My relatives in Maine are deplorables. I cannot write on their behalf. I can write in their defense. They live in towns and villages that have been ravaged by deindustrialization. The bank in Mechanic Falls, where my grandparents lived, is boarded up, along with nearly every downtown store. The paper mill closed decades ago. There is a strip club in the center of the town. The jobs, at least the good ones, are gone.
The terms conservative and liberal are properly used for the economic classes they represent:
Conservatives are the 0.001% whose wealth is well secured and they mean to keep it.
Liberals are the remainder of the 1% who are desperately striving to get their hands on the conservatives' wealth through their banking games.
Victims are the 99% to whom the labels "conservative" and "liberal" do not apply in a proper economic sense.
We need to revise the labeling within the 99% into "bamboozled" (as to whom their adversaries really are) and "non-bamboozled".
A prime example of how the "Liberal Elite" think is manifested in that article yesterday by Todd Gitlin. In it he condemns those that voted Green or did not vote as being childish and churlish for not voting for Clinton.
His underlying message is that the "Liberal Elite" whom he feels himself a spokesperson for do not have to earn the vote of the people but are rather ENTITLED to it no matter the candidate they present to the people so as to garner that vote. It a fundamentally undemocratic line of reasoning and one is that is dismissive of what is important to those people who chose not to vote for Clinton.
This type of person sees principles values or morals as something that can be traded in and compromised just as long as "The person I am supporting wins". Hucksters like Trump operate from both sides of the aisle.
Chris Hedges has been heading in this direction for quite some time now. He calls for Revolt!
I hear this message and his call. I agree. Mr. Hedges has spent a long time coming to an understanding of the core problems we face. His analysis, in my opinion, is spot on.
The key to a successful revolution is the accurate identification of a common enemy. Chris Hedges has named that enemy: The Corporate/Capitalist/Elite/ Oligarchs. We fight them, not each other--no matter what race, religious group, gender, etc., we are! If we don't come together to do this--we, like the Roman Empire, will decay from within...then shatter and be but a memory: The bull-headed, rebellious, adolescent nation, that thought it could rule the world.
Thanks to and for Hedges and sanity in the midst of all things.
The problems Chris Hedges describes apply to more than white Christian middle class Americans, but at the same time many of Trump's "middle class" supporters do have jobs, homes, families and live in communities that are not disappearing and filled with decay. Professional propagandists who know how easily human emotions are influenced by angry, hate-provoking advocacy were surely in great part responsible for Trump's popularity. The lack of curiosity regarding Trump's lies, conflicted and confounding statements, the disinterest in learning more rather than accepting bizarre campaign promises shows how easily common sense can be subverted. At the same time, "liberals" in our government have recently abandoned much interest in both the middle class and (especially) the poor. President Obama has been disappointing where leadership to address economic and infrastructure issues are concerned. Sometimes addicts must hit bottom before they decide to make life-changing decisions. Perhaps with Trumpism the nation has hit bottom and a revolting return to human decency will emerge from the grave of Ozymandias.
Doug Giebel, Big Sandy, Montana
Divide and Conquer
LBJ signed the Civil Rights Act. So the Republicans employed their Southern Strategy to propel Nixon into the White House. Brought down by his own corruption, Nixon gave way to Ford, allowing Carter one term as the Republicans regrouped. Reagan resurrected Nixon's Southern Strategy to secure three consecutive terms of Republican presidents, two for him and one for Bush The Elder.
Back on their heels the Democratic Leadership Council decided to (1) embrace the same corporate backers who had backed Republicans more or less exclusively, thus abandoning the working class, (2) counter the Republican's Southern Strategy by overtly pandering to blacks, then Latinos, the LGBT community, and Muslims (all the while incarcerating more blacks than their predecessors, deporting more Latinos than their predecessors, dragging their feet enacting LGBT rights, and surveilling and harassing Muslims just as much as the Republicans) and (3) engaging in political double speak, promising progressive change to their base while empowering corporate rule when in office (the mirror image of the Republican's double speak to their base).
The result? An electorate divided. The "blues" versus the "reds". Both sides "othering" the other. Neither side willing to work together with the other.
More than any presidential campaign in my lifetime the two candidates in the 2016 campaign inflamed that animosity to a fever pitch. Trump's bombastic racist, misogynistic, Islamophobic remarks. Hillary's equally divisive "deplorables" remarks.
Who benefits? The ruling class.
Divide and Conquer.
They've done to us what they did in Iraq, where they set Shias against Sunnis, fanning the flames of a cultural divide many had relegated to the dustbin of history. They've done to us what they did in Ukraine, fanning the flames of a cultural divide to set the citizens against one another, in the meantime stealing the wealth of that nation for themselves.
