Americans have now entered into one of the most sickening and dangerous periods of the 21st century. Trump is not only a twisted caricature of every register of economic, political, educational, and social fundamentalism, he is the apogee of a warrior culture committed to rolling back civil rights, women’s reproductive rights, and all vestiges of economic justice and democracy.
Trump is the fascist shadow that has been lurking in the dark since Nixon’s Southern Strategy. It has now come into the light knowing full well that it no longer has to code or apologize for its hatred of all those who do not fit its white-supramicist and ultra-nationalistic script.
In light of the country tipping over into authoritarianism, we have learned is that liberalism with its third way economic and political polices is dead, nothing more than an ugly corpse decomposing on the national landscape. Its commitment to neoliberalism and the financial elite has helped to usher America into the dark night of authoritarianism.
We have also learned that the economic crisis and the misery it has spurned has not been matched by an ideological crisis, a crisis of ideas, education, and values. In part, that is because the left and progressives have not taken education seriously enough as central to the meaning of politics. Without an informed public, there is no resistance in the name of democracy and justice.
Of course, power is never entirely on the side of domination, and in this coming era of acute repression, we will have to redefine politics, reclaim the struggle to educate, change individual and collective consciousness, engage in meaningful dialogue with people left out of the political landscape, and build broad based social movements. There are hints of this happening among youth of color and we need to be attentive to these struggles.
This is a time to both talk back and fight back. It will not be easy but it can happen and there are historical precedents for this. The main vehicle of change and political agency has to be young people. They are the beacon of the future and we have to both learn from them, support them, contribute where possible, and join in their struggles.
The lights are going out and the time to wake up from this nightmare is today. Forget depression, look ahead, get energized, read, build alternative public spheres, become guerrilla fighters. There are no guarantees in politics, but there is no politics that matters without hope, that is, educated hope.
Here is a podcast interview I did on the election with Paul Samuel Dolman.