.
Now snowflake GOP leaders are afraid they’ll get death threats if they say they want Trump to concede. Geez, is this some third world banana republic really ruled by Oligarchs and corporations? Wait, forget that. Of course we are.
Now, if they want to rumble, I’m on it.
You have to understand the why. A big reason why is due to NAFTA and them losing their livelihoods. So, so many of us have forgotten about the awful economic policies that have destroyed millions of lives in this country. NAFTA and a lot of the policies of the 90s did just that. I witnessed it growing up. I saw once proud democrats fall into despair after losing everything and being told to deal with it by the same people they supported. That type of betrayal messes with you, and it has caused many people to feel despair that no one should. As such, that despair would inevitably be used against them by people like… well the entire GOP. I know that is not the narrative people want to hear as it is easier to say “white man bad, racist!” but I assure you many of these people were cultivated from the awful policies of our politicians in the 90s and 00s.
I just found out one of my nephews, his fiance, and her whole family voted for Trump.
What in God’s name made these seemingly intelligent folks buy into the hatred and division of someone so undeserving of any job whose responsibilities is to all Americans.
Couldn’t they see he had a hatred for most Americans?
Couldn’t they see that he had only one God, money?
Couldn’t they see his lack of compassion for anyone?
What were they thinking?
Don’t people “think” anymore?
I absolutely agree.
Long Days Journey Into Night
Jack Lemmon version circa 1987
I’ve lived and worked in conservative areas all my childhood and adult life. My family is full of Republicans. The only people I hear saying what you are saying are leftists who think everything is about economics. The reality is, most of the Republicans I know get their news from FOX, Limbaugh, Breitbart, Facebook, likely a combination of them all. They do not care about NAFTA except to oppose it if Democrats support it. Hell, NAFTA 2.0 was a huge historic victory for the president. They call Biden a socialist while praising a president who looked like a feeble old man in front of the entire world in Helsinki when next to Vladimir Putin. They think this election was stolen and don’t trust people from their own party who counted the votes.
I understand things perfectly: they do not care what progressives care about. They will vote for a man who passed a huge regressive tax cut because it makes you, me, and others here mad. They love Trump because he does things we don’t like, our existence is the problem.
I think you might be surprised------Biden is not a Clinton dem-----just yesterday Biden repeated a well known phraze----“healthcare is a right”. But these things can’t start at the top----it needs to be the bottom up. And people on the left need to stop using lame excuses-------NO ONE HERE WILL ANSWER MY QUESTION-----WHY DID COLLINS WIN IN MAINE—?-they voted for Biden but not the dem or Green candidate who was in debates.-------And I will tell you why ------THE PEOPLE OF MAINE WANTED DIVIDED GOV.
Georgia went for Biden with the help of progessives the same for Nevada and Arizona and Texas is getting close.
The real question is why did Trump get 4 million white woman over 2016???
Trump is the Great White Hope ------it is racism–slavery ----and hate thrashing around trying to survive in a changing world.