[Marxism] Fwd: Autocracy: Rules for Survival | by Masha Gessen | NYR Daily | The New York Review of Books

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Fri Nov 11 08:51:06 MST 2016

“Thank you, my friends. Thank you. Thank you. We have lost. We have 
lost, and this is the last day of my political career, so I will say 
what must be said. We are standing at the edge of the abyss. Our 
political system, our society, our country itself are in greater danger 
than at any time in the last century and a half. The president-elect has 
made his intentions clear, and it would be immoral to pretend otherwise. 
We must band together right now to defend the laws, the institutions, 
and the ideals on which our country is based.”

That, or something like that, is what Hillary Clinton should have said 
on Wednesday. Instead, she said, resignedly,

"We must accept this result and then look to the future. Donald Trump is 
going to be our president. We owe him an open mind and the chance to 
lead. Our constitutional democracy enshrines the peaceful transfer of 
power. We don’t just respect that. We cherish it. It also enshrines the 
rule of law; the principle [that] we are all equal in rights and 
dignity; freedom of worship and expression. We respect and cherish these 
values, too, and we must defend them."

Hours later, President Barack Obama was even more conciliatory:

"We are now all rooting for his success in uniting and leading the 
country. The peaceful transition of power is one of the hallmarks of our 
democracy. And over the next few months, we are going to show that to 
the world….We have to remember that we’re actually all on one team."

The president added, “The point, though. is that we all go forward with 
a presumption of good faith in our fellow citizens, because that 
presumption of good faith is essential to a vibrant and functioning 
democracy.” As if Donald Trump had not conned his way into hours of free 
press coverage, as though he had released (and paid) his taxes, or not 
brazenly denigrated our system of government, from the courts and 
Congress, to the election process itself—as if, in other words, he had 
not won the election precisely by acting in bad faith.

Similar refrains were heard from various members of the liberal 
commentariat, with Tom Friedman vowing, “I am not going to try to make 
my president fail,” to Nick Kristof calling on “the approximately 52 
percent majority of voters who supported someone other than Donald 
Trump” to “give president Trump a chance.” Even the politicians who have 
in the past appealed to the less-establishment part of the Democratic 
electorate sounded the conciliatory note. Senator Elizabeth Warren 
promised to “put aside our differences.” Senator Bernie Sanders was only 
slightly more cautious, vowing to try to find the good in Trump: “To the 
degree that Mr. Trump is serious about pursuing policies that improve 
the lives of working families in this country, I and other progressives 
are prepared to work with him.”

However well-intentioned, this talk assumes that Trump is prepared to 
find common ground with his many opponents, respect the institutions of 
government, and repudiate almost everything he has stood for during the 
campaign. In short, it is treating him as a “normal” politician. There 
has until now been little evidence that he can be one.


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