Until and unless the "left" and the "right" wake up and realize we are ALL being played the status quo will remain. The oily-garchs will rule. We will never have an economy that works for all the people. We will never have a peaceful prosperous nation.
I say it again. The "left" are every bit as guilty as the "right" for the divide. Those who refuse to work with the "others" are every bit as divisive as the (presumed) racists they deplore. Theirs is what I call an "inverted racism" - the "othering" of those they presume (or know) to be racist.
You want to fight the Civil War all over again? Real blood flowing on America's streets?
The 1863 Confederate Conscription Act required all able bodied men join the Confederate Army. The only exception were those who owned ten or more slaves. That's right. The Southern oligarchs marched their peasants against the Northern oligarch's peasant army.
In that regard the situation has changed very little in 150 years. A nation divided.
Whatcha gonna do?
Grow up, or continue quarreling like petulant children while the oligarchs steal our lunches?
No, but "leftist" (i.e. Marxian) should apply to those "99 percent" (which is actually 60-70 percent or so). This notion that there is no longer such thing as ideology is simply wrong.
So, am I supposed to become a union hater, welfare recipient hater, and global warming denier in order to reach across to the Trumpists?
Read what I said and try to find where I said anything remotely resembling what you allege I have said. Your method of attack is intellectually dishonest. You twist what I say and never address what I actually say. I'm not going to reply to any more of your baseless petulant attacks.
Great analysis (again!), Mr. Hedges.
Republicans utilize the Southern Strategy to appeal to bigotry and fear to gain votes.
Democrats utilize identity politics to appeal to the countering of bigotry and fear to gain votes.
What neither of them actually address are the economic policies which differ only in degree. They both distract from the real issues out of which these social conditions arise.
I have no time for any political parties that serve the interests of the ruling class. None of us should.
Yeah, Gitlin seemed a good example in that piece. I haven't seen any of his writings otherwise.
There's something in Gitlin's line that seems astoundingly foolish, but I suppose what it is more than anything is astoundingly sequestered.
From CELDF (Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund):
Blog: Propertied Privilege Trumps Democracy
Or: How Rule Of The People, By and For The Elites was baked into our Constitution.
Exactly. Divide and Conquer. Quarrel amongst ourselves while the Oligarchs eat our lunch.
Excellent, very readable and accurate from Mr Hedges. The central message of Bernie Sanders - the one he focused on almost exclusively and energized great support that crossed traditional political lines it seemed to me - it was an economic message of true economic reform and a political re-alignment similar to what Chris Hedges identifies and espouses in this piece. Sanders was excoriated or ignored by some groups for this focus on economic class division and suffering, while he gained great support from those who "got it" - entrenched politicians in thrall to the 1% demeaned his advocacy and message and used power politics to stifle the message and ultimately choose the opposite of change as anointed candidate.......and here we stand.
One of the social / cultural reasons for this all-too-common taboo of discussing these deeply-rooted economic problems is that it is "heresy" in a country where capitalism is our "economic god" -- it means taking up a Marxist critique in a country where "Communism" (or rather, what we've been TOLD is "Communism") is practically forbidden. By wedding any and all criticism of capitalism itself with Communism, it is taboo to speak of it at all, certainly in any mainstream media.
Marx had his flaws (what thinker doesn't?) but the questions he raised are worthy -- but because we can't talk about THAT, capitalism has only run even more rampant -- all the worse since the collapse of the Iron Curtain.
But that's what made Sanders so surprising, to actually aim at economic issues instead of parading a litany of identity politics, which is the DNC's bait-and-switch strategy. Sanders' may have gotten screwed in the primaries, but his supporters haven't forgotten the issues he raised. That's precisely why the DNC needs to either shape up or ship out (though I'm not optimistic on the issue).
Man! I am sick and tired of columns and blogs complaining of this so-called "self-righteousness of the liberal class" without providing a shred of evidence of it. Where is your evidence Hedges?? There is none in this piece at all.
Another great article by Chris Hedges.
In breaking through to the working class people who voted for Trump with 'economic justice' I think that the powerful indoctrination, propaganda, and mis-direction spewed by FOX 'news' must be interrupted in some way. FOX(and perhaps other 'news' outlets) have stolen millions of minds.
In essence, Chris Hedges is saying what I have been saying for years: If we are talking about anything other than class warfare as it relates to global inequality, injustice, racism, homophobia, xenophobia, misogyny and the other vile social ills; we are talking about the wrong thing. There is no other valid conversation. We either identify and talk about the root cause of society's degradation and destruction or we ignore it and justify it. The is no "common ground" on this issue ... none.
Capitalism is literally destroying humanity and the planet. The are no solutions other than the total destruction of capitalism.