[Marxism] NYT: Marianne Williamson is right on how to beat Trump
1999wildcat at gmail.com
Thu Aug 1 16:27:45 MDT 2019
Here's an interesting article from the NY Times' David Brooks on why
Marianne Williamson is right about how to beat Trump. According to Brooks,
the way to beat Trump is, as Williamson says, not bye "policy wonkiness",
but by a moral revolution. In a way, she (and Brooks) are right, but it's
not a "moral" revolution, but a class one - an assertion of the class
nature of society and the beginnings of an assertion of the working class
as an independent force in society. Here's the article:
If only …
If only Donald Trump were not president, we could have an interesting
debate over whether private health insurance should be illegal. If only
Trump were not president, we could have an interesting debate over who was
softest on crime in the 1990s. If only Trump were not president, we could
have a nice argument about the pros and cons of NAFTA.
But Trump is president, and this election is not about those things. This
election is about who we are as a people, our national character. This
election is about the moral atmosphere in which we raise our children.
Trump is a cultural revolutionary, not a policy revolutionary. He operates
and is subtly changing America at a much deeper level. He’s operating at
the level of dominance and submission, at the level of the person where
fear stalks and contempt emerges.
He’s redefining what you can say and how a leader can act. He’s reasserting
an old version of what sort of masculinity deserves to be followed and
obeyed. In Freudian terms, he’s operating on the level of the id. In
Thomistic terms, he is instigating a degradation of America’s soul.
We are all subtly corrupted while this guy is our leader. And throughout
this campaign he will make himself and his values the center of
conversation. Every day he will stage a little drama that is meant to
redefine who we are, what values we lift up and who we hate.
The Democrats have not risen to the largeness of this moment. They don’t
know how to speak on this level. They don’t even have the language to
articulate what Trump represents and what needs to be done.
Part of the problem is that the two leading Democratic idea generators are
both materialistic wonks. Elizabeth Warren is a social scientist from
Harvard Law School who has a plan for everything — except the central
subject of this election, which is cultural and moral. Bernie Sanders has
been a dialectical materialist all his life and is incapable of adjusting
his economics-dominated mind-set.
They are what Michael Dukakis would be if he emerged in an era when the
party had swung left. This model has always had appeal to a certain sort of
The bigger problem is simply the culture of the Democratic Party. The
modern version of the party emerged during the Great Depression to solve
one problem: material want. It is a secular party, trapped in a Lockean
prison: Politics should be separate from faith. Politics should be separate
from soulcraft. Democrats believe they can win votes by offering members of
different groups economic benefits and are perpetually shocked when they
lose those voters.
It is no accident that the Democratic candidate with the best grasp of this
election is the one running a spiritual crusade, not an economic
redistribution effort. Many of her ideas are wackadoodle, but Marianne
Williamson is right about this: “This is part of the dark underbelly of
American society: the racism, the bigotry and the entire conversation that
we’re having here tonight. If you think any of this wonkiness is going to
deal with this dark psychic force of the collectivized hatred that this
president is bringing up in this country, then I’m afraid that the
Democrats are going to see some very dark days.”
And she is right about this: “We’ve never dealt with a figure like this in
American history before. This man, our president, is not just a politician;
he’s a phenomenon. And an insider political game will not be able to defeat
it. … The only thing that will defeat him is if we have a phenomenon of
equal force, and that phenomenon is a moral uprising of the American
They are unready for it, but it falls on the Democrats to rebuild the moral
infrastructure of our country. That does not mean standing up and saying,
“Donald Trump is a racist!” 500 times a day. It means reminding Americans
of the values we still share, and the damage done when people are not held
accountable for trampling on them. The values are pretty basic and can be
Unity: We’re one people. Our leader represents all the people. He doesn’t
go around attacking whole cities and regions.
Honesty: We can’t have deliberative democracy without respect for the
truth. None of us want congenital liars in our homes or our workplaces.
Pluralism: Human difference makes life richer and more interesting. We
treasure members of all races and faiths for what they bring to the mosaic.
Sympathy: We want to be around people with good hearts, who feel for those
who are suffering, who are faithful friends, whose daily lives are marked
Opportunity: We want all children to have an open field and a fair chance
in the great race of life.
Trump has put himself on the wrong side of all these values. So Democrats,
go ahead and promote your plans. But also lead an uprising of decency.
There must be one Democrat who, in word and deed, can do that.
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*“In politics, abstract terms conceal treachery.” *from "The Black
Jacobins" by C. L. R. James
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